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Move’s Bad Bunny stadium show sells out fast

Bad Bunny’s highly anticipated hometown shows at Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium sold out in less than 20 minutes, promoters Move Concerts and Noah Assad Presents have revealed.

The urban sensation’s P Fkn R show, rescheduled from May 2020, went on sale on Friday (20 August) and sold out soon after. The concerts, which take place at the 18,000-seat stadium on 10 and 11 December, will be Puerto Rico-born Bad Bunny’s first shows this year.

P Fkn R is the first announced show of a new partnership between Miami-based Move Concerts, which has an office in Puerto Rico, and Noah Assad, whose Rimas Music represents some of the world’s biggest reggaeton artists.

Everyone attending the P Fkn R show will be required to present proof of vaccination

Everyone attending the 10 and 11 December shows, which have a capacity of 35,000 each, will be required to present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination.

The Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the island’s largest, has previously hosted concerts by the likes Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Rihanna, Shakira, Sting and Whitney Houston, in addition to its regular use as a baseball park.

Multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy-winner Bad Bunny will follow up the show with a world tour, El Último Tour del Mundo 2022, which kicks off on 9 February 2022 at the Ball Arena (20,000-cap.) in Denver, Colorado.

 


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LA’s Staples Center reopens after 513 days

Mexican band Grupo Firme have wrapped up a ten-night arena run in the US, seven of them at Staples Center in Los Angeles, selling more than 100,000 tickets and taking the record for the most shows in a single year at the venue by a Latin act.

The banda performers kicked off their west-coast tour at the 20,000-capacity Staples Center on 30 July – exactly 513 since the last show there, on 4 March 2020 – and returned on 31 July and 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8 August.

They then played a sold-out show at Footprint Center (18,000-cap.) in Phoenix, Arizona, on 13 August; reopened Pechanga Arena (16,100-cap.) in San Diego, California, on 14 August; and concluded with another sold-out show at Mechanics Bank Arena (10,400-cap.) in Bakersfield, California, on 15 August.

The shows, Grupo Firme’s first arena concerts, were promoted by Nederlander Concerts. With the O2 in London having reopened on 10 August, both of AEG’s flagship arenas are now back up to full capacity.

Founded in Tijuana in 2013 by Eduin Cazares and Joaquín Ruiz, Grupo Firme have risen to become one of Mexico’s most popular musical exports with their viral mix of “dance-happy norteñas, ranchera and banda music”.

 


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Marc Anthony plots first and only livestreamed event

Organisers of Marc Anthony’s One Night Only global livestream event are gearing up for what they hope will be the biggest Latin music live stream to date, with tickets selling strongly for the Latin superstar’s first and only virtual concert.

The seven-time Grammy award winner will take to the stage on Saturday 17 April for what is described as an intimate, personal performance that promises viewers “an an experience that cannot be duplicated, not even in a live stage show”.

One Night Only is directed by Grammy winner Carlos Perez (’Despacito’, ‘Vivir Mi Vida’) and produced by Magnus Studios, with worldwide promotion/marketing handled by Miami-based promoter Live and Loud. Global distribution will be managed by Live and Loud Studios, the promoter’s development and distribution arm.

“There is no generation that has not danced to or enjoyed Marc Anthony’s music,” says Nelson Albareda, CEO of Loud And Live, “so it gives us great pride to be able to collaborate with one of the most distinguished and legendary Latin artists of our time, in what will be his first and only virtual global concert.

“It gives us great pride to be able to collaborate with one of the most distinguished and legendary Latin artists of our time”

“Despite not being able to offer live events during this time, these virtual concerts have helped us forge ahead and bring unique experiences to our global audiences.”

“At Magnus Studios, we have set out to create unique content and entertainment experiences for worldwide audiences,” adds Magnus COO Felipe Pimiento. “Music is in our DNA and this will mark the first of many music content productions in our production pipeline; we couldn’t be prouder than starting with our own, Marc Anthony, to set the stage for what’s to come.”

Adds Anthony: “Although for safety reasons we cannot be face-to-face yet, I am sure that this concert will create an incredible magic that will allow me to connect with my audience, wherever they are, and with all those who need a touch of music to move forward; to maintain the passion for life.”

Tickets for One Night Only, which are priced at €20 + €7.24 booking fee, are available from Anthony’s website.

Latin music specialist Loud and Live, which is partnered with leading Latin American promoter Move Concerts, recently promoted Florida’s first concerts of 2021 with three back-to-back shows by ‘Gentleman of Salsa’ Gilberto Santa Rosa.

 


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Gilberto Santa Rosa plays three sold-out shows in FL

Latin music star Gilberto Santa Rosa played three back-to-back, sold-out shows in Florida over Valentine’s day weekend, in some of Florida’s first concerts of 2021.

Santa Rosa, known as the Caballero de la Salsa (Gentleman of Salsa), played to socially distanced audiences outside Dr Phillips Center of the Performing Arts, in Orlando, on Friday 12th and the Fillmore (3,230-cap.), in Miami Beach, on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February.

The shows, promoted by Loud and Live, took place in a socially distanced format, with Santa Rosa performing songs including ‘Perdóname’, ‘Conciencia’, ‘Que Alguien Me Diga’, ‘Si Te dijeron’ and ‘Sin Voluntad’ to a crowd separated into Covid-secure bubbles (Dr Phillips show pictured).

“I am very happy to have returned to the stage and received that special energy that the public gives me,” says the five-time Latin Grammy/Grammy winner. “It has been a great privilege to be able to make these presentations in Orlando and Miami after a year of totally atypical concerts.

“We are proud to have brought to the public of Orlando and Miami the live experience they’ve been missing”

“The entertainment industry must come back, and we all have to push ourselves and make the necessary adjustments to make that happen. Hopefully, my experience this weekend will be an incentive to energise our industry wisely and safely.”

Reflecting on the shows, which included guest appearances from La India, Tito Nieves, Victor Manuelle and Aymée Nuviola, Loud and Live CEO Nelson Albareda comments: “This weekend marked the return live music, while at the same time following the pertinent regulations established during the pandemic for the artists and the industry.

“We are proud to have brought to the public of Orlando and Miami – our home – the live experience they’ve been missing and longing for.”

Loud and Live, a leading promoter of Latin music in the US, partnered with Latin America’s Move Concerts at the tail end of 2019.

 


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¡Olé! Industry experts on Latin music’s inexorable rise

Madison Square Garden, NYC’s legendary venue, has borne witness to just about everything over the years: debauchery, madness and all manner of weird and wonderful stage shows. But until J Balvin rocked up this September for an eagerly anticipated sold-out show, it had never played host to enormous, inflatable, pop-art sculptures, a squadron of puffy, bouncy mascots that looked like sentient clouds, or a singer riding across the stage on a huge yellow duck.

¡Por la cultura!” (“for culture!”), he declared, before departing, raucous applause and calls for another encore ringing in his ears. It was yet another milestone in the reggaetonero’s meteoric rise to arenas and the top of the charts, and something of a dream for the Colombian star. But then Latin music – música urbana – is enjoying a surge in popularity all over the globe and giving birth to a new generation of superstars.

Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican rapper, sold out MSG back in April; Rosalía, the Spanish singer who combines flamenco with pop, has taken Europe by storm. “I believe we are experiencing the best time for Latin music ever,” says Dody Sirena, a founding partner of DC Set Group, one of Brazil’s biggest promoters.

“If you look at the 2019 RIAA mid-year report, you’ll see that Latin music is continuing to grow at a double-digit pace.”

Henry Cárdenas, CEO of the Cárdenas Marketing Network and the recently crowned Billboard Latin Power Player Executive of the Year for 2019, agrees. “Latin American music is the fastest-growing genre in the world, and it has a tremendous commercial force,” he says. “We have witnessed general market artists venturing into the Latin American market, which continues to expand and pique mass appeal.”

música urbana is enjoying a surge in popularity all over the globe and giving birth to a new generation of superstars

That’s an observation echoed by Nelson Albareda, CEO of Miami-based sports and entertainment operation Loud and Live: “Latin music has quickly become the fastest-growing genre in the global market,” he says. “As it pertains to Latin America, genres such as reggaeton, cumbia, bachata and merengue dominate in major markets including Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.”

That mass appeal means that the genre is “more popular globally than ever before,” according to booking agent Jeremy Norkin of United Talent Agency (UTA). UTA is home to both longstanding Latin music stars such as Pitbull and Sean Paul, and break-out artists like Lali, and Norkin notes that “Latin music has gained a strong presence among multi-genre events that previously haven’t featured the genre.

“For example, Spanish-speaking talent had a significantly larger footprint at 2019’s Lollapalooza festivals in South America.”

The absolute biggest artists remain those who came to prominence during the late-nineties ‘Latin explosion’ – household names who long ago crossed over to ubiquity (think Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias). But a new generation of musical talent is selling out arenas in Latin America and beyond while racking up staggering streaming numbers and video views; J Balvin and Bad Bunny are just the tip of the iceberg.

Ozuna, Maluma, Luis Fonsi, Becky G, Manuel Turizo and Sech are the most common names cited as representing the future.

A new generation of musical talent is selling out arenas while racking up staggering streaming numbers and video views

“They have tremendous talent,” says Cárdenas, of the latter three in particular, “and they are leading the way for a new generation of stars.”

“Ozuna, Lunay, and Rosalía” are Phil Rodríguez’s choice regarding those ready to ascend to the next level internationally. But Rodríguez, founder of Move Concerts, also notes that it can vary from country to country; in Puerto Rico, for example, trap and reggaeton stars top the charts, while in the USA it’s a more balanced mix of urban acts.

Albareda, whose company recently agreed a deal with Rodríguez’s promoting powerhouse Move Concerts, cites Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Pitbull, Maluma, Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, Romeo Santos, Karol G, Nicky Jam, Farruko, Becky G and Natti Natasha as some of the genre’s biggest stars.

Fernando Moya, of Buenos Aires-based Ozono Producciones cites Maluma, Sebastian Yatra and Tini as his picks, but states, “Paulo Londra, Duki, Wos, Louta and other trap artists are pushing and changing the music charts, having more listeners than pop, reggaeton and Latin music.”

While Latin music has always enjoyed a certain level of popularity – Bruno Del Granado, an agent at Creative Artists Agency, points to Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine “blowing the door wide open globally” in the 70s and 80s – Cárdenas points to successes by “the Godfathers, Daddy Yankee and Nicky Jam” as opening the floodgates more recently.

“I believe we are experiencing the best time for Latin music ever”

Bad Bunny, too. “You could say he is a poster child for the movement,” says Cárdenas.

And then there’s ‘Despacito’ (which, ironically, translates to “slowly” in English). The song, released in January 2017, was a phenomenon; the official video now has over 6.4 billion views on YouTube, and over 2bn streams on Spotify. It was also the first track primarily sung in a language other than English to pass the billion mark, a game changer that signified a paradigm shift – no longer was an English-language version a necessity for artists looking for hits abroad.

‘Despacito’ also underscored a change in consumer and listening habits. In this brave new world, streams outrank sales and power a model where singles, or a constant flow of new material, matter way more than the narrative and commercial build-up around traditional album campaigns.

Much like in the world of rap and hip-hop, Latin music’s rise has mirrored that of technology and social media, platforms that today’s savvy stars know how to game to their advantage.

“YouTube is the platform of choice for consumers of Latin music,” argues Michel Vega, CEO and founder of Magnus Media, a global management and representative company. “If you look at the top 25 videos globally on any given week, a disproportionate amount will be Latin music.”

“Look at Nicky Jam or Bad Bunny – before, it would have taken an artist years to gain that kind of traction”

Moya believes that radio’s local language format historically held back Latin repertoire. “Digital platforms changed the market, as the audience started to choose what to listening and not just what the radio plays,” he says.

“Before, radio [stations] only played music in English and the native language of the country – they did not experiment with new varieties or styles of music or artists of different countries, regions or cultures. Now, there are no limits. On the contrary, consumers are able to reach random options based on their tastes and have the possibility to discover new types of music, new artist, whatever they want.”

Cárdenas agrees. “Streaming has changed the landscape of the industry for new artists, as these methods of distribution make for easier consumption for the listener. Look at Nicky Jam or Bad Bunny – before, it would have taken an artist years to gain that kind of traction.”

And, as Norkin notes, while word of mouth has always been key, “the difference is that today there are a wide variety of platforms that allow recommendations to be communicated instantaneously and on a massive scale.”

“They have more options than ever to become very popular as an independent”

Such a shift has also seen the new breed of stars ripping up the rulebook and essentially creating new norms as they go. Traditional routes to the top are not as relevant, and artists know their worth.

“Most of them are not interested in advances, 360 deals or traditional media,” says Sirena. “They have more options than ever to become very popular as an independent through distributors or with a major.”

Norkin notes that within this brave new world, some artists got their start – and continue to operate – as their own publishers, record labels and producers. “Many of them even own their own masters,” he says.

A DIY ethic is also strong. While bigger stars still tap into traditional record label systems, Del Granado believes that many new talents “are cognisant that we’re living in a DIY world and so need to do things themselves. From recording to shooting videos to handling social media, they have become masters of their domain.”

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 86, or subscribe to the magazine here.


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A Latin love affair: IQ 86 out now

As the summer months are left firmly behind, IQ injects a beacon of light into the dark, winter nights, in the form of the latest edition of IQ Magazine, available to read online now.

Issue #86 sees IQ take an in-depth look at the fast-growing Hispanic music scene, examining the new generation of musical talent and powerhouse promoters fuelling the international Latin music boom. On the other side of the Atlantic, Spain’s live music market has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, with an “enviable” number of festivals, “broad” selection of promoters and growing public demand.

Elsewhere, IQ 86 celebrates 30 years in the business for AEG Presents CEO Steve Homer; we find out why fans are taking to the seas for their festival experiences; and talk to the specialists providing the (literal) framework for live events.

The magazine also includes highlights from the fifth annual International Festival Forum (IFF), which took place in September, with speakers including UTA’s Greg Lowe, FKP Scorpio’s Stephan Thanscheidt, Mojo Concerts’ Kim Bloem and Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans

The majority of magazine content will appear online over the coming months, with the usual selection of analysis, news, expert comment and new signings appearing alongside features. For those unable to wait for their essential live music industry fix, click here to subscribe now.


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Romeo Santos breaks records at 80k+ MetLife stadium

Bachata star Romeo Santos became the first Latin artist to headline – and sell out – the 82,500-capacity MetLife stadium in New Jersey on Saturday (21 September).

The Live Nation-promoted show was the highest grossing concert in the stadium’s history, breaking the record previously held by Irish rockers U2.

Special guests including Cardi B, reggaeton stars Ozuna and Wisin and Yandel and fellow Bachata artists Raulin Rodriguez, El Chaval and Zacarias Ferreira, as well as members from Santos’ former band Aventura, joined the singer onstage during his 22-track, four-hour performance.

“Romeo Santos has solidified himself as one of the greatest Latin artists of the generation with his historic MetLife show”

“Romeo Santos has solidified himself as one of the greatest Latin artists of the generation with his historic MetLife show,” comments Hans Schafer, head of Live Nation Latin. “This feat continues to show the power of Latin artists in the touring space and is a proud moment for Live Nation.”

The show celebrated Santos’ most recent album Utopia, which debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums list when released in April.

In 2014, Santos became the first Latin solo artist to headline a concert at New York’s 54,250-capacity Yankee Stadium.

From reggaeton to trap: Behind the global Latin boom


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Managing the Latin explosion: Rebeca León Q&A

Update: the quotation “I am the only female executive I know” appeared in a previous edition of this article. Rebeca León did not use these words, IQ apologises for the misunderstanding.

With over 20 years in the business, Rebeca León is a pioneer in the Latin music space, initiating the career of hit reggaeton artist J Balvin and managing fast-rising Spanish star Rosalía.

Having served as senior vice president of Latin talent at AEG, León is now chief executive of her own management company, Lionfish Entertainment, which she founded along with Colombian musician Juanes.

As Latin music continues to gain more traction across the globe, IQ catches up with León to find out the secrets behind her success, discuss the sometimes male-dominated Latin music business and gain insight into the potential of Rosalía’s Flamenco-infused rhythms.

 


IQ: Why Latin music?
RL: I think it was a combination of my own cultural background – I was born to Cuban parents in Miami and grew up with the culture – and good timing. I moved back to Miami after college and there were lots of Latin labels around. I started working at Sony Music Latin in 1998 in the midst of a crossover track explosion, so it was a really exciting time to be involved in Latin music.

You really grew the profile of Latin music in LA and across the US during your tenure at AEG, can you tell us a bit more about your time there?
I was at AEG for eleven years. I was hired to book the then Nokia Theatre (now 7,100-cap. Microsoft Theatre) at entertainment complex LA Live.

The idea was to bring Latin shows to that venue. Before, Latin artists were only really playing New York and Miami and I was asking myself why. We became the headquarters for Latin music in LA and I was the only promoter in the company that could really book Latin shows around the whole country.

AEG were really great to me, they gave me huge wings and plenty of opportunities to grow. Latin music and, in particular, reggaeton music, began reaching new markets across the whole of the United States.

“Latin artists were only really playing New York and Miami and I was asking myself why”

Why did you decide to make the move to setting up your own management company?
I think going into management was the natural next step for me. I was lucky to have had experience with record labels, promoters and management previously, so I was able to see the whole thing and apply all that knowledge through being a manager. It seemed like an amazing opportunity to be up close to people I really respected – the artists – it was always something that I wanted to do and it felt like a privilege to do so.

I really love being creative and managing allowed me to be in a more collaborative relationship with the artist, rather than just inheriting something. I could be on the inside of the long term strategy – setting goals and creating paths – and that was very attractive for me.

It reminds me of when I started working with J Balvin and we both believed he would be a global superstar. We put a strategy together from the very beginning in order to make it happen. That was a very exciting time.

You’re now managing Spanish singer Rosalía who has a very different sound to other Latin artists – is this signalling a new direction for Latin music?
I think Rosalía is super special. An artist like that only comes around once every 50 years. What people are responding to is the authenticity of her very unique take on music. She produces and writes at least in part all her own songs – it’s all her. This is difficult to replicate, so I can’t say this type of music will become a trend. This is more about finding a truly unique and talented artist.

In general, there are still more male than female artists having more success industry-wide and particularly in Latin music, how can this be tackled?
The Latin world is notoriously machista, just as every culture has its challenges, one way or another. It’s not going to happen from one day to the next, but we do have more female artists in the Latin music space now – Becky G, Greeicy [Rendón], Anitta.

All of a sudden there’s a whole bunch of girls appearing, but I know it’s not enough. However, I do feel that people are aware and conscious of the imbalance and are starting to make strategic decision to create more opportunities for women in general.

“An artist like Rosalía only comes around once every 50 years”

What has your own experience been like as a female executive in the industry?
I am happy to be a woman in the industry – even if sometimes I am the only girl in the room. I try to be smart about the way I do business and it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man, this is the most important thing.

I’m 100% aware that we need more positions for women. Professor Stacy Smith, founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, has put together a study of women across the industry as a whole, and the numbers are really astounding.

We need to inform ourselves of these imbalances and shine a light on the women who are having success in the industry and make sure they get the recognition they deserve. The conversation needs to be about empowering and educating women on how to talk about money and power, and how to handle difficult situations. We need to give women the tools they need to succeed.

What’s next for Lionfish Entertainment?
Rosalía is one of the most incredible artists I have ever encountered. It’s so exciting and beautiful what’s happening there, so I want to make sure we support her as much as possible.

Aside from that, I’m working on some film and TV projects. That’s the focus for us really in 2020 – not letting this cultural movement be just about music – I want to make Latin content across all media.


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Latin king Roberto Carlos begins world tour with Miami sell-out

After a five-year US touring hiatus, veteran Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos has sold out the first show of his new world tour, on Saturday at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Carlos (pictured), known as the ‘King of Latin music’, has sold more than 12,000 tickets for the 9 March concert, according to promoters Move Concerts and Loud and Live.

The tour will feature music from his first album in Spanish in 25 years, Amor Sin Límite, and also visit other US cities, including Orlando, New York, Boston, Washington DC and Houston, before heading to Argentina and Europe.

Roberto Carlos has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, and was recently awarded the Premio Excelencia at the prestigious Premios Lo Nuestro Awards.

 


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Richard Branson plans Venezuela Aid Live concert

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has announced plans for a concert to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Venezuela and bring global attention to the Latin American country’s ongoing crisis.

Venezuela Aid Live will take place on 22 February in the Colombian city of Cúcuta on the Venezuelan border. The concert will feature a “fantastic line-up of top Latin American and global artists,” and will be available to watch by international audiences via a live stream.

In a video address, Branson announces that he aims to raise US$100 million through donations in six days to go towards securing essential humanitarian aid for Venezuelans.

“Venezuela is suffering. Not that long ago it was the wealthiest country in South America and now it is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere,” says Branson.

“Venezuela is suffering. Not that long ago it was the wealthiest country in South America and now it is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere”

“I know a thing or two about the music business, and I’m old enough to remember how George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh and Bob Geldof’s LiveAid moved the world to action,” says Branson.

The Virgin founder says he will help to organise “a beautiful concert to bring global attention to this unacceptable and preventable crisis, and raise funds for essential humanitarian aid.”

According to Branson, the concert comes in response to calls from Venezuela’s internationally-recognised interim president, Juan Guaidó, and opposition politician Leopoldo López.

The Nicolás Maduro-led Venezuelan government has ordered security forces to block humanitarian aid from entering the country, despite severe food and medicine shortages.

Information about the concert and instructions on how to make a donation can be found here.

 


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