The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Spanish live business up 21% in 2017

Last year brought good news for the live music industry in Spain: the fourth consecutive year of growth for the live music market, with €223.2 million generated – an increase of 20.6% on 2016.

One of the explanations for the improvement of the health of the live sector is the reduction of cultural VAT from 21% to 10%, and 2017’s figures are above those of 2012, the year in which VAT was increased. The latest statistics reflect the attractiveness of Spain as a destination for major international tours, with millions of tickets sold to shows by the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2 and Maluma.

Also key to the market’s strength are the recent legal victory against collection society SGAE over tariffs, Google’s new restrictions on secondary ticketing sites and the admission of the Association of Music Promoters (APM) to the European Live Music Association.

The biggest international tours of 2017 were Ricky Martin, who played to 115,806 people at 13 shows; Guns N’ Roses, who drew 91,200 people to his concerts in Madrid and Barcelona; and Colombian star Maluma, whose nine Spanish shows were seen by 70,914 people. The visits of the Rolling Stones, Bruno Mars, U2, Aerosmith and Ed Sheeran were also major events in the cultural calendar of 2017.

The latest statistics reflect the attractiveness of Spain as a destination for major international tours

However, the biggest success story was Spanish singer-songwriter Malendi, whose 37 Quítate las gafas (Take off your glasses) tour dates attracted 208,972 spectators. Other stand-out domestic successes included Joaquín Sabina, David Bisbal, Vanesa Martín or Manuel Carrasco.

Despite the positive developments outlined in the latest edition of APM’s Live Music Yearbook, there are still several challenges facing the industry, including small profit margins for many small and medium-sized companies and the fight against online ticket resale.

The promoters’ association, therefore, continues to search for an “adequate legal solution” to these challenges, including through further European integration. By joining the European Live Music Association (ELMA), APM hopes to “face the problems of the sector from a European perspective”, with ELMA seen as “the appropriate framework to support the sustainable development of the live music industry”.


Industria Musical is the leading Spanish-language music business website, with readers from Spain, Latin America and the United States. With daily news, reports and analysis, as well as training and digital consultancy services, IM serves as a digital reference platform for the Hispanic music industry.

Spanish market up 14.7%—but still below 2010 high

The value of the Spanish live music industry increased 14.7% year on year in 2016 – a third consecutive year of growth, and the best 12 months for the business in six years.

Bolstered by tours by Bruce Springsteen, Manuel Carrasco and Coldplay, revenues from live performance topped €223 million – up from €194.6m in 2015 – although that figure still falls short of the €260m recorded in 2010, before the increase in VAT on shows to 21%.

The Association of Music Promoters (APM), whose recently published Live Music Yearbook VIII documents the statistics, says the 21% rate of cultural-sector VAT remains the biggest obstacle to further growth, as, “despite promises [to cut VAT] by the ruling party, it continues to hurt the live industry on a day-to-day basis”.

“Despite promises to cut VAT, it continues to hurt the live industry on a day-to-day basis”

Despite the positive figures, APM also warns of relying too much on major international tours, citing “meagre margins” for smaller, independent promoters, and says government action is needed on secondary ticketing, which has been “particular harmful on these tours [Springsteen and Coldplay], as well as on those scheduled for 2017 by Bruno Mars and Joaquín Sabina”.

APM, which represents more than 80% of Spain’s concert promoters, recently appointed Producciones Animadas director Albert Salmerón as its new president.

The eighth Live Music Yearbook (Anuario de la Música en Vivo), can be purchased for €8 from Jot Down.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.