Live Nation buys renowned Portuguese promoter
Live Nation has reportedly bought a controlling stake in Portugal’s leading promoter Ritmos e Blues (Rhythm and Blues).
Founded in 1990 by Nuno Braamcamp and Álvaro Ramos, the company has promoted concerts for the likes of Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Dire Straits, Michael Jackson, Prince, Phil Collins, U2, Rolling Stones, George Michael and The Police.
Ritmos e Blues was responsible for several of the first stadium concerts in the country, including a groundbreaking event with Tina Turner at the Estádio de Alvalade in 1990 with 65,000 spectators.
The Lisbon-based firm is also a co-producer of Rock in Rio Lisbon, one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, which has been taking place since 2004.
Ritmos e Blues was responsible for several of the first stadium concerts in the country
Live Nation confirmed to IQ it has purchased an “indirect controlling stake” in Ritmos e Blues and Arena Atlântico, which owns the country’s largest arena, Altice Arena in Lisbon.
Arena Atlântico is controlled by a consortium that includes Ritmos e Blues, Luís Montez (owner of the promoter Música no Coração) and Jorge Vinha da Silva, among others. Its subsidiaries include the ticketing company BlueTicket, which Live Nation will also take control of.
“Daily operations at the arena will continue to be led by their senior management team and the arena’s employees,” Live Nation told IQ. “The acquisition is expected to close later this year upon completion of customary closing conditions, including approval from Portugal’s competition authority.”
The Competition Authority is accepting comments on the deal for the next 10 days.
The 21,000-capacity Altice Arena (formerly MEO Arena) last year recorded the best financial results in its 25-year history, closing the year with more than €16 million in revenue.
The deal solidifies a partnership between Live Nation and Ritmos e Blues that dates back to 2012, when the companies joined forces with Rock in Rio’s promoter to “substantially grow the live events market”.
Forthcoming shows promoted by the Portuguese promoter include Madonna, Blink 182, Louise Tomlinson, Ricky Gervais, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé and Il Divo.
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.
Global Promoters Report: Portugal
The Global Promoters Report, a first-of-its-kind resource that highlights the world’s leading promoters and the 40 top markets they operate in, is now available to subscribers of IQ.
In an excerpt from the guide, IQ delves into a key stop-off on all major European tours and the Latin foothold on the doorstep of Europe: Portugal.
Come to Portugal, they say, and get the world. A key stop-off on all major European tours by the biggest international stars, it’s also the Latin foothold on the doorstep of Europe, opening this sunny corner of the continent to acts and outdoor events from Africa and South America.
It’s in Lisbon that Brazil’s mammoth Rock in Rio extravaganza found its second home, bringing the likes of Muse, Post Malone, Duran Duran, and Black Eyed Peas to the 80,000-capacity Bela Vista Parque in June. And it’s here that major promoters including Everything Is New, Ritmos E Blues, Better World, PEV Entertainment, and Música No Coração have seen a steady return to pre-pandemic numbers, thanks to a pancultural scene mingling rock, pop, and rap with afro and Latin music.
“People were eager to get out,” says Paulo Dias, general manager of UAU, who were proud of their ability to revive the stalled 2020 STOMP shows in Portugal to full houses in 2022, precisely two years after the production was mothballed when the pandemic struck. “We still had parts of the set at the theatre, kept there since 2020! At the moment, the main problem is that there are too many shows available for a market which is not so big. And with the financial crisis on the horizon, I’m afraid we won’t have enough public buying tickets for everything on offer.”
“At the moment, the main problem is that there are too many shows available for a market which is not so big”
Yet more and more people are coming to Portugal. Tourism has boomed during 2022, and immigration has helped boost the entertainment industry. “There are very new opportunities and challenges in Portugal with the amount of foreigners moving here,” says Música No Coração MD Luis Montez. “Portugal is a very safe and economic country, with beautiful weather. It’s the best for outdoor events.”
And one of the most flexible and professional, too, as Música No Coração (MNC) proved by relocating the annual Super Bock Super Rock festival from Meco beach to Lisbon’s Parque das Nações for 2022, a feat the team achieved in just 48 hours after fire regulations were put in place around the original forested site. A$AP Rocky, Foals, and C. Tangana headlined the festival, one of MNC’s proudest moments of the year alongside Now United’s four arena gigs and the MEO Sudoeste festival in Odemira, featuring Major Lazer, Rex Orange County, and Steve Aoki.
“There are amazing conditions,” says Montez of the state of the market. “Prices in Portugal are still very good, and our professionals are highly qualified. [Although] with the rise of the cost of living, we ́ve noticed that people are buying tickets closer to the show date, and due to that we are thinking about introducing payment by instalments for our music festivals.”
“Prices in Portugal are still very good, and our professionals are highly qualified”
Montez points to beachside festivals such as Rolling Loud, held at Portimão on the Algarve, as examples of events that utilise the country’s strengths to the utmost advantage, and to November’s alternative music bonanza Super Bock em Stock in Lisbon as evidence that Portugal can host some of the finest off-season, city-based showcase festivals in the world. He does highlight one particular summer drawback, however. “Touring productions need to pay special attention to the flights,” he says. “Our airports are completely full during summer.”
Beyond solid audience connection and promotion on the myriad of online platforms, Montez says festivals such as Super Bock em Stock are key to breaking through on the Portuguese grassroots scene. “To have the opportunity to play live is the best promotion for an artist,” he says. “The grassroots scene is mixing a lot of traditional sounds with electronic music. Afro, funk, and electronic indie genres are surging a lot. EDM is declining a bit because there ́s nothing very new and awesome coming up.”
Despite some pandemic talent stagnation, Montez predicts a solid future for Portugal’s globally welcoming live industry. “With the improvement of the economic situation, the market will grow,” he says, “and the charger will be the great growth of music from Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Brazil.”
The Global Promoters Report is published in print, digitally, and all content is also available as a year-round resource on the IQ site. The Global Promoters Report includes key summaries of the major promoters working across 40+ markets, unique interviews and editorial on key trends and developments across the global live music business.
To access all content from the current Global Promoters Report, please click here.