It should come as no surprise that Latin artists are leading the charge in the return to touring in the U.S., and Cárdenas Marketing Network is at the heart of this push to touring. Henry Cárdenas and co. were the first to announce a major arena tour in the U.S. in the form of Maluma’s “Papi Juancho Tour,” and they have also lined up full arena runs for Marc Anthony in 2021 and Bad Bunny in 2022.
In addition to these major U.S. tours, Cárdenas aims to open a new 12,000-capacity arena – which has recently been named Coliseo Live – in Bogota, Colombia, in November to help the emergence of a more robust touring market in his home country and region.
For too long, Cárdenas says, major U.S. corporations have not respected the purchasing power of the Spanish-speaking market in the U.S., but he says the ticket sales have been very strong thus far and some potential sponsors are starting to realize the value of his audience.
“[Some] sponsors haven’t taken the Latino market seriously,” Cárdenas said. “Some of the beer and soda companies have, but a lot of other pharmaceutical companies … we have got to get them there. We are going to deliver whatever they ask for and they are going to get a great return on their investment because Latinos are very loyal.” Cárdenas has a new appreciation for his office and staff, some of whom have been with him for 20 years, but he has learned a lot about saving costs and working remotely over the past year, and is very confident we will earn back all the money that was lost because of the pandemic.
“I really learned to appreciate the people working next to me, how vital they are,” Cárdenas said. “When we closed everything down and I didn’t have these people next to me, I felt emptiness. I couldn’t believe I lost my human resources department, when the government forced our offices closed for two months.
“I also learned to be very selective. We spend money on a lot of things that we don’t have to spend money on. When I started to cut costs in my company, I realized there are a lot of things that we don’t need, we can live while spending less on some of these things. I got down to the bones of the company budget and even though it was a horrible year, I learned a lot of things I know I’m going to apply in the future and I’m going to make my money back.”
This is not Cárdenas first time on the Impact 50 list, and his approach toward business has held strong through the years. He still insists on closing his deals with a handshake, in person, and he still considers the most enduring success of his career the credibility he has built up by always delivering for his clients.
“Being responsible and delivering what I promise, winning or losing, that creates credibility, and to me, in this business, the greatest percentage to being successful is your reputation.
“Whatever you promise, deliver 110%, it doesn’t matter if you lose or make money. That’s what people are going to ask. [And now they say] ‘He pays his bills, he knows how to sell tickets, do not worry about it, whatever he promises, he’s going to deliver.’ In any situation where we’re not doing well, we are not going to cut lights, video, none of these production elements. I am in this business to make and sometimes lose money. But whenever I give lectures in schools and people ask ‘What does it take to be a promoter like you?’ I always say: ‘Deliver what you promise.’”
The three artists Cárdenas said have helped him get through the pandemic the most are all going on tour in the next year, and below is a bit about each of these arena-level acts.
A reggaeton heartthrob who is as likely to appear on the cover of a fashion magazine as he is on a music publication, Maluma has been big box office in North America since Cárdenas started working with him in 2015. The “Papi Juancho” tour will be performed in-the-round with a flexible capacity, depending on COVID restrictions at show time, and is set to kick off in September. The show will
be the first live performances of music from two of Maluma’s albums.
One of the absolute biggest global stars of reggaeton, Bad Bunny has already sold out multiple markets in the U.S. for his “El Último Tour Del Mundo” in 2022. The tour is being sponsored by Corona and is set to hit 25 cities, starting in April. Significantly, Cárdenas said, Bad Bunny has managed to break through the language barrier and is connecting with many people who don’t speak Spanish. “A lot of Anglos are buying tickets for Bad Bunny even though he doesn’t sing in English,” Cárdenas said. “They like his persona, his creativity, his name.”
Cárdenas’ longest-running client, Marc Anthony is a true legend in Latin music and is no doubt more eager than ever to get before his fans. The tour includes the first scheduled show at AT&T Center in San Antonio. Also, his “Una Noche” livestream concert was viewed millions of times as it was made available for only 24 hours on YouTube, further reaffirming that Marc Anthony is a megastar and fans cannot wait to see him onstage once again.
Which music artist or band has most helped you get through this year?
Bad Bunny, Maluma and Marc Anthony.
What artist would you most like to see live when touring and festivals return?
Ana Gabriel, I didn’t have the chance to see her before everything was canceled. .
When it’s safe to do so, will you go back to the office, work remotely or a combination of both? Why?
We are going back to work. Our industry is about being creative, you create ideas when everyone is in a conference room or kitchen. We must be back, 100%.
What is the artist to watch break in the next year?
Rauw Alejandro and Darkiel.
How will livestreaming (or how will it not) be integrated into your business going forward?
No, not at all. I don’t think anyone is making $1 on streaming. People are not ready to be watching concerts on a computer. We’re not interested.
Zoom, Clubhouse or TikTok? Why?
Zoom, because during the pandemic we used it a lot. I’m not a fan, but that was the only way to communicate through COVID-19. You get tired of doing meetings, watching people on your computer, you want to talk to them and say hello. But that was the only thing we had.