Omar Vega / Getty Images – Let’s Get Ready To Rock:
Pepe Aguilar sings before the Canelo Alvarez/Billy Joe Saunders championship boxing match at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, May 8, which set an “indoor” sporting events record. Aguilar is one of the many Latin artists headed on tour this year.
As tour announcements rolled in throughout May, it became clear that country and Latin artists are playing a prominent role in the industry recovery.
While all genres are doing their part in the comeback and, by all accounts, ticket sales are strong across all demographics, the impact of these two specific genres was pronounced.
The role of Latin artists could, in some ways, be defined by the high points.
Maluma was the first artist to announce a full concert tour for U.S. arenas in 2021 in February with the entire “Papi Juancho” run being promoted by Cárdenas Marketing Network. That was soon followed by the announcement of a major CMN arena tour for Bad Bunny in 2022 and, later, a Marc Anthony tour in 2021.
Also, the younger regional Mexican music act Grupo Firme is leading the charge in Los Angeles, as the group has put an incredible seven nights on sale at the Staples Center. Nederlander Concerts Eddie Orjuela previously told Pollstar “In my years in the business, specializing in Latin music on the West Coast, I have never seen anything like this.”
Other Latin artists rushing back to large stages include Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin, Alejandro Fernandez, Pepe Aguilar, Alejandro Sanz, and Los Angeles Azules, all of whom have dates in 2021. Nelson Albareda, founder and CEO of Loud And Live, said that Latin music is over-indexing in the U.S., with demand for Spanish-language music booming.
“The demand to experience Latin music in all formats is at an all-time high, including touring, and we have yet to reach the ceiling,” Albareda said. “Additionally, I think we need to give credit to the Latin artists, their management and the promoters, for being at the forefront in touring coming out of this pandemic.
“It’s also important to understand that music is a cultural pillar for the Latin community. So statistically they’re likely to spend more on entertainment, albeit at higher ticket price levels vs. non-Latin concerts, which speaks to the success of the recently announced Latin tours.”
Operating out of Florida, Albareda has already put on three shows by Gilberto Santa Rosa Feb. 12-14 and four sold-out shows from Silvestre Dangond between May 6-16. Both runs were at The Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater. And more recently he announced the first ever U.S. theater tour for rising star Camilo in October, after the singer won the Latin Grammy for Best Pop Song in 2020 for “Tutu” with Pedro Capo.
While sales are reported to be strong across many genres, the clearest standout in terms of sheer volume over the past month would have to be country music.
Terry Wyatt / ACMA2021 / Getty Images / ACM – Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley
Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville on April 18, 2021. Paisley is one of the country A-listers doing large-scale shows on tour this year.
Since late April, you would be hard-pressed to find a country star who has not announced formal touring plans. Kenny Chesney announced that he is pushing his stadium tour into 2022, but Garth Brooks announced a new stadium show July 17 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
And at the arena and amphitheater level Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Dan + Shay, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett, Brad Paisley, Midland and, most recently, Florida Georgia Line, are all plotting full 2021 outings. Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan are also planning Concerts West/AEG Presents-promoted stands at the New Resorts World Las Vegas. While many rock, electronic, hip-hop and comedy acts will be in clubs and theaters in 2021, it seems likely a huge chunk of tickets sold will be in the country music genre, leading to what some could call a “Country Summer.”
CAA’s Brian Hill – who works with Lady A, Eli Young Band, and Home Free – told Pollstar that he does not think a strong comeback will be limited to one genre and everyone appears eager to get back to live entertainment after more than a year without it.
“It appears the fans are willing to drink out of the firehose and get as much as they can right away,” Hill said. “I have seen a lot of stuff doing very well. And I kind of predicted things would do well because I assumed the patron has the same sense of urgency to be entertained as I do personally. I think if people have disposable income, they are going to step up to the box office and buy a ticket because they have been on lockdown for 14-16 months.
“Also, there is something special about human interaction. Communal anything is great.”
While Hill acknowledged country music definitely seems to be leading the charge in the return to live, he doesn’t believe it’s because the fans are less concerned about COVID than any other group, or that shows have less production than other types of tours.
“I think across the spectrum of music, country, as a genre, has more available touring entities than the other genres,” Hill said. “Also, the country genre tours more than others.
There are few country acts that tour once or twice a year or every other year, like in contemporary music. As a genre we like to tour 365. We are a working, touring genre.”
Hill went on to say that he is trying to encourage all of his clients to keep an affordable range of ticket prices for audiences that may be strapped for cash, so “there is no excuse for someone even with a little bit of disposable income to not go to a show.” Also, with the ethos of country music being the everyman’s music, it makes sense, he said, that the first priority will be making sure people can enjoy a live show soon and not have to worry about pricing.
He is particularly excited about the year Martina McBride is going to have as she prepares to join Blake Shelton and Alabama as a special guest on their respective tours, and also to headline her own dates. He is also excited about Home Free, which is set to tour the U.S. from fall into Christmas, and is already planning Canada and Europe after.
No one knows if the well of demand will run dry as tours continue to go on sale every week, but Hill said he believes live entertainment is important enough to people that, if the prices are reasonable, they will come.
“I know when I was a kid, if I wanted to see somebody, I made sure I had the money to go do that,” Hill said. “Whether that meant working longer hours on a job or sacrificing something else to go get that concert ticket, it was a priority for me as a kid and I’m hoping it’s a priority for the consumer today.”