Q’s With Loud And Live Founder & CEO Nelson Albareda

Big Ticket Item:
Ivan Apfel
– Big Ticket Item:
Camilo with Loud and Live CEO Nelson Albareda at the Fillmore Miami Beach celebrating his sold-out Mis Manos Tour.
With live concerts making a comeback, Nelson Albareda is helping lead the way in the Latin market as CEO of his company Loud and Live, one of the largest independent promoters in the market and a force behind some of today’s hottest Latin tours in the U.S.

With Loud and Live, Albareda is spearheading the first tour for Colombian artist Camilo (see cover story HERE), who with 10 nods is the most-nominated artist at this year’s Latin Grammy Awards. Albareda is also doing tours for Latin icons like Ricardo Montaner (Camilo’s father-in-law), Ricardo Arjona and Rubén Blades, who will receive the 2021 Latin Grammy Person of the Year award. He’s also working with up-and-comers like Farruko. A previous Grammy and Latin Grammy winner, Albareda is nominated for another Latin Grammy Award for Loud and Live’s work behind Juan Luis Guerra’s HBO special, “Entre Mar y Palmeras.” 

Loud and Live has also branched out into short- and long-form video content and high-profile brand deals that include J Balvin’s partnership with McDonald’s and the Celia Cruz Barbie. Here, Albareda discusses the power of today’s Latin market, livestreaming and the power of live.
Pollstar: At the start of the pandemic, you launched Loud and Live studios. Do you think there will continue to be a place for video and long-form content?
Nelson Albareda: Our studio division was created during the pandemic, yet it was always something we had in our business plan. The studio division is focused on creating content within the Loud and Live ecosystem, both for brands as well as entertainment-driven. We did “Piano y Mujer” for HBO. We also did the “Juan Luis Guerra Special” that is on HBO and nominated for a Latin Grammy in the long-form category. We’re very proud that one of our first content deals is nominated for a Latin Grammy. We created 200 original hours of content for brands, everybody from Pepsi to Nestlé, McDonald’s and Walmart. We’ve done chef Aarón Sánchez from the Food Network with Natalia Jiménez, Justin Quiles, and Carlos Rivera for Walmart. We’ve done with McDonald’s different livestreams. We currently have a program called “Ritmo y Color,”  which we’ve done with Manuel Turizo, Nicky Jam, Mariah Angeliq, and Cazzu that combines music with art. We do see our studios division continuing to grow, specifically with content around lifestyle and music.
What’s your experience been in navigating a return to live concerts?
It’s been very interesting, but we finally have seen the business back. We’re seeing ticket sales continuing to grow – actually in some cases, higher ticket sales than even pre-pandemic. We currently have the Camilo tour, which is sold out, and Farruko. Even as we’re looking at next year, Ricardo Arjona, Ricardo Montaner, Juan Luis Guerra, they’re all showing very strong ticket sales.
In your years working in the Latin music space, how do you feel seeing the force that Latin music has become in the general market?
I think Latin music today is probably what rock & roll was in the ’70s and ’80s. I think today Latin music has gone mainstream, so we’re seeing ticket sales to fans that are not just Latino. We’re seeing it across the globe really. Internationally as well, where Latin music has really become mainstream, not only the charts, like on YouTube and Spotify, but that is transitioning as well now to live events.
Loud and Live brought together J Balvin’s partnership with McDonald’s. Do you think more brands will continue partnering with Latin artists?
That was a unique deal as far as the size of the deal, but I think Latin culture going mainstream is no different than what hip-hop was, or pop. We’ve seen a huge increase in these kinds of partnerships. I think we’re uniquely positioned since Loud and Live’s genesis is very strong in the marketing world, so we continue to work on brand deals every day. I think there’s a very high demand for engaging brands with talent. 

El Gran Combo:
Manny Hernandez / Wireimage
– El Gran Combo:
Nelson Albareda with the great Emilio Estefan in Miami at the May 2018 opening of the live stage production of “¿Que Pasa, USA? Today…40 Years Later,” which Albareda executive produced.
Loud and Live represents Celia Cruz’s estate. How did it feel to help make the Celia Cruz Barbie happen and what more can we expect from the estate?
Celia Cruz is iconic. She’s definitely been one of the pioneering women that has paved the road for many Latinas. I think she will continue to have that iconic position, the same way that Elvis Presley or Bob Marley do, but in Latin salsa music. She’s inspiring to Latina artists as well as Latina females. As an Afro-Cuban, she paved the road in many ways. We were proud to represent the estate. The Barbie deal is just one of the deals. We’re looking at food and consumer package goods deals. We’re ramping up to her 100th year birthday, which will be in 2025, and looking forward to relaunching a lot of not only music, but products, and what we call the Celia Cruz legacy project. We’re working on a documentary portraying the behind-the-scenes stuff that nobody knows about Celia.
You also represent Rubén Blades. What do you think about Rubén getting the Person of the Year award at the Latin Grammys this year?
It will be a very important moment. When you look at Rubén Blades, he was the first Latino artist in the U.S. in 1980 to sell a million albums with Siembra. One of the interesting things about Rubén is that he’s cross-generational, including a lot of urban and reggaeton artists who look up to him for what he did. He really paved the road for many artists within the urban market as well. It will be interesting to see other artists, including urban artists, performing his music at the Person of the Year event.
What’s next for Loud and Live?
We’re in the process of expanding into Latin America and Europe as well as launching a media platform that will help connect fans with Latin culture, with a very strong emphasis on music. Details are still being ironed out, but we plan to launch that in 2022.
What do you see for the future of live music as concerts are coming back?
I think there’s pent-up demand. I think that the fans are really out there to engage in a live format. I think that one of the things we realized during the pandemic is that you can do a lot virtually. I don’t think virtual experiences are going to go away. The live experience is something that could not be replaced, which is why we are so bullish on the continued growth of live events as well as Loud and Live.