Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio has plenty to talk about with his tití (auntie) this holiday season as the Puerto Rican phenom known as Bad Bunny had one of the most remarkable years for a musician ever, let alone a Latin artist.
The 28-year-old from Vega Bajo, Puerto Rico, who boasts about having mucha novia (many girlfriends) in his hit single “Tití Me Preguntó,” has even more to brag about
after grossing more than any other artist during Pollstar’s 2022 chart year. He raked in $393.4 million and sold more than 2 million tickets across two tours during the chart period from Nov. 18, 2021 to Nov. 16, 2022.
The data for Bad Bunny shows during the calendar year is even more staggering. The addition of six recent nights puts the rapper at $424,851,480, a figure that places him on the heels of Ed Sheeran as the all-time highest grossing act in a calendar year. Sheeran topped Pollstar’s 2018 Year-End Worldwide Top 100 chart with a record $432.4 million, a figure Bad Bunny will likely surpass with his final two shows in Mexico City.
Bad Bunny’s monumental leap from arenas on his “El Último Tour Del Mundo Tour” earlier this year to stadiums months later was justified as his “World’s Hottest Tour,” produced by Live Nation, lived up to its name and grossed $269,334,411 and sold an astounding 1,378,908 tickets across 31 shows from Aug. 5-Nov. 16.
His sold-out 35-show spring arena tour that ran from Feb. 9-April 3 grossed nearly $113 million and sold 574,191 tickets. In total, the superstar averaged a whopping $5.38 million per night in 2022 across both tours, shattering records throughout the 73-show, 49-city run.
“I think we all feel very proud of what he’s accomplished,” Hans Schafer, SVP of Global Touring at Live Nation, tells Pollstar. “Knowing that Bad Bunny has accomplished the No. 2 and No. 3 highest-grossing shows in history is a feat that is remarkable. It is huge for Latin and unprecedented and a remarkable accomplishment on its own, regardless of genre, to see an artist of his age reaching those heights is just something that makes it very promising for us, of what the future holds.”
It is rare for a Latin star to see such success at stadiums. In 2014, Bachata star Romeo Santos made history as the first Latin artist to sell out two consecutive nights at Yankee Stadium.
Eight years later, Bad Bunny set the record for a two-show concert gross by a solo headliner, making nearly $31.5 million at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. With an average of $15.7 million for each show at the venue, Bad Bunny has the second- and third-highest gross ever for a single concert, according to box office sales figures reported during the Pollstar Era that goes back four decades.
Schafer credits the production of the tour, saying it is “A-class” and among the best live shows one can experience with huge high-definition screens, pyrotechnics, fire jets, smoke machines and even flying inflated dolphins. He also commends Bad Bunny as
a performer who connects with his audience on a visceral level.
“I think what takes it over the top is you’re experiencing an artist who is really true to himself, who is giving you everything on stage that he’s living, and that’s creating a connection with fans. … I think his biggest contribution is that fans feel identified with him as a person through his music.”
That ability to bare his soul and personality on stage is what made Bad Bunny one of the hottest tickets in live entertainment this year. His agent Jbeau Lewis, a partner at United Talent Agency (UTA), told Pollstar that he’s never witnessed such a connection between an artist and their fans.
“He is just so genuine and authentic and wears his heart on his sleeve and puts the music out that he connects with, and represents Puerto Rico and his roots in such a way, that it’s really hard to not feel it,” Lewis told Pollstar in November.
“It transcends borders and languages and any sort of label you could put on it; it just feels good. I remember hearing Un Verano Sin Ti for the first time and having this crazy sense this was just something different on a level I’d never heard before. It’s just like he’d already been on a rocket ship but the catapult from this last album was unlike anything the world’s ever seen.”
Credit should also be given to Bad Bunny’s remarkable team – which, includes Manager Noah Assad of Rimas Entertainment, his promoters at Live Nation’s Latin touring division, CMN, and his agents at UTA – for developing him into a stadium-filling star.
“I think the right word is freedom,” Assad told Pollstar in March regarding the credit to their success. “With freedom, we can pivot easily. We trust each artist’s vision, and we trust Benito’s [Bad Bunny] vision to the fullest.”
Schafer said Bad Bunny’s fluid and ever-evolving vision is what makes him a rare talent that keeps audiences on their toes.
“He as an artist is constantly looking to provide a new experience for the fans, to create something new that hadn’t been seen before for the fans,” said Schafer. “He’s constantly done that with his music, his touring, his profile and him as an individual. He’s always broken down those barriers.
“We’re very precise about the markets we’re going into. Every single show sold out; there probably is a record that was broken at every show. He’s accomplished things that had never been done before.”
Bad Bunny isn’t alone in his rise to mainstream stardom – he’s brought all of Latin music on the ride with him. He was the catalyst to a cultural shift that has been brewing in the music industry for decades.
“I would say the trees that bear the best fruit are those that grow slow,” Schafer said, “and I think that’s true of Latin music. It’s been a slow and steady growth, and now is when we’ve really seen that fruit come to bear, and it’s going to continue. I think this is only really the cusp and the tip of that burst that’s continuing to grow.”
The success of Bad Bunny is so remarkable that his music cannot simply be categorized, even in a genre as broad as Latin. He is the rare artist to successfully fire Latin music into the mainstream consciousness, something that hadn’t been done since Luis Fonsi’s megahit “Despacito” in 2017. Bad Bunny’s staying power and achievements further cement the notion that Latin music has no barriers or borders.
“Now you don’t have [just one genre], and because reggaeton, urban or trap is so huge, it’s the new pop,” Bruno Del Granado, head of CAA’s Latin music touring division, says.
Bad Bunny can’t even be contained in one medium, starring alongside Brad Pitt in “Bullet Train,” a summer action film that grossed more than $239 million worldwide. He also appeared in a national commercial this year for Cheetos, whose campaign slogan was “Deja tu huella,” which translates to “leave your mark.”
Fitting for a guy whose critically adored album Un Verano Sin Ti sits atop Billboard’s year-end chart, making it the first mostly non-English compilation to accomplish such a feat. At only 28 years old, there’s no telling what the future holds for Bad Bunny.
Coming off what was already an impressive 2021, the Puerto Rico native, who won five Latin Grammys this year, managed to blast through whatever ceiling contained him to reach astronomical heights in 2022.
Schafer wasn’t yet ready to tell Pollstar what’s on the horizon for Bad Bunny, whose tour will close at Mexico City’s historic Estadio Azteca which can hold more than 87,000.
“When it comes to Bad Bunny, we’re always cooking something,” he said. “The time will
be right for what that next phase is.”
In the meantime, fans will wait with bated breath and mentally prepare to enter a future virtual queue with the hope of securing the lottery ticket that is one admission to a Bad Bunny concert.