‘We Are Opening Up New Paths Within Live Music’: Q’s With GTS Live’s Maricruz Laguna

Morat are one of the many shining examples of Latin American acts that successfully tour Spain – and the rest of the world for that matter. (Picture courtesy of GTS Live)

GTS Live promoted the 2022 tour of Alejandro Sanz alongside Mow Management, which became the second-biggest Spanish tour of the year, according to the country’s promoters association. This year looks equally busy, not just in terms of touring, and Pollstar reached out to GTS Live director and corporate representative Maricruz Laguna to find out more.

Pollstar: After three turbulent years, my first question would simply be: what’s your state of mind approaching the summer season of 2023 from a business standpoint?
Maricruz Laguna: The current situation calls for optimism. In 2022, the challenging situation of previous years began to shift towards recovery, and this year, that trend is set to solidify.

It is true that, in general, the public is more hesitant to purchase event tickets well in advance. In our case, 2023 will be the year in which almost all of our artists will be touring and some of them with massive tours (Aitana, David Bisbal, Morat, Lola Indigo, Pablo Lopez, etc.).

We are also continuously opening up new paths and trends within the live music industry, and our artists continue to be the face of big brands. We have just launched the management of Umusic Hotel Teatro Albeniz, a new business venture with the opening of one of the world’s most modern hotels in the heart of Madrid, and the historic and completely renovated, Teatro Albeniz.

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David Bisbal on stage at the Umusic Hotel Teatro Albeniz, GTS Live’s latest business endeavour, on March 7, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Getty Images)

What recent success stories in the business of GTS would you like to highlight?
We can undoubtedly highlight the definite international success of an artist like Morat, who, under the management of GTS Spain, has emerged as the most influential Latin group worldwide, with a tour spanning over 120 concerts across the globe and one million tickets sold. Furthermore, the international growth of other artists such as Aitana and Lola Indigo. The Universal Music Festival at the Teatro Real, which has become a classic part of the Madrid summer scene, the anniversary of David Bisbal with 20 sold-out nights of concerts precisely at the Umusic Hotel Teatro Albeniz in Madrid, as well as the multitudinous tours of artists like Pablo Lopez or David Bisbal. Another significant achievement for has been the inauguration of the Umusic Hotel Teatro Albeniz with Company, The Musical, directed and starring Antonio Banderas.

What business development enjoys your particular focus right now?
Our focus is on establishing the Umusic Teatro Albeniz as a leader in entertainment and hospitality in our country. We aim to ensure that Universal Music Festival 2023 maintains the level and success of previous editions and keep strengthening the success of our artists national and international tours.

Referencing the Umusic Hotel’s Teatro Albeniz, it is worth highlighting that it is the first complex within the worldwide chain, making us pioneers in this endeavor that will continue to expand in the United States, Latin America, Brazil, Europe and the Middle East

What’s the economic climate like in the country right now? The UK and Europe have been hit by massive price increases across the board. Does is affect the spending power of ticket buyers, as well as the costs to run your business? If so, how do you work around that?
Spain, despite economic indicators pointing towards growth, and in that sense, forecasts are optimistic for our country. With unemployment and employment figures steadily improving, we still see that this idea hasn’t fully translated to the average citizen. Similar to the situations in the United Kingdom and Europe, the continuous increase in prices, especially for essential items like food and clothing, has made the general public more cautious about spending on non-essential goods, and this is where the leisure industry is most affected.

Moreover, we are a country that will always be out and about, with a favorable climate that encourages an active street culture. Establishments such as restaurants and bars have been less affected by these circumstances.

In response, the only option we have is to work harder, offer greater diversity (and I’ll mention again the Umusic Teatro Albeniz as an example), consider offering attractive deals when selling tickets and provide various options for purchase, from the higher-priced tickets that provide fans with a complete experience, such as access to rehearsals, meet-and-greets, merchandising… to the most affordable that allow entry to the concert/event alone.

Maricruz Laguna, GTS Live director and corporate representative.

Are there markets in Spain that are slowly but surely catching up to the importance of Barcelona and Madrid?
It is difficult to assess. Barcelona and Madrid, due to their large populations and status as economic centers, remain the primary hubs for leisure in general, and specifically music in our country, and it is undeniable. However, there are numerous cities in Spain that host significant cultural and technological events throughout the year. Valencia is known for the development of large festivals, Seville will host the Latin Grammys in 2024, Malaga, Zaragoza, Bilbao etc. Especially when it comes to major tours, it is hard to imagine any of them excluding one of these cities.

Is the Latin American market of significance to your business?
The Latin American market is key for our business. The population in Latin America exceeds 650 million inhabitants, to which we have to sum the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. It is an immense market, where when an artist succeeds, it determines a pivotal moment in their career and significantly boosts the volume of the business generated around them. In the case of GTS, we are currently experiencing this with artists such as Morat, Aitana, Pablo Lopez, Lola Indigo and more experienced ones, like David Bisbal.

It is impossible to deny the importance of the Latin American market, especially considering the tremendous global success of Latin music, with songs and artists dominating the top positions on worldwide charts.

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