Promoter Bobby Dee On Taking A Chance On Peso Pluma, Building Bridges Through Indie Company

Bobby Dee Peso Pluma
PROMOTING EL DOBLE P: Just before Peso Pluma’s meteoric to just about every music chart, Bobby Dee took a chance on the Mexican singer and promoted his first concert near Los Angeles at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, on April 8. The sold-out show grossed $988,147 off 8,333 tickets and since then, Peso Pluma has dominated arenas across the nation. (Courtesy Bobby Dee Presents)

It ain’t always easy being the little guy. Since 2002, Bobby Dee has not only managed to get by as an independent promoter but thrive in a live industry dominated by heavy hitters such as Live Nation and AEG Live, especially in these extraordinarily busy times where it feels like every artist is touring.

What is Bobby Dee’s secret to building a successful company in this climate? He tells Pollstar it’s all in the small details — a pithy expression often thrown around that can sometimes get lost on people, like a remote control in between couch cushions — and giving artists the same care and consideration, regardless of their status.

“I think it’s the best time for an independent promoting company like mine and Danny Wimmer Presents because of the things that Live Nation may not be able to give,” Dee, CEO of Bobby Dee Presents, tells Pollstar. “Everything is automated for them. They look at a bottom line, and what I want to do is give customers an experience, whether that is putting on more acts than I should, having a little more lighting, lasers or bigger screens.

“That’s one of the shifts I’m seeing. The big artists are always going to be the big artists, but the holes that I can fill are with the Keith Sweats and Peso Plumas, who was unknown at first. The big-timers sometimes forget the Ashantis and Nellys of the world, and those artists can still make a promoter a ton of money.”

This strategy has paid off for Dee, whose birth name is Robert Drieslein, as his company cracked Pollstar’s Q3 Worldwide Top 100 Promoter Grosses (landing at No. 97), raking in $11,467,631 million with concerts featuring Mexican stars Junior H, Fuerza Regida and Peso Pluma, as well as legacy R&B and hip-hop artists such as Mack 10, En Vogue, Jon B, Boyz II Men and Ja Rule.

Dee is simply highlighting the music he grew up with in Lynwood, California, near Los Angeles, listening to Latin music with his abuelita, as well as hip-hop. He was often around singers and musicians because his father, too, worked as a promoter and club owner.

“I was stuck to him like chicle [Spanish for bubble gum]. I got to see guys like Tone Loc and New Kids on the Block,” says Dee. As a kid in the late ’80s, he recalls hopping into a van along with New Kids on the Block to grab some In-N-Out burgers.

Dee took over the business from his father, who was Mexican and German, and made it his own, going above and beyond for the artists he promotes and earning the trust of stars such as Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. He has a knack for connecting with the right people, one of them being George Prajin, an entertainment attorney, artist manager and record label owner.

Earlier this year, Prajin came to Dee about promoting a show at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, for a young Mexican artist.

“He told me, ‘Bobby, listen. You’ve always been great to me. I know what you do, and you always smoke these arenas. I want to give you a kid named Peso Pluma,’” Dee says. “I said, ‘Who’s that?’”

A hesitant Dee looked at the singer’s Spotify numbers and saw he only had about 2,000 monthly listeners. He also found Pluma had never performed in the U.S.

“George told me to trust him. I looked at my uncle [Dee’s advisor], who also wanted to do it, and I said OK. Let’s do it,” Dee says.

It’s the kind of swing only a small promoter could attempt, and Dee knocked it out of the park. The April 8 show sold out and grossed nearly $1 million. Peso Pluma soon exploded onto the scene and helped Mexican music become mainstream. Live Nation soon came knocking, working with Dee to promote the artist’s “Doble P Tour.”

“I invite all the help for him because, as much as I want to say I can do this on my own, I think Live Nation can really catapult him to the next level. I mean, look at the results,” Dee says.

The Mexican star has garnered more than 51 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and he has averaged $1.26 million per concert from the 11 shows reported to Pollstar this year.

While Dee enjoys promoting the genres of music he grew up with, he certainly doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a Latin or rap promoter. He promotes what he likes, including a recent show featuring Danzig and Suicidal Tendencies, and building such relationships has led him to build bridges between cultures. He connected Snoop Dogg with Banda MS for “Que Maldición” during the pandemic. Earlier this year, Dee was instrumental in another collaborative effort from the Mexican band called “¿Cuáles Fronteras?” which featured Ice Cube.

Such collaborations were bound to happen with Latin music dominating charts as subgenres under the música urbana umbrella, including reggaeton and dembow, are heavily influenced by hip-hop. A$AP Rocky confirmed that his upcoming album will feature Peso Pluma, and a photo of Pluma and Travis Scott earlier this year sparked speculation of an upcoming collaboration between the two.

To see both different worlds working together to create art gratifies Dee.

“I was raised in a culture where I heard ’70s soul music like The Manhattans, hip-hop, corridos and Vicente Fernández,” he says. “I was literally raised with a rainbow of stuff. So, it was just an easy parlay when I started doing these combinations of music.

“The most amazing thing that I’ve experienced is when I go back to Huntington Park to visit my grandma, I’ll be listening to cars driving by playing ‘Que Maldición’ or ‘¿Cuáles Fronteras?’ You’ll see Latino families bumping that in the car, and you’re just like wow. That’s the biggest thanks you can get.”