Business

Sonic Boom? How Bad Bunny Jump-Started the Concert Business

Bad Bunny
Victor Chavez/Getty Images for Spotify

Bad Bunny

The live business has a new champion: Bad Bunny. His 35-date North American El Último Tour del Mundo sold over 480,000 tickets at presale and more after for a total of $84 million in under a week after going on sale April 15, according to promoter Henry Cárdenas — Ticketmaster’s fastest-moving series of shows since Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s 2018 On the Run II Tour — kick-starting a concert business that has been closed for over a year.

The Latin star brought in an average of $2.4 million per show (in 2019, only Metallica’s WorldWired tour had a higher per-show average), with most tickets priced at a face value of $240. Now tickets are selling for an average of 10-times face value on the resale market, higher than any tour ever, according to ticket data and distribution company TicketIQ.

These numbers suggest significant demand for live music, presumably among young people in particular. Live-business executives have been predicting a strong return for touring since early in the pandemic, citing low refund-request rates for outings that were postponed or rebooked.

Now, promising sales for shows by The Weeknd, who sold over 1 million tickets for his 104-date 2022 After Hours tour in the days following his Super Bowl halftime performance, as well as quick sellouts for festivals such as the 55,000-capacity Life Is Beautiful and Insomniac’s new Day Trip, suggest consumers can’t wait to see concerts — and that they have the money to do so.

The next test will be the return of acts that tend to attract older concertgoers, including Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and Elton John, all three of which have makeup dates scheduled for 2021 and 2022 but haven’t yet put tickets on sale. One good sign: A January 2022 Dead & Company weekend in Cancún, Mexico, that went on sale in April sold out so fast that organizer CID Entertainment added a second weekend.

This article originally appeared in the April 24, 2021 issue of Billboard.