Why There’s ‘No Limitation’ to Growth of Latin Touring in the U.S.
Across North America, an increasing number of Latin acts across genres are touring more cities, playing bigger venues and selling more tickets.
Rauw Alejandro sold out two in-the-round shows at Miami-Dade Arena March 11-12, moving over 30,000 tickets and more than doubling his 2022 ticket sales at the same venue, according to Billboard Boxscore. The feat highlights North America’s growing Latin touring market as an increasing number of acts across genres tour more cities, play bigger venues and sell more tickets.
The top 25 Latin tours of 2019 grossed $251.3 million and sold 2.8 million tickets, while the top 25 Latin tours of 2022 grossed $990.8 million and sold 8 million tickets (based on Boxscore’s reporting period of Nov. 1, 2021-Oct. 31, 2022). Bad Bunny, who grossed $373.5 million during that time, obviously did some heavy lifting, but he’s far from the only force driving the boom. Six Latin tours in 2022 out-grossed the top Latin tour of 2019. And even if those six tours were removed from the top 25 tally, 2022’s numbers would still beat 2019’s.
“There’s no limitation when you look at Latin,” says Hans Schafer, senior vp of Latin touring for Live Nation. “You see high-demand artists who can command high-demand tickets. You see other artists who are coming in and are offering accessible ticket prices, and people are paying them. Latin is also seeing more non-Latin fans come to their shows versus other genres.”
Likewise, concert promoters who were once only marginally interested in Latin touring, if at all, are now embracing it. Case in point: Nashville-based Outback Presents, which is entering the Latin market for the first time by partnering with Rauw’s manager, Eric Duars, and his live-entertainment arm, Duars Live, to promote Rauw’s U.S. tour.
The embrace of Latin extends to the highest echelons of the American concert industry: Coachella, long a bellwether for broader live-sector trends, booked its first Latin headliner this year in Bad Bunny, and its lineup features several prominent and rising Latin acts, from newcomer DannyLux to veterans Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.
“Latin is more mainstream now,” says CAA agent Bruno del Granado, whose client list includes Luis Fonsi and Gloria Estefan. “Everybody wants to be in Latin, not just the small mom-and-pop promoters.”
Regional Mexican music, for example, was for many years the realm of indie regional promoters. But it’s now being eyed by the likes of Live Nation, which last year presented massive tours by Los Bukis and is currently producing outings by Pepe Aguilar and Alejandro Fernández. “That music is crossing over into other communities in a way we’ve never seen before,” says Schafer.
Independent promoters see it, too. Pedro Zamora, founder of Michigan-based Zamora Entertainment, typically presents 500-600 shows each year, including club dates and casinos. This year, it will likely be between 700 and 800 shows, including arena tours by Los Tigres Del Norte and Los Temerarios, acts who a decade ago were playing festivals and rodeos. “The population has grown, and those fans are older. They’re more affluent, and they want to go to theaters or arenas,” says Zamora.
Younger fans are also flocking to arenas to see new acts like Rauw. In 2021, the Puerto Rican star was playing clubs in secondary markets like the Carolinas and Connecticut, a strategic decision that was made so he could develop stage chops and open markets. By the end of 2021, he was doing arenas. Now he’s in the midst of an 80-plus-date tour (including a 34-city U.S. leg) where the smallest venue is an 8,000-seat theater in Brazil.
“This is summer camp for everyone,” says Duars of the learning curve. “We want this to be amazing.”
This story will appear in the April 1, 2023, issue of Billboard.