Latin Artists Fuel Dramatic Growth of Spain’s Live Scene

Thirty-three shows by Latin artists — including Christian Nodal, Camilo, Emilia, Nicki Nicole and Eladio Carrión — are set to take place at the WiZink Center arena in Madrid this year, out of a total of 97 planned concerts. That’s triple the number of shows by Latin artists who performed at the venue in 2019. Nearby, at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which will soon reopen after a three-plus-year renovation, Mexican star Luis Miguel will be the first artist to play two back-to-back shows at the venue when he headlines in July.

The numbers provide a glimpse of Spain’s shifting musical tastes and exploding touring market. According to the country’s Association of Musical Promoters, 2022 ticket revenue reached a record gross of 459 million euros ($492 million); the 2023 Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona drew 500,000 fans over two weekends, according to the concert promoters association. For touring in Spain, the pandemic also demarcated a distinct before and after, with Spanish-speaking acts coming from Latin America and the United States now touring in Spain more than English-speaking acts.

“We could, perhaps, consider Rosalía as a precursor since she introduced and popularized internationally [an urban] style that had not yet fully taken off in Spain and is now incredibly popular and growing day by day,” WiZink Center director Paz Aparicio says.


Rosalía’s global appeal helped catalyze the shift, along with listeners who are now more open to music in a variety of styles beyond Spain’s long-dominant traditional pop. And Latin music’s growth in the United States — where the genre’s revenue has surpassed $1 billion with a 24% growth that outpaced the overall market, according to IFPI — has also bolstered demand overseas.

“The U.S. is the country with the greatest strength and influence in the development of cultural and commercial phenomena. In fact, Spain and Europe have always looked more toward what has come from there. It has always been our main reference,” explains Alfonso Santiago, CEO of Last Tour, which promotes festivals such as Bilbao BBK Live and BIME Live. “I believe that the high number of Latinos in the U.S. is key, [and] the fact that music in Spanish is occupying more and more space there every day is very important.”

Today, Spain’s Latin touring scene is very eclectic, making the country a key market for new Latin artists.

“In the past, very little Latin [music] was produced in Spain, and programming more alternative artists was very difficult because they did not have good box-office numbers,” Santiago adds. “Now, thanks to the digital era and younger consumers who stream music with less judgment, we are able to introduce more Latin artists into our programming — something that was once criticized but today is normalized.”

This story will appear in the March 9, 2024, issue of Billboard.

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