“Nothing is easy to sell, especially when you’re dealing with artists.”
Nelson Albareda takes a moment to reflect on the past six months of working from his Miami office. He took time out of his busy weekday morning schedule to discuss a live concert this Saturday starring global Latino star Marc Anthony. Produced by Albareda, which is growing fast Loud and live the realm of entertainment in partnership with Anthony’s Magnus Studios, Just one night it is expected to be one of the biggest livestream concerts the industry has seen (if not the the largest) since the virtual format became popular with the arrival of COVID-19 a year ago.
“I had to convince [Marc] that not only can it be a pioneer, but it can also be the best-selling ticket in COVID’s live stream environment, ”says Albareda. “I have known Marc for many years, and his agent is a good friend. We approached him and it took about four to five months to convince him. But we convinced him. “
The event on April 17, where Anthony will perform together with a backing band of 20 or more members, has already sold tickets in over 90 countries, and the organizers are allegedly projecting ratings ranging from 100,000 worldwide. At the time of this interview, the event’s producers had just announced an addition to the bill – reggaeton crossover superstar Daddy Yankee – as if fans desperate for any form of entertainment needed an extra boost.
Saturday’s concert is the latest in a series of Albareda Loud and Live successes, launched in 2017 and which has since become a strong player at global music events, sport and fitness, and lifestyle marketing. The company made another big move earlier this year, launching a new branch of content, Loud and Live Studios, which will produce livestream events, podcasts, short and long-running content, music specials, documentaries and branded content.
“Obviously COVID was huge to us. It was a big hit,” Albareda says. “A startup company entering its second year – rapid growth. And suddenly you’re hit by COVID, and our live event business has dropped by 95 percent. That kind has made us very quick to reinvent ourselves. Although we were planning to launch a branch with content in 2023, we said, ‘Hey, you know what? Let’s move fast.’ “
Live and Loud Studios has already signed a contract to produce two HBO specials. First, Piano and woman, a special concert that will premiere on HBO Max and HBO Latino this Friday, April 16, and will feature five Latino singers who will perform alongside pianist Arthur Hanlon at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach. The company is also in the process of producing a documentary about Celia Cruz. And last November, Loud and Live produced a couple of livestream concerts featuring Argentine-Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner and Argentine rock artist Fito Paez.
With personal concerts gradually began to return to Miami and in select markets across the country, Albareda remains confident that high-quality content and streaming will not be a fad from the COVID era.
“We’ll see the content of the long form get stronger,” he says confidently. “I think we’ve seen a lot of short content and a short range of attention with millennials and social media, but we’ve seen a trend toward long-form content.”
Albareda doesn’t see the live reception experience going away any time soon.
Photo by Nick Garcia
Albareda adds: “I think the virtual and livestream experiences will continue. I don’t think they will be lost in a world other than COVID. ”
The most difficult challenge for an event organizer trying to sell tickets, sponsorships and audience attention through a virtual concert model is to establish intimacy when there is no longer a personal connection between the artist and the fans. Albareda says the hurdle requires him to direct his own fan as well as his decades of industry experience.
“As a fan, what I want to see is content I haven’t seen before. Experiences I failed to have in one show, ”he says, describing how he created a unique viewing experience for Marc Anthony’s upcoming performance. “I think the intimate part is difficult because it’s like that for any artist. It all comes down to content. What’s unique about that content and what you could learn, see or experience there, and what you couldn’t experience in a live show. “
Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Albareda took over the helm of Eventus in 2008, growing the business into the largest multicultural marketing agency in the United States until it was sold by Advantage Solutions in 2013. Albareda remained as CEO until 2016, when went to run Loud and Live.
Albareda and his team used their collective marketing expertise to bring in well-known partners for One Night Only, including American Express, Rums of Puerto Rico and Walmart. Marketing and partnership are, after all, the backbone of Loud and Live. The company was responsible for coordinating last year’s partnership between McDonald’s and Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin.
“J Balvin’s example with McDonald’s was revolutionary because I think the brand never used Latino artists for a general marketing campaign,” Albareda says of the partnership launched in October. “We are constantly working with brands and showing them landscape assessments of how Latin music has really become commonplace and how they should use it and incorporate it into it as a cultural piece and part of the fabric of every brand.”
Even for an industrial veteran who is as experienced and connected as Albareda, the pandemic posed unique challenges. Biggest: figure out how to bring events back to life. Live and Loud cleared that bar earlier this year, presenting three sold-out shows featuring Gilberto Santa Rosa over the weekend for Valentine’s Day. The company recently announced a stay on eight shows in Fillmore, Miami Beach, in May, and will feature Colombian singer Vallenato Silvestre Dangond.
“One thing we’ve learned is that people want to go out, and people aren’t really as worried as we might have thought with going out in COVID environments,” Albareda says for the Santa Rosa series. “He’s an older crowd and you’d think an older audience would worry more about going out during COVID, but no way.”
For Loud and Live, small steps back to personal shows and Marc Anthony’s giant live leap are just the beginning of the road back to fame.
“I think the demand for the shows is going to be huge,” Albareda says, flashing an optimistic grin. “I know we’ve heard everyone quote the Rutile Twenties and I think it will come back. It will be bigger. “
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