Jeremy Norkin Talks Touring Trends in Latin America
Florida Chapter Board Secretary Jeremy Norkin, whom leads the UTA Music Booking Operations in Latin America, shares his thoughts on rock and urban booking trends in Latin America and the US, as well as predictions for future crossovers.
How did the United Talent Agency’s Miami Office start?
I helped open up the Miami office in July 2014. The next summer we were acquired by United Talent Agency and became part of one of the top talent agencies in the world and were able to offer full-service to all of our clients. UTA has seven offices globally and the Miami office focuses predominantly on the Latin American and US-Hispanic markets.
What thoughts do you have on the Latin American crossover to the US market?
The Latino buying power in the US is significant and increasing, the amount advertisers are spending on campaigns targeting the US-Hispanic demographic is on the rise, and there are more and more new Spanish-language artists touring and having presence across the country. The US-Hispanic market has been growing steadily and is continuing to gain momentum, and it’s no coincidence that the current #1 song in the world is a Spanish-language track.
Have you noticed any trends in booking rock bands in Latin America?
Rock has always been the backbone of Latin America, and while the region is more receptive than ever to other genres, rock is still a dominant force. Since the Miami office opened we have booked shows or tours for over 50 rock acts, including but not limited to Paramore, Foals, Ringo Starr, Deep Purple, and Bring Me The Horizon to name a few, and I don’t see any signs of this slowing down.
What rock or urban musicians in Latin America do you see becoming popular in the American market?
Latin Americans are open to all kinds of rock and its subgenres, from Deathcore to Heavy Metal, Progressive, Garage, Punk, etc. Urban music is definitely trending, it’s great to see the genre gain steam in the territory. It has been clear that Hip Hop is increasing its footprint, festivals are starting to program the genre more, and hard-ticket headline shows are more saleable. We tour Cypress Hill all over LatAm every cycle, and Ms Lauryn Hill had a beautiful show in Buenos Aires last year, performing for 50,000 fans. In the last month alone we’ve confirmed shows for artists like Post Malone, YG, and Tyga, and are in discussions for many more. Hispanic Urban is becoming the new pop/mainstream with breakout stars like Maluma and J. Balvin, and International Urban artists are increasing their market share in Latin America.
What factors do you look for when booking new talent that hasn’t played in Latin America yet?
Many promoters argue that terrestrial radio, while no longer the only game in town, is still king. Digital media and analytics can also be good indicators of potential. Syncs and licensing have real impact as well, whether it be through commercials, television, or motion pictures. An important factor to me is an artist/management with an open mind and an understanding of territorial relativity. Latin America consists of many countries with many cultures, and though the majority of them are Spanish speaking, all of their cultures, media, politics, etc. are vastly different. Each market requires artisanal work, so understanding the idiosyncrasies is often vital to break markets and achieve success.
What qualities contribute to artists that are successful in Latin America?
I like to think good music is always the baseline. It’s also vital for the artist to keep an open mind – just because you’re a star in your native country doesn’t mean you’re a star everywhere else. Strategizing, doing press and seeking out a marketer that specializes in the region usually helps. That said, there isn’t really a formula – sometimes taking a step back results in two steps forward, and sometimes it’s just a matter of believing and persisting. Sometimes it’s strategy and hard work, and other times it’s just luck.
Are there any large venues or music festivals that are unique to Latin America?
Certainly! Latin America is a vast territory with a variety of geographies and a rich history that lends to unique venues and festivals, both large and small. Some venue examples include Zocalo in Mexico City, a massive public square that was once the center of the Aztec capital, el Teatro del Lago in Frutillar (Chile), the Opera de Arame in Curitiba (Brazil) is a “wire opera house” that is accessed by footbridge, Luna Park in Buenos Aires which used to primarily be a boxing stadium and is special because the stage runs lengthwise along the venue, bringing the artist closer to the audience, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires is stunning, etc. On the festival side, there is an ever-growing list of great events like bastion Rock in Rio, Tropico, Festival Estéreo Picnic, Fauna Primavera, Lollapalooza, Corona Capital, ViveLatino, EDC, Ceremonia, Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, Monsters of Rock, Maximus, Coordenada, and Live Out. It’s great to see so many festivals thrive and first-edition festivals pop up, both from major and independent promoters.
Jeremy founded United Talent Agency's Miami office, and currently leads the UTA Music Booking Operations in Latin America, overseeing concert bookings for the agency's music roster, including artists such as Alice Cooper, Brian Wilson, Cypress Hill, Foals, Glass Animals, Kongos, Ms Lauryn Hill, Muse, Paramore, Post Malone, and Ringo Starr. Jeremy started at William Morris Agency, where he worked as an agent (New York then Miami) for seven years. Prior to UTA, Jeremy founded his own boutique booking agency, and was Head of International Development for Spain's top artist management company RLM (Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bose, Raphael). He holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Michigan.