Bad Bunny performs in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 27, 2022.
Bad Bunny performs in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 27, 2022. Photographer: Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images

Bad Bunny Was Already The World’s Most Popular Musician. Now He’s Got Its Biggest Tour

Bad Bunny left millions of dollars on the table when he put tickets for his next tour on sale last April. The Puerto Rican musician sold out his tour in minutes, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the waiting room. He could have sold four times as many tickets, given the number of people trying to buy.

“We didn’t anticipate the speed of selling or the records broken,” said Jbeau Lewis, who helps oversee Bad Bunny’s touring business at United Talent Agency. “It was clear that we were in uncharted territory in a lot of ways.”

The demand reflects Bad Bunny’s ascendance to a rare level of pop stardom. He finished the last two years as the most streamed act on Spotify, outpacing The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and Adele. Now he has proved he can match those acts in touring as well.

His current tour is the No. 1 in the world, having sold more than 300,000 tickets over the last month. Bad Bunny has been performing in front of about16,000 people a night, and charging almost $180 a ticket. He is grossing more per night than any other act on tour right now, beating out Andrew Bocelli, Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish. The success of the tour vaulted him to the top of Bloomberg’s Pop Star Power Rankings, which he has led several times in the past.

Born Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, Bad Bunny proved he was a big draw as a live act with tours in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 tour grossed $36.9 million and sold out arenas in Latin America, North America and Europe. But he was most popular in markets with large Latin populations, packing venues in Mexico, Chile and Spain, as well as U.S. cities Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Eager to cross over to the mainstream, he met with the Hollywood talent shop UTA at the Coachella Arts & Music Festival in 2019. The singer wanted to line up acting gigs, and strike sponsorship deals with consumer goods companies that would make him a household name beyond the Latin market.

His first request stemmed from his love of World Wrestling Entertainment. He wanted Stone Cold Steve Austin to appear in one of his music videos, and Austin made a cameo in his video for “Quien Tu Eres,” a single off the “X100 Pre” album. He then signed for a shoe line with Adidas, a partnership with Airbnb and a role in the Netflix Inc. TV series “Narcos: Mexico.”

Latin artists already ranked near the top on both YouTube and Spotify, the two most popular music streaming services in the world. But video streaming services were planning to expand all over the world, and needed help reaching customers.

“We’re seeing traditional studios and now streamers understand the importance of a global artist and the global reach,” said UTA’s Nigel Meiojas. “Latin is at the forefront of every conversation right now in the brand space,” said his colleague Toni Wallace.

Bad Bunny’s pitch to film and studios and Madison Avenue got even easier with the release of three albums in 2020: “YHLQMDLG,” “Las que no iban a salir” and “El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo.” “YHLQMDLG” was the most-streamed album on Spotify in 2020 and earned a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album, while “El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo” became the first all-Spanish record to top the Billboard 200 charts.

Bad Bunny couldn’t tour off of those albums last year because of the pandemic, but his team decided to capitalize on his growing stardom by putting tickets on sale well in advance. They knew he could sell out arenas, so they tried to expand his business. In cities where he was scheduled to performed on two nights, he’d do three.

The immediate sellout of his tour last April led to a strong secondary market for his tickets. People were reselling tickets for hundreds of dollars. He sold out two nights at a soccer stadium in Santiago, Chile – about 80,000 people in total. But 1.6 million people had been waiting to buy tickets.

Knowing that Bad Bunny would release new music later in 2022, his team arranged an additional tour that would visit stadiums, venues that seat far more people. That tour, which begins later this year, has already sold out several nights. Bad Bunny has also added dates to both the U.S. stadium tour and the Latin American tour.

The arena tour alone will sell more than $100 million in tickets. The two stadium tours on top of that should push him to heights no Latin act has done before.

Corrected spelling of Nigel Meiojas’ last name.