June 21, 2018 / 8:00 PM

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Rock in Rio coming to United States? New half-owner SFX Entertainment hopes so


Slow and surely wins the race. This isn't a mantra that Robert Sillerman and SFX Entertainment abide by. As Music Times has reported during previous weeks, the electronic music promoter has been making frequent purchases and adding to its budding empire, including Made Event (the organizer of New York's Electric Zoo Festival) and Germany's i-Motion last week. The biggest announcement came over the weekend when the company announced that it had purchased a 50 percent ownership stake in Rock in Rio, one of the world's largest music festivals. 

Rio, founded in 1985 by Brazilian Robert Medina, has organized 28 music festivals since its inception. Despite the title, alluding to original host site Rio de Janeiro, the event has actually taken place in Lisbon and Madrid as well, and will expand to Santiago, Chile in 2015. The purchase by SFX has spurred excitement for the prospect that Rock In Rio could break onto American shores in the near future. 

The move is an interesting one for SFX because Rock in Rio doesn't have much of a reputation for electronic music (if the name wasn't a hint). But most of the major festivals have begun opening doors to big EDM names, and organizing side electronic-music stages. Rio has already included headliners such as Beyonce into its lineups, so electronic music isn't that much of a stretch. 

The phrase frequently used by business writers to describe SFX is "work in progress." The company just posted its first earnings report after going public earlier this year. As could probably be expected from a company that's bought so much in its early stages, earnings were down. The company posted a net loss of $28.6 million on $48.7 million in earnings. We'll see what happens when festival season rolls around. 

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