How TuStreams Became a One-Stop Shop for Grupo Firme, More Artists

How TuStreams Became a One-Stop Shop for Grupo Firme, More Artists

When Tony Larios founded TuStreams in 2019, he went up against advice he received from colleagues before launching his digital distribution company.

“I created TuStreams to help out Latin indie artists and educate them on how they can own their own masters and their royalties,” explains the San Diego-based executive says. “But it wasn’t easy. People would tell us, ‘you don’t want to educate the artist because that’s what labels do.’ At the same time, we thought we’d try it out.”

In the first three months, TuStreams picked up around 500 clients, according to Larios, including their first-ever client Grupo Firme, then an emerging regional Mexican group that had yet to make a big splash in the U.S. Firme joining TuStreams coincided with an unexpected event that had a major impact on the company: the pandemic.

“I hate to say it but it was the best thing that happened to us,” Larios says. With a halt on touring or live performances, TuStreams stepped in to help artists continue to get royalties creating content for streaming platforms while also helping their social media following grow by providing a space for them in their office to shoot and record content. “A lot of these artists are making more money off of content even more than putting on a show,” he adds. “Right now, we’re in a content game.”

The former owner of the West Coast-based Anakin Records, Larios transitioned from the label side to digital distribution after seeing that Latin indie artists “didn’t have a clue” about what was going on with their money. “We work directly with the artist and one of the first things we tell them is that they can be their own label. They can pay their own employees, management team and it can work.” He also eliminated the concept of contracts. “We’re not afraid of losing anybody. Everyone hates signing contracts. We thought if we do a great job, no one will leave.”

To date, TuStreams has over 6,000 clients, who range from regional Mexican (Firme, Pancho Barraza) to urban (Don Omar), and has expanded its 40-square feet garage office to a “mini Google” staffed with 40 employees in the U.S.-Mexico border. “We have a bit of everything in house. We’ll adapt to whatever the artist needs. We have a stage so they can practice or if they want to shoot live videos. We even have a game room. It’s a good playground for them.” The company also recently hired a Miami-based staff member who will oversee the urban realm.

TuStreams has also branched out into promoting live events and ticketing. “We help the artist build. We don’t just upload their music,” he explains. “We launched our own ticketing platform to help the artist get rebates back, not the big companies.”

As a promoter, TuStreams has most recently partnered with Nederlander Concerts. “I bring the artist that is ready for a big stage, they bring the venues,” he says. A partnership that broke records last summer when Grupo Firme sold out seven back to shows at the Staples Center (now Crypto.Com Arena). They made history as the first Latin act to perform the most shows in a single calendar year at the venue (the only other artist that has done more is Adele with eight in one calendar year).

Now, TuStreams has teamed up with Live Nation, Nederlander and Eddie Urjuela Entertainment for Grupo Firme’s first-ever stadium tour.

“You don’t see that often that four different promoters are working on one tour,” Larios says. “That was something pretty cool that Firme’s manager, Isael Gutierrez, put together. He said that because we’ve been part of Firme since the very beginning, he wanted us to be part of this.”

Firme’s eight-stop stadium tour, which kicks off May 28, will include shows in San Diego’s Petco Park, Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium and Chicago’s SeatGeek Stadium.

“I tell all my employees, you treat every artist equally. From the kid that just started to the biggest. One day Firme was nothing and now they’re huge. We don’t pick who the next one is but the fans do. That’s one of the biggest things we learned from Grupo Firme.”

How TuStreams Became a One-Stop Shop for Grupo Firme, More Artists When Tony Larios founded TuStreams in 2019, he went up against advice he received from colleagues before launching his digital distribution company. “I created TuStreams to help out Latin indie artists and educate them on how they can own their own masters and their royalties,”…