This past year, Latin music has reached new heights in terms of streaming and consumption throughout the U.S. A new report from data company BuzzAngle, which measures music consumption, shows Latin music accounted for 9.4 percent of all album listening in 2018, measured by combining physical and digital sales, song downloads and on-demand streams. This comes as no surprise for the genre that has seen major signs of growth in the last few years.
A new report shows that Latin albums are now more popular compared to their counterparts in country music.
Latin music dethroned country music over the past year.
Latin music’s popularity increased so much during 2018, the genre replaced country music as part of the top 5 most consumed albums in the U.S. https://t.co/5RAQE3WrC8
— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) January 5, 2019
In 2018, people in the U.S. consumed more Latin music than country music as the genre captured 9.4 percent of all album listening, while country music ranked at 8.7 percent. The prior year, country music accounted for 8.1 percent of album-listening, while Latin music checked in at 7.5 percent.
Individual songs also surged in popularity as consumption increased from 9.5 percent to 10.8 percent in 2018, while country music clocked in at 7.8 percent.
While the report doesn’t make it clear what genres fall under the label of “Latin,” it’s more than likely that reggaeton’s surge in Latin American pop account for a large part of that growth.
When it comes to music videos, Latin artists dominated there as well.
Latin music is now more popular than country music in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/ifLuqfjkRf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 8, 2019
Latin artists were responsible for eight of the 10 most viewed videos on Youtube last year. That’s why it’s no surprise that the three artists with the most views on Youtube in 2018 were are all Spanish-speaking: Ozuna (20 million subscribers; 8.7 billion views), J Balvin (18 million, 7.1 billion) and Bad Bunny (13 million, 7 billion). Overall, over 30 percent of the songs that appeared on YouTube’s global chart involved Latin performers.
Ninety-five percent of Latin music consumption came from on-demand streaming. Sixty-three percent of total consumption came from video versus 31 percent from audio. Latin music was the only genre with more streams from video than audio. It’s a reflection of the genre’s popularity on video streaming services like YouTube.
Many are crediting this growth to the crossover popularity of stars like Bad Bunny and Ozuna.
— Genius (@Genius) January 8, 2019
Bad Bunny, Ozuna, and J Balvin were some of the biggest artists of 2018 and it showed as many mainstream artists like Cardi B and Drake collaborated with Spanish-speaking artists. If awards are any indicator of success, Latino artists are up for many Grammy awards this year as well. Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny are nominated for Record of the Year with their big hit “I Like It”, while Camila Cabello is nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for her single “Havana”.
Many of these artists have received high exposure the last few years that may be due back to streaming. Spotify’s popular “Baila Reggaeton” playlist is one of the most streamed playlists on the platform. With weekly updates to the playlist, listeners were constantly in touch on the latest and trendiest songs in the genre.
Where can Latin music go from here? Looks like only up.
— NPR's Latino USA (@LatinoUSA) January 1, 2019
Whether its growth in music consumption or more representation at major music festivals, Latino artists are making their names heard and streamed across the U.S. As more people listen to music platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, artists that they may have never checked out on their own are becoming more accessible than ever.
There was a similar rise in popularity of Latin music during the mid-2000s with artists like Daddy Yankee and Don Omar. What’s the difference today? Streaming and the amount of cross-over hits many of these artists have had with already established English artists. There’s no telling where the genre is going but we can’t wait to hear it.
“Even though you don’t understand what I’m saying, you are going to really feel it,” J Balvin told NBC News. “The same thing happened to me when I used to listen to English music. I didn’t even understand one word. You know? But, it just makes me feel great.”