Music

Why Did Maluma Collab With Grupo Firme and What Does This Say About the Rise of Regional Mexican Music?

What is known as the “Second Latin Explosion” happened about five years ago as Luis Fonsi was on the cusp of success with global smash hit, “Despacito,” and since then, Latin music — specifically urban pop — has been dominating charts worldwide. But in 2021, the Regional Mexican genre is stealing the spotlight. 

With streaming numbers through the roof and the popularity of the genre and its subgenres — such as banda, increasing in listenership, pop, reggaeton and even country music — artists took notice, and they want in. 

Collaborations like that of Snoop Dogg and Banda MS, have taken streaming platforms by storm, and just this week another artist jumped on board to the Regional Mexican craze: Maluma, with the release of “Cada Quien,” in collaboration with Grupo Firme. 

“Cada Quien,” shows listeners another side of the Pretty Boy, as he sings to the beat of a regional Mexican rhythm, which in other Latin American countries — such as his native Colombia — is known colloquially as ‘música popular.’

In 2 days since it dropped, the music video has accumulated nearly 6 million views on Youtube. 

These numbers come as no surprise to leaders of streaming platforms who predicted in 2021 Regional Mexican would go mainstream. With a growth in popularity, came an increase in collaborations between artists from other genres and those who are dominating the charts within Regional Mexican.

In 2021, Amazon Alexa requests of Regional Mexican music, on a global scale, grew by 377 percent. The next big genre was Mexican banda music, at 197 percent. Reggaeton came in third place with an all-around growth of 126 percent.  

Rocio Guerrero, the Global Head of Latin Music at Amazon, says that the globalization of genres such as Regional Mexican — which historically have been known to be very niche to their audiences — is in part due to the availability that streaming has given for diverse audiences to dive into and open up to these genres. 

“What streaming did was what democratized the musical landscape,” said Guerrero, who worked with Spotify and Warner Music Latin before making the jump to Amazon Music Latin. 

“As it penetrates in certain areas, the more it penetrates, the more the music from those areas becomes popular, they end up coming into the charts,” she added, as she explained the propagation of these genres into frequented playlists on streaming platforms such as Amazon Music, which leads to exposure beyond the genre’s designated niche. “This is what happened with Regional Mexican. As streaming was penetrating Mexico and the US-Hispanic market, all of these people were listening to Regional Mexican, they made those songs pop into the charts, which [caused] those songs to be exposed to new ears.” 

With the high demand in listenership, comes the token of opportunity on a broad scale, for artists such as Maluma who dominates globally as an urban pop artist. But with this collaboration, he now also garners attention and listenership from fans of Mexican genres, who might have not considered him within their playlists prior to the collaboration.

“Not only are fans opening their ears to new sounds, but artists are doing it too. They know this is a great way to reach new audiences that maybe they did listen to Maluma before, but maybe they didn’t. So this is a way to continue expanding your reach,” Guerrero continued. 

The success of a genre also symbolizes work opportunities for music industry insiders and experts within the Regional Mexican realm. A variety of companies are now expanding their teams internally to accommodate someone who can handle all things concerning Regional Mexican, individually — Amazon is one of them. 

“We just hired a lead for Regional Mexican. She’s going to lead this effort, and that tells you how Regional Mexican is taking a new level,” Guerrero added. 

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