The Rise of Latin Music

By Will Caraccio 

Ask a handful of American high schoolers who they think 2020’s most streamed artist on Spotify was, and their answers will not surprise you: Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, and other American pop sensations are the first names that come to mind. But what if I told you that last year’s most popular artist can’t be found in the star-studded lineup of the US’s top singers and rappers? What if I told you that the world’s biggest name isn’t an English one? That’s right folks, last year’s most streamed artist was Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, popularly known as Bad Bunny. Indeed, the Latin American music takeover is not on the horizon: it is here, and I have never been so glad. 

Bad Bunny’s meteoric rise to global stardom was no isolated incident–various Hispanic artists have also begun to establish themselves in the global music industry, with names such as J. Balvin, Rosalía, Ozuna, and Maluma captivating public awareness. With top hits such as “UNA DIA,” “LA CANCIÓN,” and “Relación,” and over 20 nominations for the Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, J. Balvin–the Columbian singer-rapper–gathers 57.8 million spotify listeners per month. Ozuna, the Puerto Rican musical sensation, gathers a similarly astounding 44.5 million monthly Spotify listeners with “Una Locura,” “Del Mar,” and “Despeinada,” accumulating the most streams of his many hits. 

The dramatic musical shift towards Latin America which is currently taking place promises to rejuvenate an American music culture that has gotten stale and repetitive. Gone are the days of tedious rhythms and lazy, mumbled lyrics. Gone are the days of damaged eardrums and lasting brain damage, both inevitable consequences of turning on American radio stations, boasting “America’s biggest hits.” Gone, my friends, are the days of hopelessly playing your “Spotify Discover” playlist, knowing you’ll be disappointed with what you find. Latin American music is here to stay–it’s time we embrace it.