Latin Artists Are Taking Over YouTube

English speaking artists have dominated YouTube ever since its formation in 2005, but things are changing drastically. Now Latin artists are taking the trophy, beating Pop as the most popular genre, and songs with non-English lyrics are getting hundreds of millions of views by fans all over the world.
Latin Artists Are Taking Over YouTube
Urban Klancnik

We checked the 50 artists with the most YouTube views in the previous year, and Latin music is ahead of Pop with 17 artists among the top 50. OzunaDaddy YankeeMarília MendonçaZé Neto & CristianoAnuel AA, and Bad Bunny actually all climbed to top 10! By the way, four of them (Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, Anuel AA, and Bad Bunny) come from Puerto Rico, the birthplace of “Despacito”. So yes, Latin music is overall the most popular genre on YouTube, but on the other hand, the hottest act of 2019 comes from South Korea. Does that signify the end of English language domination in the music industry?

Daddy Yankee’s video “Con Calma” has gotten over 1.5B YouTube views since its release in January 2019.

The winners of the YouTube race

The first place by YouTube views from September 2018 to September 2019 goes to South Korean K-pop queens BLACKPINK, who've taken the world by storm in the last couple of years. 

BLACKPINK have gotten over 600M views for “Kill This Love” since its release in April, making the music video one of the most viewed in 2019.

The most popular subgenre: Reggaeton 

Reggaeton is the most popular subgenre of Latin music, with 10 artists in the top 50. An extremely effective weapon in Reggaeton’s arsenal are collabs. When two or more famous musicians work together has time and time again proven to be a goose that lays golden eggs . In fact, it’s almost a challenge to find two artists on the list that haven’t collaborated in the past. Here they are, so take a shot: Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, Anuel AA, Bad BunnyBecky GJ BalvinMalumaNicky JamPiso 21, and Manuel Turizo.

But Reggaeton isn’t the only Latin subgenre on top. Four artists (Marília Mendonça, Zé Neto & Cristiano, Gusttavo Lima, Henrique & Juliano) play Sertanejo. Romeo Santos, a Bronx-born artist of Dominican and Puerto Rican roots, is among those who have brought Bachata, otherwise a folk subgenre, to the mainstream. However, he has also flirted with Reggaeton in previous years. The same goes for Pedro Capó, whose work is mainly in Latin Pop and Salsa. Here’s a summer hit that likely hasn’t missed you. Los Angeles Azules are another winner – this Mexican band woos their fans with Cumbia.

There are different Latin subgenres among the 50 most played artists on YouTube. No other genre has more, which makes Latin extremely popular and versatile at the same time.

This monster collab includes Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna, and J Balvin, and is one of the most viewed videos in 2019. Does the tune sound familiar? 😊

Music connecting the world
Can we attribute the success of Latin music to a relatively large market? Almost 450M people in the world speak Spanish as their native language (it's the second most common language in the world after Mandarin), and here’s a fun fact: there are more Spanish speakers in the USA than there are in Spain. There are also about 220M people who speak Portuguese as a native language.

With 1.5B people speaking English, we could argue it’s still the most widely spoken language. However, for most, it’s a second language; “only” about 360M speak it as a native language. 

So yes, the Latin market is enormous and musicians get massive support from Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, making it easier for artists to rack up YouTube views and break through onto the global charts. Consequently, they’re gaining new fans even in communities that don’t speak their language. 

Besides being extremely popular in the Asian market, BLACKPINK have big fan bases in Europe and USA. 
Source: Facebook

Queens of K-pop

BLACKPINK being in first place might be even more surprising at first glance, as they sing mostly in Korean, with just a few English lines sprinkled throughout their songs. Yet they’re on top according to YouTube views. Similar to the Latin performers, they operate in a vast Asian market. They’re also quite popular in South America, as proven by their popularity on Google search.

So, is the domination of English lyrics coming to an end? We wouldn’t go that far. Right now, English is still going strong and will most probably stay one of the most used languages, but it will certainly have company at the top.

27 out of the 50 most viewed artists on YouTube come from English speaking countries, but only three are among the top ten.

Latin musicians are becoming more and more popular, with some of their songs easily breaking the 500M or even 1B barrier in YouTube views within a year. And the artists are not only adored by Spanish or Portuguese speaking fans, they’re worshipped by people all over the world, boosting them from stars to superstars. 

Girl group BLACKPINK is on top with 4.5B views from September 2018 to September 2019, but there are six Latin music performers among the top ten, beating every other genre by far. Only three artists with exclusively English tracks are among them.

Cover photo: Zé Neto & Cristiano/Nerópolis 2019

Illustration: artists' Facebook photos (Ozuna, Marshmello, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Daddy Yankee, Marília Mendonça, Zé Neto & Cristiano, Anuel AA, Bad Bunny); artist's Instagram photo (BLACKPINK). 


Read this next:

The First Time in History: No English Lyrics in YouTube’s Top 5

And the Winner of the Festival Year Is: Rosalía

100% That Pitch: How 45 Seconds on Netflix Launched Lizzo's Global Success

Urban Klancnik

Urban Klancnik

Guest Writer at Viberate
A journalist, writer, drummer, and music enthusiast. Spent the last 20 years destroying his hearing with Metal and Rock and sharing his experiences from some of the biggest festivals in the world.