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. Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, Marília Mendonça, Zé Neto & Cristiano, Anuel 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?
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.
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 Bunny, Becky G, J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Piso 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.
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.
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.
Cover photo: Zé Neto & Cristiano/Nerópolis 2019
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