In 2019, the Latin music market is primed to expand at an unprecedented rate.
Over the last couple of years, breakout Latin singles have climbed the US Top 40 charts like never before. You may remember “Despacito,” the relentlessly catchy collaboration between Latin artists Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi that took over radio waves and streaming platforms worldwide. The track broke both music and video streaming records globally. Its music video reached 2 billion views on YouTube faster than any upload in the site’s history and was the first video to ever reach 3 billion views—a record it still holds today.
But Latin music hasn’t always had the consistent crossover it boasts today.
Despite the fact that major artists like Pitbull, J Balvin, and Karol G have made it seem like Latin rhythms have always been part of mainstream music, the reality is that Latin music hasn’t always contended well in the mainstream against other genres. In the 90s and early 2000s, stars like Selena, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Enrique Iglesias opened the doors on the global market and paved the way for what seemed to be the next big thing for music. But since then, with the exception of a handful of crossover hits throughout the last decade, Latin music struggled to find a consistent home in the ears of the hard-to-please mainstream audience.
But all that is quickly changing. Thanks to the adapting behaviors and expectations of Latin music fans plus the ever-extended reach and accessibility of the genre, Latin music consumption may have now found a well-deserved permanent placement in the mainstream.
Not only has Latin music modernized, but so has its audience. The way music is being consumed by today’s younger, tech-savvy generations is very different than the way music was distributed, consumed, and shared in the past. And there is still much change to come. Today’s audiences are demanding that the industry give Latin music the same opportunities that it gives other genres.
RIAA’s 2018 Year-End Latin Music Revenue Report shows that revenues from paid streaming subscriptions grew 48% year-over-year to $239 million and made up 58% of the total Latin audience streaming market. While some listeners are still using traditional services, this audience is now heavily leaning towards streaming services as their primary music consumption platform.
Along with the adapting needs of the audience, the overall growth in the streaming industry has helped with the globalization of Latin music, which now accounts for 43% of all music-related revenue in the world. According to NPR, “The three most-streamed artists in 2018 were all Spanish-language artists, with eye-popping numbers from Ozuna, at 10 billion views, and J Balvin, at 11 billion views. Eight of the 10 most watched music videos released this year on YouTube are also Latin songs, and that’s not on accident.”
Given that streaming makes up 93% of its total revenue and its undeniable growth as a genre in recent years, the Latin music market has become one of the most exciting places for the music industry continue distribution efforts. Streaming platforms heard the demand for more spotlight opportunities for Latin music, and have answered by starting to give the genre the attention it deserves. This focus given to the Latin genre has increased its accessibility to current fans and new listeners alike.
Even still, Univision and Napster knew there was much more work to be done.
On March 13th, Univision, the United States’ leading Hispanic media group, announced a partnership with Napster to relaunch its Uforia Music app with enhanced personalization features and new streaming options for its listeners.
Univision built the Uforia Music app on an opportunity that it saw to cater to the underserved Hispanic market. Even as global streaming services begin to show a greater appreciation of Latin culture, music, and its artists, they are unable to connect with this audience, because this market will never be their only focus. On the other hand, Univision has dedicated the last several decades to serving this audience. It leveraged its years of experience and authority in the community to launch a music app that was built with the Hispanic community’s needs at its core.
As part of the initial phase of this partnership, Napster is powering the intelligence behind Uforia’s playlists, and also has developed user profile tools to enable personalization and preference tracking within the app. The app caters to deep cultural music ties with a frictionless user experience, bringing together more than 60 streamable radio stations and curated playlists around many moods and genres. Additionally, users will have access to 15+ digital-only stations curated for specifically Latinos available nowhere else.
This partnership is still in its early stages, but Napster and Univision have already committed to future collaboration to further innovate on the tools and services needed to better serve the changing Latin media audience.