J Balvin has just been named the most streamed artist in Spotify, replacing Drake, and becoming the first Spanish-speaking artist to do so.
Yesterday morning, the music streaming service Spotify announced that, with 48 million monthly listeners on the platform, Colombian artist J Balvin had become the most streamed artist in the world. These numbers made him beat Drake, who had held the title previously, but on top of that, perhaps the most important thing is the fact that he sings in Spanish, questioning the idea that only music in English is capable of reaching the entire world.
This, of course, is not the first time that music in Spanish rules the charts. The most recent example was the major hit “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, which ended up becoming the most viewed video in YouTube history with more than 5 billion views, not to mention that it also replaced “La Macarena” as the song in Spanish remaining as Billboard’s number one song the longest.
Now, you might be wondering why would the results of a streaming service determine the value of an artist or a song in particular? The thing here is that Spotify has become one of the most popular services around the world. So, here, it's not really a matter of quality per se, but it gives us a good idea of what the world is listening to. The fact that J Balvin became the most streamed artist in the entire world speaks of how Latin music is rising in the global market.
When it comes to Latin hits such as “La Macarena,” “Gasolina,” “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” or “Despacito,” these were thought to be isolated cases that managed to reach the world out of their catchy tunes. However, something to take into account is the fact that with Balvin, we’re talking not about a single hit, but rather the artist as a whole. “Despacito” might have been a massive success, but really, it’s Luis Fonsi’s first take on a successful genre. That’s not the case with J Balvin, though, who has known very well how to adapt his style for a more global market.
Last summer, his song “Mi Gente” (which was later remixed with none other than Beyoncé), became the first song in Spanish to reach number one in Spotify’s global top 50 charts. Actually, this also beats "Despacito," since the version that broke all records was actually the one featuring Justin Bieber, who sang some parts in English. This supports another declaration by the streaming company, who claimed that in 2017, Latin music listening increased by 110% compared to the previous year, and this year isn’t the exception.
Maybe you're not reggaeton's biggest fan, but you can’t deny that these artists are doing a great job in getting Latin music in the global music industry. As Balvin himself wrote on social media, this is “bigger than J Balvin, it’s the movement and it’s in Spanish. We are proving that Latinos have the power to connect with an audience on a global level without having to leave our identity behind.” As for me, I totally agree that it’s a great achievement and a big step for the Latino community. Today it's reggaeton, and tomorrow it could be any other of our beautiful genres and rhythms.
Take a look at these:
Images from @jbalvin