The popularity of Latin music is heating up. Now more than ever we are seeing musicians walk on both sides of the music industry and adding a Latinx twist to their work. Spanish-language artists (like J Balvin) are transitioning into the English market, while English-language dominant artists (like Camila Cabello) are dipping into the Spanish scene. This fusion of styles has not only given us some incredibly memorable songs, but it's also made Latin music one of the most listened to genres in the entire country, as streaming statistics show. With 2019 just starting, it's already shaping up to be the year of Latin music.
Camila Cabello is making her mark in both English and Spanish markets
One major component? Coachella. This year’s lineup includes the usual big names—Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Zedd—but it's also got plenty of Latin power. Los Tucanes de Tijuana (a Mexican norteño band banned from playing music in Tijuana) are headed to Cali to woo Coachella audiences. And reggaeton superstar J Balvin (the first reggatonero to perform at Coachella when he joined Beyonce on stage last year) is coming back but this time with his own set.
More artists set to perform include Bad Bunny, Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía, and Chilean indie electropop artist Javiera Mena. These artists are perfect examples of how the current musical movement is a divserse blending of sounds and genres -- artists collaborate, blending beats and voices and breaking down musical barriers. Take, for example, DJ Snake. Just last year, the French DJ and producer partnered with and brought together Latin artists for his hit Taki Taki. Ozuna, Cardi B and Selena Gomez all in one room made for an instant hit.
According to BuzzAngle (a data company that measures music consumption), people in the United States consumed more Latin music than country music. And as NBC News reports, Latin music captured 9.4 percent of all album listening, while country music ranked at 8.7 percent. It also ranked as the first genre dominated by streaming, with 95% of its consumption coming from streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
And that data is telling—not only for the people, but also the critics. This year's Grammy awards (airing on February 10 on CBS) is packed with Latinx artists that could take the wins. Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny are nominated for record of the year with their smash hit I Like It, while former Fifth Harmony band member Camila is nominated for best pop solo performance with her Spanglish sensation Havana.
Latinx stars themselves may give us a clue as to why the genre is becoming so popular, even among non-Spanish speaking audiences. “Even though you don’t understand what I’m saying, you are going to really feel it,” J Balvin told NBC News while promoting his new album Vibras. “The same thing happened to me when I used to listen to English music. I didn’t even understand one word. You know? But, it just makes me feel great.” And we can't wait to feel the Latin music this year.