• Natalie Caballero

How streaming has increased Latin music revenue

Latin music revenue has had a significant increase over the last few years, having completed a third straight year of growth in the United States. It has reached its highest revenues since 2006, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Streaming accounted for 95% of the U.S. Latin music revenues in 2019. The 2019 Year-End U.S. Latin Music Revenue Report done by RIAA stated the Latin music market ended the year with $554 million dollars in revenue. This number went up by 28% since the previous year, the highest figure the market has seen since 2006.


Many will probably wonder, how did this leap happen, and how has the latin music industry been able to garner such high revenue in such a short amount of time? The answer here is streaming. Streaming accounted for 95% of their music revenue which translated to $529 million dollars. This growth was more than double what the U.S. music market growth was with an increase of just 13%. The rise in streaming skyrocketed Latin music’s place in the music industry. It was also reported that Latin music accounts for 5% of the $1.1 billion made in U.S. recorded music, again increasing since 2018 when it only made up 4.4%



Some believe the successes Latin artists have had with streaming is because they are ahead of what others in the music industry are focused on. A majority of their revenue stems from ad-supported streaming and online subscriptions and some believe this will be an indicator on how the market will shift its streaming habits in the future. Streaming services gives audiences the ability to listen to a wider range of music, giving them the opportunity to be exposed to more global music than ever before. When we would previously be forced to listen to what is featured and played on the radio, streaming puts audiences in control of what is played on mainstream services.

Now how much can streaming really generate in terms of revenue? According to RIAA, 65% of Latin music’s revenue came from online paid streaming subscriptions. Another 23% came from ad-supported streaming options such as YouTube which has opened the door for global artists to be discovered and to share their music. Revenue from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music also grew 36% from last year causing a jump from 46.9 million in 2018 to 60.4 million in 2020 according to RIAA.



Experts say explosion onto streaming services and ad-supported services have given latin music this push but the increase over the years in revenue may also be in part to latin crossover hits and collaborations such as “Despacito,” “I like it,” “Taki Taki,” and “Mi Gente” to name a few. These hits and many others have created a greater acceptance for Latin music in the United States resulting in more airplay that stems from streaming. These collabs are opening the doors to new latin artists ready to make the crossover into mainstream U.S. music.

Despite having high numbers in audio consumption in the first 6 months of 2020, Latin music has already taken a hit since the economic shutdown and decline in use of streaming services due to COVID-19. In the first 6 months of 2020 Latin music grew from 12.6 million units in 2019 to 14.56 million units, although proving continued success for the Latin music industry, it has since seen a drop in its average weekly count. Its average weekly count dropped from 1.182 billion to only 1.143 billion weekly streams since the beginning of the pandemic, recording a 3% drop in streaming.



Despite the drop, Latin artist “Bad Bunny” has continued to garner success and revenue for Latin music with his album “YHLQMDLG” which became the highest charting all Spanish language album in the history of the Billboard 200 where it reached No. 2 on the overall chart. Although many know Latin music as their club music of choice, and with clubs being shut down for the foreseeable future, those who stream Latin music may now have to listen to Bad Bunny while working from home to continue the success of the industry.


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