Ricky Martin, Camila, Wisin and Yandel are biggest gainers
The 15th annual Latin Grammy Awards were a television ratings success, but delivered disappointing music sales in the U.S.
The Nov. 20 live award ceremony, which featured performances by Pitbull, Calle 13, Marc Anthony and Ricky Martin, among others, reached nearly 10 million total viewers and averaged 4.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That translated to double-digit growth from 2013 among adults 18-49 (+10 percent) and 18-34 (+16 percent).
Perhaps aided by Obama’s immigration reform speech -- which Univision aired live, delaying the start of the awards -- the show was strong enough to make Univision the No. 2 broadcast network among adults 18-34, ahead of CBS, NBC, and Fox. It was also the No. 3 broadcast network among total viewers 2+, ahead of NBC and Fox.
But when it came to digital downloads, the numbers stagnated.
Only four acts -- Ricky Martin, Wisin, Yandel and Camila -- saw an increase of more than 1,000 downloads (yes, that’s 1,000 not 10,000) following their performances. Another track, Pitbull’s “Piensas (Dile la Verdad),” feat. Gente D’ Zona, entered the chart at No. 15, although Pitbull and the Cuban rappers didn’t perform together on the show (Pitbull, however, performed twice, and Gente D’ Zona were on Enrique Iglesias’ performance).
Martin’s “Adios” was the biggest gainer. It jumped 15-4 on Billboard’s Latin Digital Songs chart, selling 2,000 more downloads than the previous week. Another performer, J Balvin, went 5-3 with his new single, “Ay Vamos.” While his uptick in downloads wasn’t huge, the track was already selling at a good clip.
Camila’s “Perdón” jumped 21-9 and Yandel’s “Plakito,” featuring El General Yadiel, went 35-12.
Santana, who performed with Pitbull, saw his classic “Oye Como Va” enter the chart at No. 13 and Carlos Vives re-entered the chart at No. 24 with “Cuando Nos Volvamos a Encontrar.”
Through it all, Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando” (feat. Descemer Bueno and Gente D’Zona) remained at No. 1 on the chart but actually saw a 12 percent decline in sales. Because Iglesias is touring Europe, the performance that aired during the awards was previously recorded in Madrid.
When it came to album sales, the numbers were far less exciting. The only Latin Grammy performers on the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart were Iglesias, who remained steady at No. 3, and Marc Anthony, who went 8-7.
Only Anthony, Camila, J Balvin, Carlos Vives and Calle 13 saw sales gains, and they were small.
Why sales were so disappointing when ratings clearly indicated viewers were engaged remains a mystery. But the fact that the same names keep dominating performances is clearly a factor. If viewers have seen the same acts multiple times on television before throughout the year, there’s no sense of discovery or awe to be had, and it seems like most people who were willing to dip into their pockets and spend $1.29 for a track have already done so.
To be fair, this year’s Latin Grammys had three Best New Artist nominees onstage -- Aneeka, winner Mariana Vega and Pablo Lopez. But those performed only for approximately 90 seconds at a time as part of a medley, not enough to elicit any action.
If there is any takeaway here, it’s that something new is needed to jolt buyers.