Univision's annual youth awards, known as Premios Juventud, took a chance this year by highlighting only performances by new and lesser-known acts for perhaps the first time in its nine years of broadcasts. Some of these performances delivered immediate sales spikes, according to the Latin Digital Songs chart (dated Aug. 4) that was published after the July 19 show held at the BankUnited Center in Miami.
The sales boosts not only illustrate the viewing audience's willingness to embrace new acts but also the fact that in the realm of Latin music award shows - which tend to feature the same acts repeatedly - Premios Juventud has finally found its niche. Judging by sales, labels would benefit by pushing their developing acts here rather than their war horses.
It's a vindication of sorts for new and developing artists, who previously had a very hard time getting booked for such events - even Premios Juventud, which was originally conceived as a youth awards contest but whose performance slots tended to be dominated by veteran acts. This year, however, was a marked change from previous events. Not only were mostly new artists like Leslie Grace on the bill, but the performances that elicited the most sales were by youth-oriented acts. (Premios Juventud 2012 also delivered an audience of 4.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.)
Grace entered Latin Digital Songs at No. 20 with nearly 2,000 downloads sold of her bilingual bachata cover of "Will U Still Love Me Tomorrow," according to Nielsen SoundScan. Recently signed to Top Stop Music, Grace has yet to record an album, but her song has nevertheless graced the Tropical Airplay chart for the past three weeks. (It is currently at No. 4). Others who sold notable numbers of downloads include Mexican duo Jesse & Joy, who are enjoying a surprising degree of U.S. commercial success as their single "Corre!" keeps finding new fans. The track sold nearly 1,000 more downloads than the week previous, moving from No. 11 to No. 8. Meanwhile, 3BallMTY's new single, "Besos Al Aire," featuring America Sierra and Smoky, moved from No. 38 to No. 22 with 1,500 downloads, nearly doubling in sales from the previous week. Similarly, Romeo Santos' "La Diabla," which topped the Aug. 4 Hot Latin Songs chart, moved from No. 44 to No. 23 on the Latin digital list with nearly 1,500 downloads, doubling its tally from the week before.
Farther down the chart, two other youth-oriented acts landed a notable sales spike. Chino y Nacho's "Bebe Bonita," featuring Jay Sean, registered a boost of more than 50% that made it re-enter at No. 36, while Frankie J's "Tienes Que Creer en MÃ" bubbled under the chart with a slight sales surge following his first major TV appearance in years.
Of course, there were a few exceptions to the chart's surge in up-and-comers directly related to the show. Pitbull, who performed "Back in Time," enjoyed the biggest sales jump after his appearance, with his new single "Echa Pa'llÃ¡ (Manos Pa'rriba)" entering the chart at No. 4 with more than 4,000 downloads. In the top 30 is salsa star Victor Manuelle, whose infectious "Ella Lo Que Quiere Es Salsa" entered the chart at No. 26 with more than 1,000 downloads. Aside from Pitbull, Manuelle was the only veteran act who made waves on the chart, singing with rappers Voltio and Jowell & Randy.
Finally, it seems Latin media is realizing that the well of older Latin acts is drying up, and that familiarity is no longer a certain recipe for success in the Latin music realm.