Latin Music Listening Up Nearly 16% in 2020 With Bad Bunny Leading the Pack

Bad Bunny
Alejandro Pedrosa

Bad Bunny

Latin music posted a healthy increase in audio consumption album equivalents in the U.S. in the first six months of 2020, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data's midyear report.

Audio consumption of Latin music grew to 14.56 million units in the first six months of 2020, up 15.9% from the 12.6 million units registered for 2019’s midyear total. That number helped the overall growth of the genre.

Following R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin was the greatest percentage point gainer among the large genres, now comprising 4.09% market share of the total U.S. music market. That's up from 3.86% at midyear 2019.

Latin's market share growth comes despite the fact that, like other genres, it has suffered a decline in its weekly streaming average since the advent of the economic shutdown beginning the week of March 13. Latin saw its average weekly on-demand count drop from 1.182 billion prior to the advent of the pandemic to 1.143 billion average weekly streams from the pandemic period onward through July 2, a 3.3% drop.

Like other genres, Latin's physical sales was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with physical album sales dropping 48.7% to 212,000 copies from 414,000 in the first half of 2019. As with other genres, Latin enjoyed a digital sales bump with download albums growing 11.7% to 248,000 copies from 222,000 the year before.

That means overall, album sales fell 27.6% to 461,000 from 636,000 copies, and digital track sales fell 32.6% to 3.35 million copies, versus 4.83 million in the six-month year earlier period.

In terms of top artists for the first six months of the year, Bad Bunny was king. The Puerto Rican rapper’s YHLQMDLG became the highest-charting all-Spanish-language album in the history of the Billboard 200 when it reached No. 2 on the March 14 tally.

It’s also the sixth-most-consumed album of the year and the lone Latin title in the top 10. Interesting fact: When Bad Bunny’s Las Que No Iban a Salir debuted on the May 14 Top Latin Albums chart at No. 1, Bad Bunny also held the No. 2 (YHLQMDLG) and No. 3 (X100PRE) slots.

Following Bad Bunny in consumption for the first six months of the year is Ozuna, and in third place, newcomer Natanael Cano. In terms of songs, the most-consumed track for the first six months of the year was Karol G and Nicki Minaj’s "Tusa," followed by Bad Bunny's "Yo Perreo Sola."

In fact, at midyear, Bad Bunny gets an artist credit, either as a solo or in collaboration, in seven of the top 10 most streamed latin songs.

Leila Cobo contributed to this report.

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