Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito' Tops Latin Airplay Chart

Courtesy Photo
Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee "Despacito"

“The track really hits on all levels,” says one radio expert

Luis Fonsi’s latest single “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee, lifts 2-1 on the Latin Airplay chart (dated March 11), scoring each act their seventh career chart-topper. The ascent marks Fonsi’s first Latin Airplay No. 1 since 2009, when “Aqui Estoy Yo” topped the tally. Daddy Yankee most recently crowned the list in 2016 when “Vaiven” spent a week at the top (Jan. 23).

The capping climb is due to a 13 percent increase at the format, to 18.2 million audience impressions in the week ending Feb. 26, according to Nielsen Music. Both act’s hometown station WKAQ, San Juan, Puerto Rico (a Univision Radio station), was a top contributor with 77 weekly spins of the song.

Univision Communications, Inc.’s vice president, managing director of radio strategy Ismar Santa Cruz tells Billboard, “Luis Fonsi took a heritage sound that he has been known for and successfully adapted it to the sounds that are impacting the market and our audience today." Adding, “the inclusion of Daddy Yankee as a featured artist added an additional rhythmic element by a core star artist that complemented the track very well.”  

Fonsi, who has dotted the chart with 30 songs since debuting in 1998, has traditionally been known known for his ballads. “Despacito” is his first foray into a more rhythmic, reggaeton sound aided by a pioneer in reggaeton’s shift into the mainstream, Daddy Yankee (the record holder for most chart hits on Billboard’s Latin Rhythm Songs chart, with 59).  

Univision’s WXNY, New York also championed the track with 45 plays (and 1.2 million audience impressions). Of its nationwide draw, Santa Cruz comments “Univision listeners are really relating to the rhythm and lyrics— and we’re seeing that in various formats across multiple top markets including Puerto Rico, Miami, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, among others.”

Santa Cruz sums up the tracks appeal, “all in all, the track really hits on all levels, and we see it resonating to that degree with our audiences.”

Luis Fonsi’s Seven No. 1s on Latin Airplay
Title, peak date (weeks at No. 1)
“Imaginame Sin Ti,” Sept. 9, 2000 (two weeks)
“Abrazar La Vida,” May 22, 2004 (one week)
“Nada Es Para Siempre,” Aug. 27, 2005 (one week)
“Tu Amor,” Feb. 24, 2007 (one week)
“No Me Doy Por Vencido,” (19 weeks)
“Aqui Estoy Yo,” June 13, 2009 (one week)
“Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee, March 11 (one week, so far)

Elsewhere, “Despacito” concurrently spends a fourth straight week at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart thanks to increased digital sales and steady streams, in addition to the on-air rise.

For a third consecutive week it is the most streamed Spanish-language song in the U.S., supporting its stay atop Hot Latin Songs (despite a 3 percent dip to 7.6 million plays in the week ending Feb. 23). YouTube accounts for nearly half of the streams (49 percent), where the music video for the track has collected over 369 million global views since its Jan. 12 release. Digital sales also aid the ranking, hiking 11 percent, to 9,000 downloads sold.