As the Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber collab dominates the summer, A&R executives spot a trend.
"Despacito," the first mostly Spanish-language song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 20 years, has already brought in $2.9 million in revenue for Universal Music Group in the United States alone, according to estimates based on Nielsen Music sales and streaming data for both the original and the remix. Also, the song has earned more than $220,000 in revenue for the publishers and about $1.27 million in royalties for the performing artists and songwriters.
But the success of "Despacito" -- originally recorded by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, then remixed by Justin Bieber -- isn't as sudden as it seems. Over the past two years, the outsized popularity of Latin music on streaming services has made Latin music both more accessible and more popular around the world.
"Despacito" "is a white-glove slap to anyone who doesn't think Latin music is a global phenomenon," says Sony Music U.S. Latin president Nir Seroussi. Sony has had worldwide success with crossover Latin hits for decades, thanks to artists like Shakira and Ricky Martin. And more recently, predominantly Spanish-speaking artists like CNCO, Maluma and Nicky Jam have ruled streaming charts worldwide, while Enrique Iglesias' "Bailando" peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 2014, which is in some ways a precursor to the success of “Despacito.”