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U.S. Hispanics Spend 32 Hours a Week Listening to Music: Nielsen Report

"Descubrimiento Digital, the Online Lives of Latinx Consumers," a new report from The Nielsen Company, says 70% of U.S. Hispanics follow artists on social media, a 43% higher number than that of the…

Seventy percent of U.S. Hispanics follow artists on social media, a 43% higher number than that of the total population, according to “Descubrimiento Digital, the Online Lives of Latinx Consumers,” a new report from The Nielsen Company.

“Forty-four percent of U.S. Hispanics agree that they feel really good about seeing celebrities in the media who share their ethnic background,” Nielsen reports, adding that “Latinx consumers are gregarious by nature, engaging in social interaction and activities more than their non-Hispanic White counterparts.” U.S. Hispanics over-index for the amount of time they spend on social networking sites, with 52% spending 1 or more hour(s) per day (compared with 38% of non-Hispanic Whites) and 24% spending 3 or more hours per day (compared with 13%).

Forty-five percent of Hispanics are currently using a streaming service for music, radio and podcasts, putting their usage five percentage points higher than for their non-Hispanic White counterparts, according to Nielsen. Streaming represents almost half of all music listening by Latinx consumers (Nielsen uses the term “Latinx”, as well as “Hispanic” in the report as “a nod toward greater inclusion of women, LGBT+ and non-binary Hispanics and the growing popularity of the term in social media and academic writing.”)

Hispanics spend about 32 hours a week with music overall, according to the report. Of that, 15% of listening is terrestrial radio, 4% is satellite radio, 14% is digital music library, and 46% is some type of streaming. Another 10% of listening is via physical copies, while 12% is from miscellaneous sources such as TV music channels.

The report found that radio remains “critical” to reaching U.S. Hispanic consumers overall, who spend an average of 12 hours and 59 minutes weekly listening to AM/FM radio — more time than the average spent on radio by the total U.S. On a weekly basis, AM/FM radio reaches 96% of U.S. Hispanics aged 18 and older, the highest reach of any medium.

Hispanics 18 and older listen to radio an average of 5.1 days per week. Sixty-three percent of U.S. Hispanics say they listen to radio online (over-indexing against non-Hispanics by 31%). The survey found that 57% agree that access to their favorite AM/FM radio station 24/7 is an important feature when choosing a music streaming service. Fifty-three percent say they discover new music through AM/FM radio, while 34% say they discover it through online music websites.


“Then they buy, listen to and watch that new music in multiple formats:” Nielsen found that, on average, U.S. Hispanics aged 13 and older use four physical devices to listen to music each week. Twenty-one percent have a smart speaker in the home, more than the total population. The report also noted that for Hispanics, music is an important connector: 25% of U.S. Hispanics share music video links with family and friends (over-indexing against total U.S. adults by 40%).

“With 27% of Hispanics living in multigenerational households, the younger generations have much influence on older Hispanics,” the report added. “In fact, those 50 and older have become particularly tech savvy, as they over-index non-Hispanic Whites by 36% for agreeing they like to have a lot of electronic gadgets, and by 28% for agreeing they often discuss their knowledge of technology or electronic products with others.”

The discovery of live music events is tied to radio and streaming, as well as to social media. Thirty-one percent of live music goers say they found out about the event via YouTube, while 19% found out via radio. Additionally, 49% discovered live music events on Facebook, 27% on Instagram and 31% from friends and family. Seventy-eight percent of Hispanics view a brand more favorably if the brand sponsors a concert or tour.

The Nielsen survey also explores the rise in the crossover of bilingual Latin music to the mainstream — what could be called the “Despacito Phenomenon.”

“Music is one of many areas where Hispanic influence on the mainstream is evident,” Nielsen reports. “Latin music became mainstream music in 2017, when for the first time in modern history, the Billboard Hot 100 charts held a record for the number of predominantly Spanish-language songs — 19 to be exact. With collaborations between Latin artists and mainstream artists, music listeners were introduced to Latinx talent with danceable hits.”

“Part of the new mainstream success of Latin music can be attributed to streaming services recognizing the power of Latin music,” Nielsen states. “As major streaming services have increased the availability of Latin music, its exposure and consumption have increased exponentially, not only among Hispanics, but among all other U.S. adults as well.”

The report stresses that “new media options are serving as a platform to explore and express that heritage and to shine a spotlight on Hispanic artists and celebrities.”

Hispanics are 58% more likely to have seen four or more movies in theaters than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. More than half have watched or downloaded movies or TV programs from the internet (over-indexing against non-Hispanic Whites by 24%). For U.S. Hispanics 18-49, that number is 67%, and for those 50 and older, 30% are watching and downloading (over-indexing by 14%).

“Shared entertainment events are important in Latinx households, and that includes pay-per-view events,” Nielsen adds. Hispanics over-index against non-Hispanic Whites by 180% for having watched one live event in the past 12 months. U.S. Hispanic households are also well connected to other entertainment options, with more than one-third of Hispanic households (38%) subscribing to hardwired cable TV service, and 25% to satellite (over-indexing by 22%).

“Technology has fundamentally changed the consumer experience, but disproportionately so for the Latinx community who are in the midst of an intense transformation in their forms of expression and expectations both within their community and with brands and the digital world,” the Nielsen report concludes. “In a period of population shifts, fragmentation, and intense competition for attention, Hispanics are using technology and social media to rewrite the rule book. Their combination of relative youth, demand for cultural connectivity and nuanced content has placed Hispanics at the center of trendsetter culture.”