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U.S. Latin Music Revenues Hit Highest Level Since 2006, Far Outpacing Rest of Market

Latin music’s fortunes continued their upward trajectory, with the genre registering its third straight year of growth in the United States and reaching its highest revenues since 2006.

According to the RIAA’s just-released 2019 Year-End U.S. Latin Music Revenues Report, the US. Latin music market ended the year with revenues of $554 million, up 28% compared to the previous year. That’s more than double the overall U.S. music market growth of 13%. The big motor was streaming, which accounted for 95% of total Latin music revenues in 2019, or $529 million.

The rise in streaming and revenue also buoyed Latin music’s stature in the market overall. Latin music — or music performed more than 50% in Spanish — now accounts for 5.0% of the total $1.1 billion U.S. recorded music business, versus 4.4% in 2018.

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With healthy numbers from artists like Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Ozuna, Latin’s streaming growth was felt everywhere, most notably in the paid subscription category, which includes services like Apple Music, Spotify Premium and Amazon Unlimited. Paid subscriptions contributed 65% of Latin streaming music revenues in the U.S. in 2019 and grew 36% year over year to $344 million.

Of particular note are revenues from on-demand, ad-supported services, which include YouTube and ad-supported Spotify. These grew 29% to $121 million, accounting for 23% of Latin music streaming revenues.

That’s a significantly larger proportion than the 10% it contributed to the overall U.S. music market, and highlights, once again, the importance of YouTube as a promotional and discovery platform for Latin music. According to YouTube, of 160 videos that have joined the “billion view” club so far, 60 are Latin.

RIAA: U.S. Latin Music Revenues Hit
Courtesy of RIAA

Revenues from digital and customized radio, like Pandora and SiriusXM, reversed a decline from 2018 and also registered growth. SoundExchange distributions from those services increased 18%. They now account for 12% of streaming music revenues.

The one area where Latin suffered, along with everyone else, was actual purchases. Digital download sales fell 20% to $17 million, and revenue from physical product was only $4.2 million, down 24% versus 2018. Combined, they accounted for just 4% of U.S. Latin music revenues.