A Winning Year for Latin Music and Bad Bunny
2022 was a vintage year for Latin music and in particular for Bad Bunny, who established himself as a key player in the music scene.
2022 was a year of growth and new beginnings in the music industry. According to Statista, the number of individuals streaming music worldwide increased from 487 million in 2021 to 524 million in 2022. In a CMU article, Will Page, the former Spotify economist, acknowledged that by the end of 2022, the value of wider music rights had reached almost $40 billion worldwide. Additionally, new trends like white noise have garnered millions of dollars in deals, and innovative services like JKBX have emerged, highlighting the industry’s capacity to evolve and embrace change, Forbes notes.
One particular highlight of the year was the surge in the popularity of Latin music among new demographics. Even though it has been on the rise since the late 1990s, led by artists like Marc Anthony and Shakira, a new wave of Latin artists has emerged. In 2022 alone, the Latin music genre has grown 33% in the United States, and during the tracking week ending on May 12, on-demand audio streams of Latin music surpassed Country for the first time, making it the fourth most popular genre in the United States that week, following pop, rock, and R&B/hip-hop.
The face of this phenomenon is undoubtedly Bad Bunny. In fact, the genre had its highest streaming week ever in May, largely driven by the release of Bad Bunny’s album “Un Verano Sin Ti”. The report states that his album alone held a 16% share of U.S. Latin Streaming consumption during its release week in May. On top of that, at the end of last year, Spotify revealed Bad Bunny was the top streamed artist on the platform for the third consecutive year, with more than 18.5 billion streams in 2022.
The artist of Puerto Rican descent has established himself as the defining crossover rapper and singer with his unique take on Latin trap music. Last month, IFPI, the organisation representing the worldwide recorded music industry, announced that “Un Verano Sin Ti” was the winner of the Global Album Award for 2022.
Followed by Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” and Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House”, this is the first time an album from a Latin American artist has won such an award. Frances Moore, Chief Executive of IFPI, said, “His unique sound, encapsulated in his award-winning album ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’, has captured the world’s attention on a remarkable scale over the last 12 months.” The 23-track album is entirely in Spanish and spent 13 weeks atop the Billboard 200 album chart, culminating in his receiving Billboard’s Top Artist of 2022 accolade.
This is not Bad Bunny and his team’s first recognition in 2023. At the beginning of this year, Noah Assad, Bad Bunny’s manager, was considered by Billboard as the year’s Top Executive in the music industry after Bad Bunny’s U.S. tour “El Último Tour del Mundo” broke records when its presale run sold out 480,000 tickets in less than a week and was Ticketmaster’s top sales day for any tour since Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 2018 On the Run II tour. Billboard also writes that after his previously mentioned U.S. tour was done, he embarked on a worldwide tour, becoming the first artist to do two different “$100 million-plus tours in the same calendar year”. Additionally, his concerts in 2022 grossed around $434.9 million, the highest value ever on a single calendar year since Billboard started recording these values in the 80s.
Noah Assad is the founder of Rimas Entertainment, a label, publisher, manager, and booker, which has grown immensely with Bad Bunny’s success amounting to more than 100 employees worldwide. Emilio Morales, Publishing Director at Rimas Publishing, was at NY:LON Connect 2023 earlier this year, where he shared that the current interest in Latin music has led to an overwhelming influx of Rimas’ solicitations.
The Grammy Awards, which took place on February 6, had Bad Bunny’s album “Un Verano Sin Ti” nominated for its most-prestigious award, Album of the Year. If he had won, it would be the first time a full-Spanish album had achieved such an accomplishment. It would be the official end of the apparent shadow banning the Academy did to Latin music and a true acknowledgment of Reggaeton, as The Washington Post writes. Billboard’s Chief Content Officer Leila Cobo says, “It’s overdue”. Unexpectedly, Harry Styles won the category with his album “Harry’s House”, leaving many frustrated in a category where Beyonce, Adele, and Lizzo were also competing. As Billboard writes, Twitter was invaded with mixed reactions, with one fan writing, “Bad Bunny was robbed,” and another writing, “Having a choice between Beyonce or Bad Bunny and somehow giving it to Harry Styles is an incredible way to unite African Americans, the general African diaspora, Hispanics, and Latinos”.
With countless records broken, Bad Bunny’s career seems unstoppable as he continued to spearhead the world’s obsession with Latin music. Of course, only the future will tell us how the story will go down, but his accomplishments are undeniable, setting a new course in music industry history.