If there was any doubt that reggaeton is now the most popular music in the world, the latest stats about the genre’s dominance on streaming platforms will easily convince any critics. On Sunday, J Balvin officially became the no. 1 global artist on Spotify. The Colombian reggaeton titan reached over 48 million monthly listeners over the weekend, unseating none Drake for the top spot on the platform (Spotify defines “monthly listeners” as unique listeners who play an artist’s music during a 28-day period; any fan who streams an artist’s music multiple times more than once is only counted once). Last summer, Daddy Yankee became the first Latino artist to reach this milestone. At the time, he declared reggaeton “the most listened to [genre] in the world.”
The news comes following the release of Balvin’s recent full-length Vibras, which saw the Medellín-born artist transcending reggaeton and experimenting with global club music. Announcements like these prove that reggaeton has transformed into global pop, shifting away from its roots as a street sound born in Panamanian and Puerto Rican barrios. More and more Spanish-language artists continue to command attention in the global mainstream, forcing audiences and industry stakeholders to reconsider their assumptions about dominant music culture in the U.S. and the international music market.
There’s no doubt that the news will continue to benefit artists making music in Spanish, and as milestones like these become commonplace, it’s important to have conversations about who in the Latino community benefits from this trend.