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Latinos landed some big nominations, but 2019 Grammys don't reflect Latin music's boom

Latinos landed some big nominations, but 2019 Grammys don’t reflect Latin music’s boom

By Nicole Acevedo

A number of Latino artists were nominated for top awards for the 2019 Grammys, yet the nominations are not fully representative of the Latin music boom that has percolated into the mainstream music industry this year — mainly thanks to music streaming services.

Dominican-Trinidadian rapper Cardi B, Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello and Christina Aguilera, of Ecuadorian descent, landed some of the biggest Grammy nominations — from Album Of The Year to Record Of The Year.

But the contributions of artists such as J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Ozuna, who are part of the top 10 most streamed artists worldwide, are barely represented in the nomination list.

Consumer demand for Latin music has been steadily growing since 2014 after hits like ‘Bailando’ from Enrique Iglesias and ‘El Perdón’ from Nicky Jam reached huge mainstream success.

“There’s a new movement now, a new beat, a new sound. It’s where music is going right now,” reggaeton singer Nicky Jam told NBC News in a previous interview.

Urban artists like Maluma and J Balvin kept Nicky Jam’s momentum going, but Latin music’s crossover into mainstream reached a new turning point with the 2017 world-hit ‘Despacito’ from Puerto Rican musicians Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, which essentially broke all music charts and became the most streamed song in music history just six months after its release.

These successes catapulted 2018’s Latin music explosion, and Spanish-language songs have gone head to head with English-language songs across all charts.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America®, known as RIAA, the U.S. Latin music business finished 2017 with $243 million in revenues — a growth of 37 percent from 2016’s $178 million revenue mark.

Such growth continued in 2018, mainly driven by paid streaming formats such as Apple Music, paid Spotify, Amazon Unlimited and Tidal.

“The Latin music market continued its remarkable transformation in the first half of 2018. Latin music has become a worldwide phenomenon, driven by a diverse streaming market and Latin labels making smart investments to support their artists’ global ambitions,” said Mitch Glazier, president of RIAA, in a statement.

During the first half of 2018, the Latin music industry in the U.S. racked up $135 million in revenues. Some of this growth is reflected on streaming platforms like Spotify who curate Latin music playlists such as ¡Viva Latino! and Baila Reggaeton, which are 2018’s third and fourth most followed playlists on the streaming service.

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