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Latin Music in the US Just Became a Billion-dollar Industry

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
According to the RIAA, streaming for superstar artists like Bad Bunny stimulated the genre’s growth to an all-time high in annual revenue for 2022.

In the United States, Latin music is cementing its visibility and steadily adding fuel to its skyrocketing prominence. The Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) year-end Latin music report confirms yet another summit for the genre: over $1 billion in annual US revenue. 

The 2022 report released Wednesday indicates that total revenues hit the $1.1 billion mark for the year. This acceleration represents 24% year-over-year growth from 2021’s $881 million revenue figure. Latin music’s share of revenues across US recorded music overall is now at an all-time high of 6.9%, up from 5.9% in 2021. 

RIAA’s most recent mid-year write-up foreshadowed the growth as a 23% increase in US; Latin music revenues in just the first half of 2022 pointed to a burgeoning moment for the market. Now, we have greater clarity about the genre’s impressive and still-growing impact.

“US Latin music revenues in 2022 exceeded $1 billion for the first time and grew significantly faster than the broader industry. That sustained expansion speaks to an openness to new artists, music and ways of listening,” Rafael Fernandez Jr., RIAA’s Senior Vice President of State Public Policy and Industry Relations, said in the report.

The amplification of the Latin genre is largely indicative of an explosive cultural fusion in the US. Heavyweights like Bad Bunny — who ended 2022 as the No. 1 most-streamed artist globally — eclipsed American artists on the charts and reggaeton/Latin trap phenoms lead the latest sonic vanguard.

“When Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti became the first non-English language album to ever top the Billboard 200 or Becky G, Daddy Yankee, Jhay Cortez, Karol G, Luis Miguel, Rosalia, and Sofía Reyes hit the mainstream, it was clear Latin music’s hot streak was just lighting up,” Fernandez said. 

Streaming formats exclusively comprised 97% of Latin music revenues as paid subscriptions steered much of the growth. With 71% of streaming revenues, the latter’s growth (up 29% to $758 million) exceeded any other digital format. 

Ad-supported on-demand revenue from audio platforms like YouTube, Vevo, and Spotify also experienced a 24% growth year-over-year to $230 million. The spike was the second year of double-digit growth for the streaming sector after advertising declined from COVID-19 in 2020.

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