The fan’s comment came in response to a message Maluma posted on social media, saying he was disappointed for not having a single Latin Grammy nomination for his album "11:11."
"The best album of my life, Madonna singing in Spanish, hits like HP, 11 PM, salsa produced by the greatest Sergio George,” he wrote on Instagram. “One is definitely left feeling confused and without knowing what to think.”
“Even though I’m nominated, I don’t agree with the way in which my genre and some of my colleagues were treated,” Yankee, whose hit “Con Calma” has a nomination for Best Urban Fusion or Performance, wrote in the social media post.
“The fact that I don’t agree with the way in which reggaeton is being judged, doesn’t mean that I’m against other genres and the artists that are shining in those categories,” Balvin, who is nominated for two collaborations with other artists, said in Spanish in an Instagram video.
Responding to the outcry, the Latin Recording Academy put out a statement saying: "We hear the frustration and discontent. We invite the leaders of the urban community to get involved with the Academy...At its core, The Latin Recording Academy belongs to its members, from all genres."
Some musicians, such as Mexico's Aleks Syntek, have publicly criticized the urban genre, saying it's repetitive, sexual and escapist. Two years ago, Syntek was criticized for being racist for saying “reggaeton comes from apes." Most recently, he defended the Academy for snubbing reggaeton and having "their criteria set."
J Balvin, in a recent sold-out Madison Square Garden concert, made a point to recognize some of the “reggaetoneros” who came before him and helped make the underground genre mainstream, including Yankee’s “Gasolina.”
Reggaeton’s mainstream rise coincided with the surge of streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and others. Music streaming accounts for 95 percent of the Latin music market’s revenues, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, known as RIAA.
Such growth is in lockstep with the rise of consumer demand for Latin music, mainly driven by urban artists such as Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Yankee, Jam, Maluma and Balvin, who are among the most streamed artists.
“It's just a mobile-first world,” Ian Drew, consumer editorial director at Billboard, told NBC News in April. “Music is actually coming at you at the speed of social media. Artists used to take a long time to record an album. Now, they can record a song in 20 minutes. So, one of the arguments is: Does that change the quality of music?”
One thing is clear — listeners like it. Latin music finished 2018 with $413 million in revenues, up from $243 million in 2017 and $178 million in 2016. In the first half of 2019, the industry racked $232 million in revenues, keeping up with overall growth trends.
Veteran singer and songwriter Kany García landed nominations in this year's Latin Grammys for Song Of The Year and Best Singer-Songwriter Album. Regardless of the questions surrounding nominations and categories, García brought it back to music's essence — the artistic process.
"Sometimes we're at the top and sometimes we're at the bottom, that’s the kind of profession we chose as musicians," García told NBC News in Spanish. "There's always going to be a song or an album that you thought was 'it' but it didn't work out. That’s why it's important to create music from my heart."
"But beyond just making music to entertain others," she added, "there's a need for music to show our realities because it affects big masses of people. And that legacy for me, is extremely important."