More people in the U.S. are listening to Latin music albums, surpassing country

Latin music’s popularity increased so much during 2018, it surpassed country music in album consumption numbers, according to a new report.
Image: Nicky Jam, J Balvin
Nicky Jam, left, and J Balvin perform "X" at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Las Vegas. The song is named as one of the top songs of the year by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu.Eric Jamison / AP

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By Nicole Acevedo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Latin music dethroned country music over the past year.

According to a newly-released report from BuzzAngle, a data company that measures music consumption, Latin music’s popularity increased so much it surpassed country music in album consumption numbers.

Previous data from BuzzAngle shows that country music albums are usually part of the top five most consumed albums in the U.S., but that changed in 2018 when Latin music took its place.

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The genre is now part of the top five most consumed music albums in the U.S.

Latin music accounted for 9.4 percent of all album listening in the U.S. in 2018, while country only accounted for 8.7 percent.

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

On 2018, Latin music giants such as J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Rosalia and Mon Laferte dropped new albums.

"We are defining a new mainstream," J Balvin told NBC News in a 2018 interview when he was promoting his then new album “Vibras.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of the largest, most famous and most profitable music festivals worldwide, seemed to have picked up on the trend and added many Latin artists to its 2019 lineup — in what could be considered an unprecedented roster of major Latin musicians performing at the festival.

Coachella announced that performers like J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Rosalia, Mon Laferte, Tucanes de Tijuana, Javiera Mena, Tomasa del Real and Ocho Ojos are set to take the prestigious stage in April.

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 success mainly thanks to the popularity of music streaming services — which currently represent 95 percent of total Latin music consumption, according to BuzzAngle.

Billions of streams in English and Spanish also fueled a record-breaking revenue growth for the Latin music industry in 2018.

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