In early 2017, it seemed like the entire world was obsessed with one particular song: “Despacito.” The rhythmic, addictive tune, performed by Puerto Rican artist Luis Fonzi along with Daddy Yankee, quickly landed on top music charts around the world, and was nominated for multiple awards from the Grammys, iHeartRadio, and Billboard. The song also helped Fonzi’s official YouTube channel land on Tubular’s top ten most-watched leaderboards from April through August 2017.

Fonzi’s song is just one of the many examples of the rise of Latino music on YouTube last year. According to Tubular’s new Q1 2018 State of Online Video report (SOOV), music and dance content attracted 328 billion views in Q4 alone, with Latin-based musicians rising to the top. Out of the top ten musicians on YouTube last year, six of them were Spanish language artists who as a whole pulled in 26 billion total views! Let’s dive into this trend, why it came about, and who are some of the rising artists behind this popular music.

Latino Music Boasts Massive Global Appeal

If you’re a U.S.-based reader, you might not fully understand why Latino music rushed to the forefront last year. Simply put, audiences around the world love it. Spanish language music is wildly popular outside the U.S., specifically in Central and South America, and even in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Its appeal comes from its focus on integrating dance with song, a format which spans different languages and countries in a way that not a lot of other pop music can. The widespread acceptance of Latin music has even led to an economic shift in the music market, as it generates more money than English-language content!

Tubular’s Q1 2018 State of Online Video report found six out of the top ten musicians on YouTube in 2017 were Latin music stars

This helps explain why Latin artists seemed to pop up out of nowhere last year, at least to those unfamiliar with the genre. And some of the artists leading the charge found their content attracting billions of eyeballs on YouTube. Fonzi, for example, saw 6 billion total views on his content in 2017 and was the 2nd most-watched artist of the year. Shakira, who established herself years ago as a leading Spanish language singer, came in third with 4.7 billion total views in 2017, while J Balvin pulled in 4.3 billion to place fifth. The sixth most-watched creator of 2017 was Maluma with 4.1 billion total views, while Ozuna claimed the #8 spot with 3.6 billion. Finally, Nicky Jam was the tenth most-watched artist of 2017 with 3.3 billion total views last year.

Ozuna’s Success Emblematic of the Rise of Latino Music

We already discussed why Luis Fonzi’s YouTube channel became so popular and landed on Tubular’s monthly leaderboards last year, so let’s look at another Latin artist who also found mass appeal: Ozuna. The Puerto Rican singer was previously not a familiar face to Tubular’s leaderboards. After 2017, however, it’s clear Ozuna was an excellent example of a Spanish language musician reaching across both country and language barriers to generate millions of views and listens on his content. In fact, just the other day when I was loading up my Google Play Music subscription, Ozuna was one of the featured artists for a suggested playlist (alongside fellow YouTube stars J Balvin and Maluma):

Ozona first appeared on Tubular’s top ten most-watched YouTube leaderboard in January 2018 with a good 564 million total views after moving up three positions from December. He also claimed the second-highest average 30-day view count (V30) of the first month of the new year at 52.9 million. For February’s leaderboard, Ozuna stayed in the top ten, this time bumping up another three spots to land at #7 with just over 668 million total views, an improvement of 104 million over January!

So what was the most popular clip from the Puerto Rican artist in 2017? That would be “Se Preparó,” which in and of itself generated 716 million views to date and saw a massive V30 of 125 million. The music video’s engagement rates from its first week are just as impressive. In its first three days, the video saw an average engagement rate per view of 2.7x, an impressive 1.7x higher than a baseline average, and within a week, that figured had lowered but was still far above the average at 1.9x!

Tubular’s Q1 SOOV report predicts Latin music will just become more popular in 2018. Have you downloaded it yet? If not, you can click here so you not only stay on top of this trend, but also others across industries like food and drink, travel, beauty, and science and tech!