We know that music from Latin America has been on a roll globally in recent years, driven by streaming services from Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora to YouTube. How’s that paying off in the world’s biggest recorded-music market? US industry body the RIAA put some numbers out yesterday with its year-end Latin Music Revenue Report.
The topline: the US Latin business grew by 18% in 2018 to $413m, which made it 4.2% of overall recorded-music revenues in the US that year – up from 4% in 2017. And the big (if unsurprising) news is that streaming generated the lion’s share of Latin revenues in the US last year: 93%, in fact, compared to 75% for the overall US music market.
The $383m of streaming revenues for Latin music includes $239m of subscription revenues (up 48% year-on-year) and $91m of ad-supported revenues (up 34%). What’s interesting here is that the latter category accounted for 24% of total Latin music revenues, compared to just 8% for the overall US market. As much as the ‘value gap’ debates continue, it is clear that free streaming is paying off for Latin artists in dollars, not just in promotion.
That said, RIAA COO Michele Ballantyne suggested that the dynamics of Latin listening may be a concern on that front. “There are inherent challenges for any market where fans have a heavier reliance on free, ad-supported services – an area that has not yet reached its full potential due to the efforts by some platforms to drive down the value of music,” she wrote in her introduction to the report. But the overall sentiment is optimism. “The Latin music market is showing signs of strength again, and we are excited for the next chapter of this comeback story…”