The Changing Language of Music

The music industry's history is directly linked to the rise and fall of many languages, from the Flemish, Old French, and Germanic languages to Latin and Greek.  Then English replaced French as the lingua franca of music in Europe, English grew in popularity amongst musicians and composers worldwide.  This trend has reversed itself in favor of Spanish and other non-English languages in recent years. With Spanish emerging as the most popular language used on streaming services like Spotify, what does this mean for the future of non-English music? How long will these trends last?

How music charts around the world have changed

In short, we speak different languages. That may not be a massive surprise to anyone who follows international music news, but it's worth looking at in more detail.  Back in 2000, just one non-English language was represented on any given year's U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart—which is to say, there was one song (by Ricky Martin) sung in Spanish (the U.K. had a few more). By 2017, however, 16 languages appeared on that same U.S. chart —and only half were English.  About two-thirds of them were by artists whose first language wasn't English—there were singles by German rapper N.F., Japanese singer/songwriter Utada Hikaru and Russian artist Sergey Lazarev. Spotify data show similar trends: Each year, between 2015 and 2017, saw a more excellent representation of non-English artists among its global listening audience.  There are likely many reasons for these shifts —for example, YouTube has helped stream music from around the world into living rooms everywhere.

How different genres have risen and fallen on Spotify

Streaming has fundamentally changed music consumption and resulted in exciting shifts in our listening behavior. Latin American chart-topper  Despacito is a particularly apt example; initially released by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee remixed it with additional lyrics sung primarily in Spanish. Despacito was streamed over five billion times worldwide, making it one of 2017's biggest hits.  The song isn't strictly representative of Latin music on Spotify, but an interesting trend can be seen across all genres: non-English language songs are rising as English-language hits decline.

Who's rising in popularity across the globe in 2022?

Languages with many native speakers, including Spanish and Portuguese, will take over countries where English currently reigns. Since these languages have already amassed an expansive fan base, it's clear that their influence is growing globally. 

Which artists are climbing up the charts in your country?

OP5 LATINO SONGS ON MUSIC STREAMING PLATFORM IN FRANCE (Feb 25, 2022) Pepas - Farruko LA FAMA (with The Weeknd) - ROSALÍA Mon Amour - Remix zzoilo Desesperados - Rauw Alejandro Mujeriego - Ryan Castro TOP5 LATINO SONGS ON MUSIC STREAMING PLATFORM IN SWEDEN (Feb 25, 2022) Pepas - Farruko Mujeriego - Ryan Castro Desesperados - Rauw Alejandro Medallo - Blessd Lo Siento BB:/ (with Bad Bunny & Julieta Venegas) Tainy TOP5 LATINO SONGS ON MUSIC STREAMING PLATFORM IN ESTONIA (Feb 25, 2022) Pepas - Farruko Lo Siento BB:/ (with Bad Bunny & Julieta Venegas) Tainy Mujeriego - Ryan Castro Mon Amour - Remix zzoilo Desesperados - Rauw Alejandro Keep in mind that these numbers fluctuate wildly; what's hot now may not even come close to replicating its initial popularity.

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