Latin Music and Digital Streaming are Connecting the World

Latin music

The music landscape has evolved and transformed over the last decade, with streaming platforms and vinyl records working together to push the compact disc into relative obscurity.

But while vinyl is expected to ebb and flow according to the whim of music fans, digital music remains a dominating force, with Latin America leading the charge, and globalization at the helm.

Digital streaming gives listeners throughout the world the ability to share their music more quickly and easily than ever before. A band’s new single can drop and reach a global audience on the same afternoon — connecting the world in a powerful way.

Viral Videos Killed the Radio Star

In our visually based society, few mediums speak more loudly than videos, which have become the primary means of music sharing. Many artists today release a video of their new single ahead of an album’s release, as Brazil’s Rashid did in January with “Música de Guerra.” In late 2017, a catchy, Latin-infused music video surpassed 4.5 billion views on YouTube to become the platform’s most viewed of all time.

“Despacito” is sung by Luis Fonsi, a Puertorriqueno who released his first album in 1998 and was virtually unknown outside of Latin America until last year. Today, he is is a household name across the world.

“Despacito” pays homage to his island home; its opening notes from a delicate flamenco guitar accented with images of the Caribbean Sea and the vibrant, colourful architecture of San Juan. Thanks to today’s streamlined video editing programs, which allow users to create a video and then immediately upload it to YouTube, musicians and producers can truly share the flair and flavour of their culture as well as the sounds.  

As of September 2018, the original version of “Despacito” has 5.48 billion views on YouTube. The song’s “Audio” remix, featuring Canadian superstar Justin Bieber, has amassed a further 632 million views.

While “Despacito” was the star of 2017, there are plenty of other Latin American artists who are helping fuel the modern musical revolution. In fact, six of the 10 most-watched videos on YouTube the year “Despacito” reigned supreme were sung in Spanish, including “Felices Los 4” by the Colombian singer Maluma and Enrique Iglesias’ “Subeme La Radio.”

The Business of Globalisation

Global thinking is a necessary piece of any modern business model, and Latin artists are paying attention. “If companies support and welcome globalisation, it becomes intertwined with their culture,” according to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Cultural preservation is more important than ever in our modern digital age, especially in the wake of widespread globalisation and tragedies such as the September 2 fire at the National Museum of Brazil. The devastating fire destroyed irreplaceable pieces of Brazilian history and culture, including the bones of Luzia, the oldest human remains ever found in Brazil.

Therefore, globalization and culture go hand-in-hand, and Latin musicians are keenly aware of how digital preservation can keep their culture accessible across generations. Unlike analog mediums such as cassette, CD, and even vinyl, digital channels equate music that is preserved for the long term.

Leah D. Nelson started writing about music in high school, and never stopped. She loves thrift shops, dogs, live music, and riding her bike. After spending several memorable years immersed the New Orleans music scene, she is now comfortably settled in Boise, Idaho. You can follow her musings on twitter: @leahdeann3

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