U.S. Latin music revenue soared in 2021, with a huge 35% increase to $886 million — the highest figure in history, before adjusting for inflation — according to a new RIAA report issued Tuesday. The number far surpassed the overall growth rate for recorded music revenues, which were up a strong 22%, per the RIAA’s year-end report issued last month.
“In a year when Bad Bunny was the most-streamed artist in the world, stars like Becky G and Anitta pumped out chart topping hit after chart topping hit, and audiences joyfully flocked to Latin-powered stadium and arena shows as live performance ramped back up, Latin label teams and artists continue soaring to new heights,” said RIAA COO Michele Ballantyne. See the full report here.
Streaming accounted for a whopping 97% ($857 million) of those revenues, with paid music subscriptions continuing to be the main driver of Latin music revenue growth, increasing 35% to $593 million, accounting for more than two-thirds of all U.S. Latin music revenues in 2021.
Ad-supported on-demand streams (from services like YouTube, Vevo, and the free version of Spotify) grew 46% compared to the prior year, to $187 million. Taking into consideration the broader advertising declines due to the pandemic, 2021 marks that return with stronger growth in this category.
In contrast with overall U.S. music revenues, this ad-supported category significantly over-indexes in share at 21% of total Latin music revenues, versus 12% overall.
Despite only making up less than a percent of Latin music revenues, physical formats also rebounded in 2021 — as to be expected after significant challenges to physical sales posed by pandemic-related shutdowns of 2020. Physical format revenues rose 71% to $7.7 million, driven by increases in both vinyl (up 76% to $5.8 million) and CDs (up 44% to $2.0 million).
Judging from the pie chart, paid subscriptions from digital and customized radio services (such as Pandora, SiriusXM, and internet radio services), make up the biggest share of Latin music streaming revenues — having grown 22% to $77 million in 2021.
Revenues from permanent downloads of Latin music only accounted for 1.5% of revenues and fell 5% versus the prior year to $14 million.
Ballantyne continued, “RIAA is proud to celebrate the cultural power and creative and commercial success of Latin music reflected in this report — and salutes the incredibly talented artists and label teams that gave us so much in 2021.”