The Evolution of Latin Music

The Evolution of Latin Music

In 2017, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” skyrocketed to the top of the charts, and J Balvin quickly followed with the hit song “Mi Gente,” adding to his repertoire of hit Spanish songs throughout his career. Those two hits alone introduced millions of people who may not have normally listened to Latin music to the genre. 

Spanish-language music has hit record highs and reached more people than ever before in America over the last year, but it’s not just a momentary phenomenon or passing phase. The Latin genre has been growing steadily in popularity around the world since the original Bossa Nova boom in the 1960s, and it seems that the trend is showing no signs of slowing. 

The term "Latin music" originated from the U.S. due to the growing influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the American music market by pioneers including Xavier Cugat & Tito Puente.

As the Brazilian Bossa Nova became widespread in Latin America in the 1960s, it led to a rising interest in Latin Music globally.  Rock en español became popular with the younger generation of Latinos and gave birth to the famous Mexican-American Latin rock guitarist Carlos Santana began his decades of popularity.

Salsa music became the dominant genre of tropical music in the 1970s. Fania Records was credited for popularizing Salsa music through to the 1980s, as the Latin ballad continued to be the main form of Latin pop music. As the traditional Salsa lost it’s attraction, fans gravitated to the slower rhythms and romantic lyrics which characterized the aptly named: Salsa Romantica era.

Bolero music saw a resurgence of popularity with the younger audience in the 1990s and gave way to artists that are still recognizable today such as Ricky Martin, Shakira, and Enrique Iglesias.

As the 2000's rolled in, Reggaeton became popular in the mainstream market, with Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin & Yandel pioneering a new sound that would shape the genre and would eventually be dominated by up-tempo rhythms including Electropop, Urban, and contemporary Bachata music ushering out the era of the Latin Ballad in popular radio play.  

As the ASCAP Latin Music Awards wrap another successful year in NYC, the ever expanding - and diversifying - Latin music industry is proving that it has no plans of fading into obscurity anytime soon. 

We hope you've enjoyed learning about The Evolution of Latin Music! Check out some of our favorite tunes by following the official JP Linguistics Spanish playlist!