YouTube has released its global music charts, insights and the top 10 biggest songs of 2018. Out of which, eight belonged to the non-English language (all Spanish) and only two English songs made it to the chart, with Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” at No. 3 and Drake’s “God’s Plan” at No. 8.
This week’s Global YouTube Artist chart reveals that the world’s top four biggest acts performed belonged to the non-English language music: Anuel AA (who is Puerto Rican), Neha Kakkar (Indian), Kumar Sanu (Indian) and Alka Yagnik (Indian).
In YouTube’s global 2017 Top 10, six tracks were non-English language (again, all in Spanish), led by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” at No.1 – which remains the biggest video in YouTube history, on the cusp of 6 billion views today.
In fact, Ariana Grande, currently breaking global records on Spotify, is the only artist in the entire YouTube Top 10 whose first speaking/singing language is English. (The rest of the Top 10, is made up of three Puerto Rican artists Bad Bunny, Farruko and Ozuna and one Indian, Udit Narayan, and one Colombian, Karol G.) This may surprise those of us who rarely step beyond an Anglo-American pop-cultural bubble. But, out in the big bad world, it’s been a long time coming.
In 2018, YouTube’s biggest music videos were led by two songs which were entirely in Spanish. Number one was the “Te Bote” Remix – by Casper, Nio García, Darell, Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny and Ozuna – whose current YouTube plays stand at 1.6 billion. The runner up was “X” by Nicky Jam and J. Balvin (current streams: 1.4 billion).
Going back to 2016, YouTube’s Annual Top 10 had just one non-English language placing – Nicky Jam’s “Hasta el Amanecer” at No. 3. And guess what? Completing the backward trend, in 2015, there were zero non-English songs in YouTube’s global Top 10.
Spotify’s year-end listings do not show the same global range as YouTube’s yet. The biggest non-English language track globally on Spotify’s 2018 annual chart was “X” by Nicky Jam and J. Balvin at Number 18 – although Spanish lyrics did appear on Cardi B’s I Like It (feat Bad Bunny and J Balvin) at Number Seven.
Which country will provide the next big story in non-English language music’s global ascent? According to the music experts, a good bet would be India. Remember that Indian artists claim four of the Top Five spots on the current global YouTube most-played artist chart. The week before, they enjoyed a clean sweep of the Top Three.
Nielsen recently ran an analysis of the Top 200 most-streamed songs around the world in Q4 2018, across services including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. The most-streamed song globally in the period, with all formats taken into consideration, was lyrically Latin Taki Taki by DJ Snake, Ozuna, Cardi B and Selena Gomez.
The VP of Nielsen Music, Helena Kosinski, revealed at the NYLON Connect event in London last month that English language music made up 67% of this Top 200, followed by Spanish on 18% and Hindi on six percent. Bear in mind that this Top 3 doesn’t count other prominent Indian dialects such as Punjabi and Bengali.
Worldwide trade body IFPI have referred on behalf of 1,300 record labels and launched Global Release Day (GRD). This report unites the music biz’s official weekly launch moment for singles and albums to Fridays across the world.
According to Music Business Worldwide, the gravest fear about the GRD, however, was that it would create a “gradual erosion of local music culture.” This concern was rooted in the idea that, with one unified release date, artists in individual markets would struggle to secure crucial promotional spots on the likes of Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. This, it was posited, would subsequently disintegrate the strength of native artists, while inflating the planet-straddling power of U.S. pop behemoths.
There is no healthier current measure of the world’s music listening tastes than YouTube. The service reaches more than 1.9 billion people every month which is nearly half the planet’s entire internet-connected population. According to IFPI research, 85% of YouTube’s audience uses the service to listen to music, putting the platform’s current music-consuming reach at approximately 1.6 billion people.
Further IFPI data shows that, in 2017, 46% of all global music listening hours on streaming services belonged to YouTube alone more than every single paid and free audio streaming service in the world combined.
In other words, when YouTube’s charts say what’s popular, you better believe it. And, right now, “what’s popular” applies increasingly less to U.S. pop stars.
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