US Listeners Gravitating to Non-English Music

Streaming is up, with Spanish and K-pop leading the way
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2023 10:40 AM CDT
US Listeners Gravitating to Non-English Music
Bad Bunny personifies the trend.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Is non-English language music the future of the music business? New stats suggest as much, per the AP. The global music industry has surpassed 1 trillion streams at the fastest pace ever in a calendar year, according to Luminate's 2023 Midyear Report. The number was reached in three months, a full month faster than 2022. Global streams are also up 30.8% from last year, reflective of an increasingly international music marketplace. Additionally, Luminate found that two in five—or 40%—of US music listeners enjoy music in a non-English language. And a whopping 69% of US music listeners enjoy music from artists originating outside of the US.

According to the report, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Italian, German, and Arabic are the most popular languages for non-Anglophonic music among US music listeners, with Latin genres and K-pop leading the charge. "Specifically, our streaming data shows that Spanish and Korean language music are the most popular when taking a look at the top 10,000 most streamed songs (audio and video combined) during the first half of 2023," says Jaime Marconette, Luminate's senior director of music insights and industry relations. "Furthermore, Spanish-language music's share of that top 10,000 has grown 3.6% since 2021, while English-language music's share has dropped 4.2% in that same time."

That is reflected in Luminate's 2023 Midyear Top Albums chart, where Bad Bunny 's spring 2022 album Un Verano Sin Ti still breaks the top 10 a year later (the chart factors in a combination of album sales, on-demand audio/visual sales, and digital track sales). When "top albums" are defined by physical and digital sales exclusively, K-pop dominates, taking up six of the top 10 spots. "K-pop fans are, unsurprisingly, some of the most enthusiastic fans across physical formats," Marconette says. Luminate found that K-pop fans are 69% more likely to purchase vinyl and 46% more likely to purchase CDs than the average US music listener in the next 12 months. One in four K-pop fans has purchased a cassette in the last 12 months.

(More music stories.)

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