Latin music

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Latin music (Portuguese and Spanish : música latina) is a genre used by the music industry as a catch-all term for music that comes from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking areas of the world, namely Ibero America and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as music sung in either language. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Music industry companies and individuals that create and sell music and make money off of sales

The music industry consists of the companies and individuals that earn money by creating new songs and pieces and selling live concerts and shows, audio and video recordings, compositions and sheet music, and the organizations and associations that aid and represent music creators. Among the many individuals and organizations that operate in the industry are: the songwriters and composers who create new songs and musical pieces; the singers, musicians, conductors and bandleaders who perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music and/or sheet music ; and those that help organize and present live music performances.


Terminology and categorizations

Deborah Pacini Hernández noted that due to the majority of Latino immigrants living in New York City mostly being of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent and the area being dominant in the music industry during the 1950s, "Latin music" had been stereotyped as music simply originating from the Spanish Caribbean. She also observed that even the popularization of bossa nova and Herb Alpert's Mexican-influenced sounds in the 1960s did little to change the perceived image of Latin music. [4] Since then, the music industry classifies all music sung in Spanish or Portuguese as Latin music, including musics from Spain and Portugal. [4]

Bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music, which was developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s and is today one of the best-known Brazilian music styles abroad. The phrase bossa nova means literally "new trend" or "new wave". A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following in the 1960s, initially among young musicians and college students.

Herb Alpert North american musician

HerbAlpert is an American jazz musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, or TJB. Alpert is also a recording industry executive, the "A" of A&M Records, a recording label he and business partner Jerry Moss founded and eventually sold to PolyGram. Alpert also has created abstract expressionist paintings and sculpture over two decades, which are publicly displayed on occasion. Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, are substantial philanthropists through the operation of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Following protests from Latinos in New York, a category for Latin music was created by National Recording Academy (NARAS) for the Grammy Awards titled Best Latin Recording in 1975. [8] Enrique Fernandez wrote on Billboard that the single category for Latin music meant that all Latin music genres had to compete with each other despite the distinct sounds of the genre. He also noted that the accolade was mostly given to performers of tropical music. Eight years later, the organization debuted three new categories for Latin music: Best Latin Pop Performance, Best Mexican/Mexican-American Performance, and Best Tropical Latin Performance. [9] Latin pop is a catch-all for any pop music sung in Spanish, while Mexican/Mexican-American (also to referred to as Regional Mexican) is based any musical style originating from Mexico or influences by its immigrants in the United States including Tejano, and tropical music focuses any music from the Spanish Caribbean. [10]

The Recording Academy U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals

The Recording Academy is an American learned academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals. It is famous for its Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

The Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording was presented from 1976 to 1983. Starting from 1984 the Latin field was expanded to Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album, Best Tropical Performance and Best Mexican/Mexican American Performance.

In 1997, NARAS established the Latin Recording Academy (LARAS) in an effort to expand its operations in both Latin America and Spain. [11] On September 2000, LARAS launched the Latin Grammy Awards, a separate award ceremony from the Grammy Awards, which organizers stated that the Latin music universe was too large to fit on the latter awards. Michael Greene, former head of NARAS, said that the process of creating the Latin Grammy Awards was complicated due to the diverse Latin musical styles, noting that the only thing they had in common was language. As a result, the Latin Grammy Awards are presented to records performed in Spanish or Portuguese, [12] while the organization focuses on music from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. [13]

Latin Grammy Award accolade by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences of the United States

A Latin Grammy Award is an award by The Latin Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the Latin music industry. The Latin Grammy honors works produced anywhere around the world that were recorded in either Spanish or Portuguese and is awarded in the United States. Submissions of products recorded in regional languages from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula of Hispanophone or Lusophone countries such as Catalan, Guarani, Quechua may also be considered. Both the regular Grammy Award and the Latin Grammy Award have similar nominating and voting processes, in which the selections are decided by peers within the Latin music industry.

Michael Harris Greene is an American retired actor who was active from the 1960s through the 1990s.

Since the late 1990s, the United States has had a substantially rising population of "Latinos", [14] a term popularized since the 1960s due to the wrong and confusing use of the term "Spanish" and the more proper but less popular term "Hispanic". [15] The music industry in the United States started to refer to any kind of music featuring Spanish vocals as "Latin music". [16] [17] [18] Under this definition, Spanish sung in any genre is categorized as "Latin". [19] In turn, this has also led to artists from Spain being labelled as "Latin" as they sing in the same language. [20]

Spaniards, or the Spanish people, are the citizens of Spain. According to another point of view, Spaniards are a European nation indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula. Within Spain, there are a number of nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history and diverse culture. Although the official language of Spain is commonly known as "Spanish", it is only one of the national languages of Spain, and is less ambiguously known as Castilian, a standard language based on the medieval romance speech of the Kingdom of Castile in north and central Spain. Historically, the Spanish people's heritage includes the pre-Celts and Celts.

The term Hispanic refers to the people that originate from, or reside on, a former Spanish Empire viceroyalty.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Billboard magazine use this definition of Latin music to track sales of Spanish-language records in the United States. [21] [22] The RIAA initiated the "Los Premios de Oro y Platino" ("The Gold and Platinum Awards" in Spanish) in 2000 to certify sales of Latin music albums and singles under a different threshold than its standard certifications. [23] Billboard divides its Latin music charts into three subcategories: Latin pop, Regional Mexican, and tropical. [24] A fourth subcategory was eventually added in the mid 2000s to address the rise of Latin urban music genres such as Latin hip hop and reggaeton. [25]

Recording Industry Association of America Trade organization representing the recording industry in the U.S.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Latin hip hop or Latin rap is hip hop music recorded by Latin American artists in the U.S. and Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.



The term "Latin music" originated from the US due to the growing influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the American music market, with notable pioneers including Xavier Cugat (1940s) and Tito Puente (1950s) and then accelerating in later decades. [2] [3] As one author explained the rising popularity from the 1940s: "Latin America, the one part of the world not engulfed in World War II, became a favorite topic for songs and films for Americans who wanted momentarily to forget about the conflagration." [26] Wartime propaganda for America's "Good Neighbor Policy" further enhanced the cultural impact. [27] Pérez Prado is the composer of such famous pieces as "Mambo No. 5" and "Mambo No. 8". At the height of the mambo movement in 1955, Pérez hit the American charts at number one with a cha-cha-chá version of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" [28] .


The Brazilian bossa nova became widespread in Latin America and later became an international trend, led especially by Antônio Carlos Jobim. [29] Rock en español became popular with the younger generation of Latinos in Latin America, [30] notably including Argentine bands such as Almendra. [31] Mexican-American Latin rock guitarist Carlos Santana began his decades of popularity. [32]


Spanish singer Julio Iglesias was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the best-selling male Latin artist of all time in 2013. Julio Iglesias (Spanje), Bestanddeelnr 923-3697.jpg
Spanish singer Julio Iglesias was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the best-selling male Latin artist of all time in 2013.

Salsa music became the dominant genre of tropical music in the 1970s. Fania Records was credited for popularizing salsa music, with acts such as Rubén Blades, Héctor Lavoe, and Celia Cruz expanding the audience. [34] In the late 1970s, an influx of balladeers from Spain such as Julio Iglesias, Camilo Sesto, and Raphael established their presence on the music charts both in Latin America and the US Latin market. [35] In 1972, OTI Festival was established by the Organización de Telecomunicaciones de Iberoamérica as a songwriting contest to connect the Ibero-American countries (Latin America, Spain, and Portugal) together. Ramiro Burr of Billboard noted that the contest was considered to be the "largest and most prestigious songwriting festival in the Latin music world". [36]


In the 1980s, the Latin ballad continued to be the main form of Latin pop music, with Juan Gabriel, José José, Julio Iglesias, Roberto Carlos, and José Luis Rodríguez dominating the charts. [37] Salsa music lost some traction, and its musical style changed to a slower rhythm with more emphasis on romantic lyrics. This became known as the salsa romantica era. [38]


Bolero music saw a resurgence of popularity with the younger audience. Mexican singer Luis Miguel was credited for the renewed interest due to the success of his album, Romance (1991), a collection of classics covered by the artist. [39] By the mid-1990s, Latin pop music was dominated by younger artists such as Menudo alumnus Ricky Martin, Colombian teen Shakira, and Julio's son Enrique Iglesias. [40] Around the same time, artists from Italy such as Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini, and Nek successfully crossed over to the Latin music field by recording Spanish-language versions of their songs. [41] In the Regional Mexican field, Tejano became the most prominent genre. Selena helped push Tejano music into the mainstream market with her albums Entre a Mi Mundo (1992) and Amor Prohibido (1994), although the genre's popularity declined following her death in 1995. [42] In the tropical music field, merengue, which gained attention in the 1980s, rivaled salsa in popularity. [43]


In the mid-2000s, reggaeton became popular in the mainstream market, with Tego Calderon, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin & Yandel considered to be the frontiers of the genre. [44] In the tropical music scene, bachata music became popular in the field, with artists such as Monchy & Alexandra and Aventura finding success in the urban areas of Latin America. [45] Banda was the dominant genre in the Regional Mexican music field. [46]


By the turn of the decade, the Latin music field became dominated by up-tempo rhythms, including electropop, reggaeton, urbano, banda and contemporary bachata music, as Latin ballads and crooners fell out of favor among U.S. Latin radio programmers. [47] Streaming has become the dominant form of revenue in the Latin music industry in the United States, Latin America and Spain. [48] Latin trap gained mainstream attention in the mid-2010s with notable artists such as Ozuna, Bad Bunny, and Anuel AA. [49]

See also

Related Research Articles

Regional Mexican is a Latin music radio format, typically including Banda, Conjunto, Corridos, Duranguense, Grupero, Huapango, Mariachi, New Mexico music, Norteña, Ranchera, and Tejano music. It is the most popular radio format targeting Hispanic Americans in the United States.

<i>Amor Prohibido</i> 1994 studio album by Selena

Amor Prohibido is the fourth studio album by American singer Selena, released on March 13, 1994, by EMI Latin. Having reached a core fan base, the label aimed to broaden her appeal with the next studio release. Finding it challenging to write a follow-up hit after "Como la Flor" (1992), Selena's brother A. B. Quintanilla enlisted the assistance from band members Ricky Vela and Pete Astudillo with writing the album's songs. The resulting album has a more mature sound featuring experimental production that blends diverse musical styles from ranchera to hip-hop music. Amor Prohibido is a Tejano cumbia album modernized with a synthesizer-rich delivery using a minimalist style that was quintessential in early 1990s Tejano music.

<i>Real</i> (Ivy Queen album) 2004 studio album by Ivy Queen

Real is the fourth studio album by Puerto Rican reggaetón recording artist Ivy Queen, released on November 21, 2004, by Universal Music Latino. Initially to be Queen's debut full-length English-language studio album, it featured collaborations with hip hop and fellow reggaetón artists Hector El Father, Fat Joe, Getto & Gastam, La India, Gran Omar and Mickey Perfecto. The album was primarily produced by Rafi Mercenario, and included guest production by American producer Swizz Beatz, Puerto Rican producers Ecko, Noriega, Monserrate and DJ Nelson. The executive producers were Goguito "Willy" Guadalupe, Gran Omar and Queen.

<i>Vivo</i> (Luis Miguel album) 2000 live album and Video by Luis Miguel

Vivo is the third live album by Mexican singer Luis Miguel. It was filmed at the Auditorio Coca-Cola concert hall in Monterrey, Mexico, where Miguel performed from 13 to 17 April 2000, as part of the second leg of his Amarte Es Un Placer Tour. Vivo was released in a live audio CD, DVD and VHS format. Vivo is the first Spanish-language live album to be released on NTSC, PAL, and DVD formats. The audio version was produced by Miguel while David Mallet directed the video album. The audio disc was released on 3 October 2000, while the video album was released on 24 October. Miguel's renditions of "Y" and "La Bikina", which he specifically performed during the concert shows in Mexico where he was joined by Cutberto Pérez's band Mariachi 2000, made available as singles for the album.

Universal Music Latin Entertainment American record label; record company, division of Universal Music Group

Universal Music Latin Entertainment, a division of Universal Music Group (Vivendi), is a record company specialized in producing and distributing Latin Music in Mexico, United States and Puerto Rico. UMLE includes famous Latin music labels such as Universal Music Latino, Fonovisa Records, Universal Music Mexico, Capitol Latin, Machete Music and Disa Records.

Tropical Albums is a record chart published by Billboard magazine. Established in June 1985, the chart compiles information about the top-selling albums in genres like salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, and vallenato, which are frequently considered tropical music. The chart features only full-length albums and, like all Billboard album charts, is based on sales. The information is compiled by Nielsen SoundScan from a sample representing more than 90% of the U.S. music retail market, including not only music stores and music departments at electronics and department stores but also direct-to-consumer transactions and Internet sales. A limited number of verifiable sales at concert venues is also tabulated. Innovations by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico was the first album to reach number-one in the chart. Up until May 21, 2005, reggaeton albums appeared on the chart. After the installation of the Latin Rhythm Albums chart, reggaeton titles could no longer appear on the Tropical Albums chart. By removing reggaeton albums from the Tropical Albums chart, it opened slots for re-entries and debuts. American bachata group Aventura claimed the top spot on the Tropical Albums chart, which marked the first time since the issue dated November 6, 2004 that an reggaeton album was not at the number-one spot.

No Me Digas Que No 2010 single by Enrique Iglesias and Wisin & Yandel

"No Me Digas Que No" is a song performed by Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias taken from his first bilingual studio album, Euphoria. It was produced by Carlos Paucar and Reggaeton producers Nesty "La Mente Maestra" and Victor "El Nasi". It featured Reggaeton Duó Wisin & Yandel. It was released digitally on 22 June 2010 as the second promotional Spanish single. The song hit the radio stations officially on 19 October 2010. It is the third collaborations between the artists after the remix versions of Lloro Por Tí and Gracias a Ti. The song peaked at number-one on the US Billboard Hot Latin Songs, becoming Enrique's twenty-second song to peak at number-one on the charts.

Latin Rhythm Albums is a record chart published by Billboard magazine. Like all Billboard album charts, the chart is based on sales, which are compiled by Nielsen SoundScan based on sales data from merchants representing more than 90 percent of the U.S. music retail market. The sample includes sales at music stores, the music departments of electronics and department stores, direct-to-consumer transactions, and Internet sales of physical albums or digital downloads. A limited array of verifiable sales from concert venues is also tabulated. The chart is composed of studio, live, and compilation releases by Latin artists performing in the Latin hip hop, urban, dance and reggaeton, the most popular Latin Rhythm music genres. It joins the main Latin Albums chart along with its respective genre components: the Latin Pop Albums, Tropical Albums, and Regional Mexican Albums charts.

The Billboard Latin Music Award for Reggaeton Song of the Year was an honor that was presented annually at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, a ceremony which honors "the most popular albums, songs, and performers in Latin music, as determined by the actual sales, radio airplay, streaming and social data that informs Billboard's weekly charts."

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Further reading