- Big names in Latin music like Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Nicky Jam, and others criticized the Latin Grammys for not nominating urbano artists in the show’s main categories.
- While some have said this highlights the Latin Recording Academy’s long-running bias against urban music, others say urbano artists should take some responsibility for the lack of nominations since many are admittedly not registered Latin Grammy voters.
- The Latin Grammy’s responded by inviting the artists to “get involved with the Academy” and its voting process.
Some of today’s most popular Spanish-language artists slammed the Latin Recording Academy this week, pointing to the lack of urbano artists nominated in the main categories of the 2019 Latin Grammys.
The latest nominees were announced on Tuesday, which Academy President and CEO Gabriel Abaroa Jr. described as a “talented and diverse” representation of acts from across Latin America and the Iberian peninsula.
However, many were disappointed to see that several of the biggest urbano artists were excluded from nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.
The urbano genre essentially encompasses various styles like reggaeton, Latin hip-hop, dancehall, trap, and more. There is no doubt that urbano music has reached a greater audience in recent years with both solo projects and crossover collaborations. In fact, a report on the Grammy’s official website even notes that in 2018, urban Latin music dominated streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. That same year, YouTube released its list of most-viewed videos, with eight of its top 10 being Spanish-language songs.
Critics say the lack of inclusion points to what they call the organization’s longstanding bias against urban music. While the reggaeton industry has voiced their concerns before, they decided to come together and do so much more prominently this year.
Urbano Musicians Speak Out
Artists like Daddy Yankee, J. Balvin, Nicky Jam, and others have taken to social media to share the message: “Sin reggaeton no hay Latin Grammy,” which means “Without reggaeton, there are no Latin Grammys.”
J Balvin did actually earn a nomination for Best Urban Song, while Daddy Yankee scored a nomination for Best Urban Fusion/ Performance, however, the two still think the Academy could do more to honor their peers in major categories.
“Despite being nominated, I don’t agree with the way they treated the genre and a lot of my colleagues,” Daddy Yankee wrote on Instagram in Spanish. “Remember one very important thing: Their platform was not the one that created this movement. This goes beyond a prize. This is culture, credibility, relevance, and RESPECT.”
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A pesar de estar nominado, no estoy de acuerdo de la manera que trataron al género y a mucho de mis colegas. Recuerden una cosa muy importante, su plataforma no fue la que creó este movimiento. Esto va más allá de un premio. Esto es cultura, credibilidad, pertinencia y RESPETO. #sinreggaetonnohaylatingrammy
Karol G, who actually won Best New Artist last year but did not earn a single nomination this year, said, “I want to make my support of [Daddy Yankee’s] words clear, independently from being nominated or not, without offending those who are nominated because it’s a moment they’ve worked hard for and deserve it.”
“I still feel the need to support this movement since it’s the only way to make a call that the academy, in the next few years, be more inclusive with a genre that works, is strong, revolutionizes and represents with big accomplishments for our Latin community across the world.”
Many have also pointed to Ozuna as another example of how urbano success isn’t translating over to the award show. The global megastar was just awarded four Guinness World Records for achievements like most videos to reach one billion views on YouTube and most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. But this year, the artist’s only Latin Grammy nomination was in the Best Urban Song category. Ozuna has not commented or joined in on the urbano movement at this time as he is currently off of Instagram to focus on his upcoming album.
Latin Grammy’s Respond
In response to the social media call outs, the Latin Grammy’s released a statement on Wednesday saying, “The Latin Recording Academy has followed a strict voting process for the past 20 years. The members, through their votes, select what they believe merits a nomination.”
“The Academy has never influenced their decisions, have always honored, and respected their elections, even if there are people who do not agree with the results,” the statement continued.
“Nevertheless, we hear the frustration and discontent. We invite the leaders of the urban community to get involved with the Academy, to get involved with the process, and to get involved with discussions that improve the Academy. At its core, The Latin Recording Academy belongs to its members, from all genres, and our doors are always open. Together we can all make it work. Let’s do it!”
The response hits on a note that some of the Academy’s defenders have also argued. Some say that urbano artists need to take some of the responsibility for the lack of inclusion since many of their biggest stars have admitted they are not registered Latin Grammy voters.
Others say many independent labels and producers don’t understand the process of submitting a product or becoming a voter, however, at this point, it seems that both parties would like to address the issue to improve diversity in the future. Whether or not that actually happens will be interesting to see ahead of next year’s show.
As for now, the Latin Grammy Awards are set to take place on November 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.
Olivia Rodrigo Smashes Records with “drivers license”
- Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “drivers license” has set multiple records on Spotify, becoming both the most streamed song in one day for non-holiday music and the most streamed song in a week.
- It also has become the most globally requested song on Alexa in one day on Amazon Music.
- After its Jan. 8 release, the song became a trending audio on TikTok. Since TikTok’s rise to popularity, the app has helped many songs reach viral success at lightning speed.
“driver’s license” Breaks Records
At just 17-year-old, Olivia Rodrigo is smashing records with her new single “drivers license” after debuting the tune on Jan. 8.
On Friday, Spotify announced the single set the record for most streams in a week. Prior to this, it set the record for most streams on the platform in one day for a non-holiday song.
As of Monday morning, the song has over 125 million plays on Spotify. According to Pop Crave, it was also the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on the popular music service.
Over on Amazon Music, “drivers license” became the most globally requested song on Alexa in a single day. It also became the biggest global streaming debut on the site.
Song Goes Viral on TikTok
Rodrigo is best known for her role as Nini on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” She has also appeared in a variety of other Disney projects where she showcased her singing and songwriting capabilities. In “drivers license,” she croons about using the newly minted independence her license affords her to mourn a recent breakup.
The pop ballad has become a popular audio on TikTok. Many use it for dances, to discuss the possibility that Rodrigo wrote it about her co-star Joshua Bassett, or to just wallow in its lyrics. It has been used by some of the app’s most popular creators, including Charli D’Amelio.
Its success on the platform has likely contributed to its success on streaming platforms and charts. The app has had an immeasurable impact on the music industry by helping songs and artists reach the mainstream at lightning speed. Hits like “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X first found a home on TikTok before breaking records on the billboard charts.
Rodrigo has been happy and surprised to see her song perform so well and be so positively received.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this,” she wrote on Instagram after learning that “drivers license” was the number one song on global iTunes charts. “thank u guys so much for listening. I can’t believe this is real life.”