Latinx Heritage Month 2020 may have just wrapped up, but the culture should be celebrated all year round. That’s something that Spotify has been building on for a while now. Their ¡Viva Latino! playlist has well over 10 million followers, and the Baila Reggaeton playlist reached that same milestone this past May. With its eyes on dominating the Latin audio ecosystem, Spotify prides itself on dedicating prime real estate on its digital platform to amplify diverse Latinx voices, both upcoming and established.
Take for instance the Orgullo Afro-Latino playlist, which was created several years ago to spotlight Black Latinx voices throughout a varied community. Apart from always living in Spotify’s Latin epicenter and the Black History is Now hub, the Orgullo Afro-Latino playlist was also prominently featured within their Latinx Heritage Month hub, which centered around the concept of Lo Nuestro es Arte (What’s Ours Is Art). As a long time partner, Spotify understands the importance of highlighting Latinx artists from all walks of life and providing them with a virtual stage where they can showcase their talents and contributions.
In addition to launching a series of partnerships—spanning from intercontinental superstars like Bad Bunny to rising contemporaries like Cazzu—Spotify has administered music initiatives such as the RADAR program for emerging Latin artists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The audio streaming platform has also meticulously curated a multicultural team to take on the U.S. Latin podcast market. This vibrant Spotify team is focused on facilitating podcast development for the U.S. Latinx community by working directly with Latinx creators.
With the objective to become the No. 1 audio streaming and media destination for creators and listeners alike, Spotify has yielded a number of original and exclusive international shows for Latinx audiences. There are more than a few standouts in 2020 alone, such as J Balvin’s “Made in Medellín” in Colombia, “Café da Manhã” in Brazil, “Fausto & Se Regalan Dudas” in Mexico, and “Best Kept Secrets with Lele Pons” in the U.S. Additionally, adaptations have also been a success with Latinx audiences, including “Sonia,” which is based on the popular Gimlet show “Sandra.”
Spotify’s plans to expand and amplify the world of Latin music doesn’t stop at the typical and often overgeneralized “urban” category. It brings to the forefront a Latinx indie focus and genreless portal with playlists such as “Mixto,” “Fuego,” and “Vibras” to help disrupt the status quo when it comes to the Latin soundscape, as well as a regional Mexican playlist syndicate representing a wide array of Mexican subgenres such as corridos and banda.
In celebration of the vast spectrum of Latinx culture, music, and creators that Spotify continues to support, we wanted to take a look back at just a few of the highlights from Spotify’s overarching Latin umbrella. From podcasts to songwriters—both domestic and international—here are a few Latinx playlists and topics highlighted in their Latinx Heritage Month hub that should remain on your radar.
SOUNDS OF LATINX
Dedicated to bridging the sounds of yesteryear and today’s popular songs, Sounds of LatinX fully reps for the cultura, then and now. In the LatinX Forever playlist – for example – rappers like the late Big Pun launches listeners into New York nostalgia, while Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” evokes the pioneering success of radio reggaeton and Bad Bunny’s “MIA” featuring Drake stands as a shining example of the genre’s evolution over the last decade. Sounds of LatinX also houses a series of broad-minded playlists: Vibras, Mixto, Fuego and fem.
THE FUTURE OF LATIN
Composed of the Latin Pop Rising, Regional Mexican Rising, Urbano Rising, LatinX Indie Rising, and Tropical Rising playlists, The Future of Latin is an all-encompassing scope of tomorrow’s voices in Latin music. Chilean-American singer Paloma Mami reps for the up-and-comers in reggaeton, trap and Spanish-language R&B, while Nora González tackles the male-dominated sphere of regional Mexican, and Chicago-born singer-songwriter Tatiana Hazel fronts the Latinx independent circuit. If these artists are any indicator of what’s to come, it’s clear women will continue to climb the totem pole.
PODCASTS WE LOVE
On a mission to take over the Latinx world of podcasting, Spotify’s Podcasts We Love aims to showcase the various ways in which Latinx creators and critics are using the digital space for some much-needed discourse. Housing a plethora of current podcast shows, Podcasts We Love standout programs include the newly launched Con Todo: Brown Love with Netflix (aimed at celebrating the multi-faceted U.S. Latinx experiences); Bag Ladiez (a no-frills and unpretentious look at what’s impacting today’s Latinx communities, spearheaded by two Bronx Dominican entrepreneurs, Estephanie & Lina); and California Love (an intimate look at the City of Angels through a Latinx lens, hosted by author and New York Times writer Walter Thompson-Hernández).
CELEBRATING LATINX SONGWRITERS
Acknowledging the oft-forgotten wizards of hit-making, LatinX Songwriters honors some of Latin music’s brightest wordsmiths. Cuban songwriter and Miami rapper, Eskeerdo is a staple in popular music—including hip-hop and R&B—and represents the brilliance of the Latin diaspora in songs for heavyweights suchs as Maroon Five, Pitbull, and Big Sean. There are also music authors such as Chris Jedi and Gabby Music forging their respective legacies in the genres of Spanish-language trap and reggaeton through their writing for the likes of J Balvin and Ozuna. Bearing in mind the evolving sounds of Afro-Caribbean music and hip-hop’s inherent affinity for remixing, we’re sure to hear from these artists for years to come.
WE LOVE OUR ICONS
An homage to “the ones who paved the way,” We Love Our Icons honors the musical legacies of everyone from Celia Cruz (heralded as the Queen of Salsa) to Selena Quintanilla (the long-established queen of the male-centric genre of tejano music) to Romeo Santos (credited for combining the diasporic elements of hip-hop and bachata music). We Love Our Icons emerges as a playlist haven for both the music purist and new age aficionado.
BEYOND THE MUSIC
Spotify’s Beyond the Music aims to amplify the voices and issues that matter most across Latinx communities today. Playlists like Orgullo Afro-Latino and Raices Indigenas, which include artists like Colombian trio Chocquibtown and Guatemalan singer-songwriter Sara Curruchich, respectively, give voice to the historically underrepresented in popular culture. The likes of reggaeton trailblazer Ivy Queen appear in the Conciencia Collective, which was created to promote awareness about racial and social injustice with the intention to educate our peers through the power of music.