Is Singing in English Still the Gateway to Global Stardom?

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Gone are the days when artists had to write and sing in English to break out on the global music scene. A good reference would be the kind of songs that generate and attract heat and buzz from all races on the entertainment platform, TikTok.

The arguments

Mexican singers Peso Pluma, Eslabon Armado, Junior H and Fuerza Regida were the evidence to back the growing phenomenon of songs written in foreign languages apart from English taking over global music when each of the stated artistes accumulated more than 1 billion streams from young American listeners. They had a representation of 3.8% streams.

Despite this feat by the Spanish-speaking singers, English songs still gained ground with 54.9% of the top 10,000 global tracks in 2023.

Following the Spanish songs closely are Hindi songs which have a representation of 7%, Korean songs; a representation of 2.4% and Japanese songs with a representation of 2.1%.

The above-stated figures are not surprising when the American wing of “Army”, the official fan club of K-pop stars, BTS have recorded some of the craziest acts and show of love by rebuying, resharing and restreaming the debut songs of the boy band to the top of global music charts after their disbandment in 2023.

American Gen Z and millennials alike argue that the new taste for foreign songs is a way of experiencing and exploring “new cultures and perspectives.”

Before I forget, Afrobeat; the reigning sound in Africa has some European listeners hooked! Afrobeat listening increased by 26.2% in 2023. Surprisingly, music lovers from the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, France and Luxembourg streamed Afrobeat the most in 2023. This promises a better and higher outlook come the 2024 year-end report.

The facts

The 2023 year-end musical report was released by Luminate and wow, the love and the yearning for songs sung in different languages apart from English among US listeners significantly shot up.

The 2023 report reveals a growing interest in Spanish and Japanese songs among listeners in the United States of America. Subsequently, the love for English songs went down by 4.8% in 2023 unlike in 2022.

The 2023 music streaming business outshone that of 2022 when the industry recorded a record 4 trillion streams. A significant increment that represents a 34% rise in music streaming platforms.

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