In the realm of Latin American urbano music, Latina women are taking center stage in the global music market. Earlier this year, Colombia's Karol G made history on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs charts with her album Mañana Será Bonito. Similarly, Anitta from Brazil has set multiple streaming records, while Rosalía from Spain has become an iconic figure in Latin performances, headlining 2023's Coachella festival. This trend is also consistent in Argentina, where numerous female artists are experiencing remarkable growth, outpacing their male counterparts.
Putting Argentina on the map
Home to several groups who reshaped trap and urbano music in South America, Argentina has long since played an influential role in determining the future of Latin music. Emerging from Quinto Escalón rap battles in the 2010s, artists like Duki, Trueno, Lit Killah, and Paco Amoroso found both an audience and a scene. Concurrently, producers like Bizarrap and Federico Lauría played a pivotal role by providing a platform for these talents through guest spots and collaborations. In 2018, Lauría founded Dale Play Records, a move that proved instrumental in propelling the local music scene to new heights. Today, the influence of trap in Latin urbano Argentinian music has become a standard, and the artists that emerged from this music scene have achieved global success.
Argentina’s most popular artist, Bizarrap, became a juggernaut of Latin urbano music with his BZRP Sessions, further propelling Argentina's scene into the mainstream. Moreover, today’s top 10 Argentinian artists by Chartmetric score all belong to the Latin/urbano genre and have resonated with international audiences, oscillating between 16 million and 25 million Spotify monthly listeners and positioning themselves within the top 500 artists globally as of November 2023.
In the past, this roster was primarily occupied by male artists. Today, it's the female singers who are assuming dominance. Of the top Argentinian artists in November 2023, we can focus on the trajectory of female singers Maria Becerra and Nicki Nicole alongside male artists Tiago PZK and FMK, who all share similar career stages and levels of listenership on Spotify. Over the past four years, the total monthly Spotify listeners of Maria Becerra and Nicki Nicole have been consistently higher than those of their male counterparts.
These four artists began at a comparable level of listenership around 2019, with Nicki taking the lead by 2020. However, both female artists positioned themselves at the forefront since 2021. Nonetheless, the gap has narrowed in recent months, due to the popular collaborations of FMK and Tiago PZK with Emilia and Maria Becerra on tracks like “Los del Espacio,” which peaked at No. 40 on Billboard's Global chart. The Argentine super hit has been celebrated as one of the most remarkable Latin collaborations of all time, providing testament to the power of collective effort in South American markets.
The influence of Latin TikTok
One of the main drivers of the dominance of female Argentinian artists is their TikTok presence, as the app has become one of the main ways younger audiences discover new music. Thus, it is no surprise that artists with higher TikTok reach see heightened streaming numbers, and it is clear that the women of this musical cohort are seeing more success in terms of engagement and following.
Many of these female singers have not only achieved a much wider TikTok presence, but they also succeeded in arriving early to the platform — something that was no coincidence. Argentinian female singers understand the importance of their engagement with audiences in content creation platforms. For this reason, they create their own trends and post them on their personal accounts, many times featuring guest influencers.
One such event was Maria Becerra's “AUTOMÁTICO” challenge, a dance trend using her song by the same title, reaching over 1.5 million likes on TikTok. Moreover, the singer also used TikTok to ignite the virality of her verses in the collaborations “Que Mas Pues” with J Balvin and the megahit “Los del Espacio” with Lit Killah, Duki, and Emilia. In a similar fashion, Nicki Nicole’s “8 AM” hand gestures were replicated by TikTok users all over the world after her successful post by mid 2023, amassing 3.7 million Likes. Finally, “cuatro veinte” by Emilia features signature dance moves which she created at the beginning of 2022 with a TikTok post with almost 2 million Likes.
A music scene based on collaboration
A key aspect of these artists’ success lies in the strategic partnership and collaborations with other artists - an assignment that Nicki Nicole understood clearly. After the success of Chilean mega-hit “Marisola,” Cris MJ and Stars Music Chile remixed the song to include Duki and Nicki Nicole, propelling it to entirely new heights. Nicki’s verse in the song quickly became a TikTok trend, and the snippet ignited over 30k viral posts from influencers in Spain, Argentina, and Mexico.
By the end of 2021, Nicki and Los Angeles Azules released the popular cumbia song “Otra Noche,” establishing the Argentinian singer as an idol in Mexico. Shortly after, Tiago PZK and Lit Killa’s “Entre Nosotros” was remixed with the help of Maria Becerra and Nicki Nicole, reaching Number 1 in Billboard Argentina Top 100. Nicki also collaborated with Puerto Rico's Myke Towers on the “Ella No Es Tuya” remix and with Meixco's corridos tumbados sensation Peso Pluma in the remix of “Por Las Noches,” pulling in new audiences from new Latin fanbases and growing her Spotify monthly listening by nearly 20 million over the two year period.
Another revolutionary Argentine collaboration was Tini’s and Maria Becerra’s 2021 mega-hit “Miénteme.” The song quickly became an instant triumph, which was reinforced by a TikTok choreographic trend posted jointly by the two singers, reaching 1 million posts in 150 days. Compared to other singles released by both artists, the success of “Miénteme” resulted in much steeper, long-lasting growth.
As we can see, collaborations are at the core of the strategy of many female Argentinian artists. Other big projects include Emilia’s “como si no importara” with Duki, “intoxicao” with Nicki Nicole, and “En La Intimidad” with Big One and Callejero Fino. To no surprise, the verses of Maria Becerra and Emilia became viral moments on TikTok, sparking dance trends and fostering influencers worldwide to use those specific snippets for new content.
Around 40-50% of the top Argentinian female artists’ TikTok audience is female and between the ages of 18-24. On Instagram, the audience outlook is similar to in terms of gender and age range, with the exception of Nicki Nicole who has a much larger male audience on this platform.
This audience goes beyond the artists’ home country. Currently, the four biggest markets for consumers of Argentinian urbano music are Mexico, Spain, the United States and Argentina. These four territories combined account for an average of 45% of the total Spotify monthly listeners of the leading female Argentinian artists. Argentina only accounts for 6-12% of the total Spotify listeners for the mentioned singers. Meanwhile, Spain and Mexico have become the top geographic regions, accounting for an average 30% of total Spotify monthly listeners.
However, music consumption in most Spanish-speaking countries is YouTube-based rather than through on-demand streaming platforms. Looking at the YouTube audience, the countries that concentrate viewership for Maria Becerra, Nicki Nicole, and Tini are Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. These 4 countries represent 75% of YouTube monthly viewers for Maria Becerra and 70% for both Nicki Nicole and Tini.
Argentina is the top territory in YouTube viewership for the top Argentinian female artists, representing over 40%. Moreover, Peru and Mexico represent 16%-22% of YouTube monthly viewers, suggesting those are the two most YouTube-intensive music markets, besides Argentina, for Maria Becerra, Nicki Nicole, and Tini. Finally, Spain represents only 4-6% of YouTube viewership.
The future is female
The surging success of female Argentinian urbano artists has become a worldwide phenomenon that can compete with the top Latin artists globally. Their savviness to harvest the benefits from social media has been fundamental for their achievements, especially through TikTok, allowing them to reach larger audiences than their male counterparts.
At the moment, these women show no sign of slowing down. Becoming increasingly vital to the Latin music landscape, their ability to create exciting and innovative music and collaborate with big names has played a pivotal role in elevating Argentinian urbano music to a global scale. As they enter the North American and European markets, their growth on streaming platforms continues to strengthen, while their presence on Spanish-dominated video services like YouTube proves unwavering. With all signs pointing forward, it's clear that the future of Argentinian music is female.
Graphics by Sarah Kloboves and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Nov. 8, 2023.