Only one of Spotify’s Top 5 global artists is American, as J Balvin climbs to No.1

It’s a monumental week for J Balvin.

The Colombian artist has officially become the biggest act Spotify in terms of total monthly listeners, having just overtaken long-time No.1, Drake.

As of today (June 26), Balvin has 48,199,671 monthly listeners on the platform. (This number is monitored each day on a rolling monthly basis.)

Drake, meanwhile, has 47,764,878 monthly Spotify listeners.

This is understandably big news for Team Balvin, especially Universal Music Group – where he is signed for both records and publishing.

Jesus Lopez, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula, said: “J Balvin is demonstrating, in record time, that music in Spanish has no borders.

“The trend of consumption of his music, not only in streaming platforms, but also nightclubs, radio, etc. continues to grow exponentially – penetrating all social backgrounds worldwide.

“At his young age, this Universal Colombian artist is becoming a living legend of our music.”

Balvin’s success is not only emblematic of the rise of Latin pop, however – it also hints at a surprising lack of USA-born superstars in the upper leagues of Spotify’s biggest artists as we stand today.

Here are the Top 12 of those artists, complete with monthly listener count as of today, plus their country of birth.

  1. J Balvin (Colombia) – 48,199,671
  2. Drake (Canada) – 47,764,878
  3. Calvin Harris (UK) – 43,436,361
  4. Dua Lipa (UK) – 43,307,121
  5. Post Malone (USA) – 43,249,056
  6. Ed Sheeran (UK) – 39,510,449
  7. Maroon 5 (USA) – 38,138,590
  8. David Guetta (France) – 37,785,881
  9. Khalid (USA) – 37,021,241
  10. Bad Bunny (Puerto Rico) – 37,017,984
  11. Sia (Australia) – 36,835,626
  12. Kanye West (USA) – 36,269,591

The first thing you might notice: Republic-signed Post Malone is the only American artist in the Top 5 (indeed, the Top 6) of Spotify’s biggest global artists at the moment.

Three of that Top 6 are from the UK (Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran).

In the Top 10 biggest artists, the USA does slightly better, with 30% across Post Malone, Maroon 5 and Khalid.

But one thing’s for sure: when you hear people around this business say that hits, and the artists behind them, can come from anywhere in 2018… they ain’t kidding.

As for J Balvin, according to Spotify’s public-facing data, his most successful five songs today include I Like It (237.7m streams), X (337.3m streams), Downtown (279.7m streams), Sensualidad (278.8m streams) and Familiar (70.7m streams).

Across these five songs alone, that’s more than 1.2bn streams in total.

Using the rough rule of thumb that Spotify pays out $0.005 per stream to industry rightsholders, these five tracks will have netted Team Balvin around $6m so far.

According to Spotify’s FY 2017 financial results, the firm turned over €1.577bn in the US last year – representing 38.6% of its total revenues in the 12 months.Music Business Worldwide

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