2022 not only saw the Encanto soundtrack (the second best-selling digital album of last year, with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” being the most downloaded single on streaming platforms) have a huge impact on the genre and the music industry as a whole last year, but also Bad Bunny’s hugely successful album “Un Verano Sin Ti”.
Bad Bunny grew up in the midst of reggaeton’s first mainstream moment. San Juan, Daddy Yankee, and Ivy Queen played a crucial role in the genre’s development, and of course, his own. As a teenager, he became a huge fan of reggaeton and Latin music, and named himself Bad Bunny after a childhood photo of himself in a bunny costume. He started recording and uploading songs to Soundcloud from his childhood bedroom, and his first hit, “Diles”, exploded at the age of 21, and he quickly signed a deal with Hear This Music. It didn’t take long for his big break, two years later in 2018, when he debuted to the world alongside J Balvin in Cardi B’s mega-hit, the Grammy-nominated “I Like It”, and later that year, he teamed up with superstar Drake. He made history with his second album in 2020 (YHLQMDLG), which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and became the most successful album ever released in Spanish on the charts. It wasn’t long before the next material. The fourth album, “El Último Tour Del Mundo”, combined reggaeton and Latin trap sounds with rock music, and the album became the first Spanish-language album to reach number one on the Billboard 200. And what is Bad Bunny’s secret? Maybe it’s that Benito just wants to do what he wants, or “hace lo que le da la gana”, as he called his second album. And it is precisely this mentality that has brought him unprecedented success. He certainly refuses to conform to the mainstream. Like Rosalia, his originality, independence and strong, distinctive local outlook have made him a radically new kind of global pop star, bypassing the industry trends of New York or Hollywood. While other musicians on his level of caution have hidden certain parts of themselves, Benito has refused to compromise on anything: the language he sings in; the political stance he takes; and of course, the clothes, or even the nail polish, he prefers to wear.
Bad Bunny wanted to be the world’s greatest artist – and he came very close to achieving that goal. He has achieved this by not releasing a single song in English, and not even really trying to cross over. Of course, there have been previous examples of Latin artists having hit songs in Spanish, such as Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” in 1958, Los Del Río’s 1993 hit “Macarena”, or more recently Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito”, which became the most viewed video on YouTube in 2017 and remains to this day with 8.11 billion views. In each case, however, the world’s huge interest quickly plummeted. For Bad Bunny, however, it’s a different story, responding with record after record: last year, his fifth solo studio album “Un Verano Sin Ti” became the most successful album of the year worldwide (including the US), overtaking big names like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. With $435 million in earnings, he broke the record for touring earnings in a calendar year, and for the third year in a row, he’s Spotify’s most streamed artist.
Celebrity Net Worth currently estimates his net worth at $40 million, and Forbes magazine has put him on its list of the world’s highest-paid artists, with his latest tour, the World Hottest Tour, commanding more than $1 million per show. There is no doubt that today Bad Bunny is one of the most popular and successful artists in the world. The singer’s impact on music will not be lost in 2023, when he will become the first Latin artist to headline the 2023 Coachella music festival.