Luis Fonsi

A game-changing hit from Latin America to the world

Despacito by Luis Fonsi was the song of 2017. Sometimes these things are subjective. In this instance, there can be no argument.

By April 2018, the original and the Justin Bieber-featuring remix had been streamed 7.5 billion times between them, including 1.9 billion times on Spotify and 5.6 billion views on YouTube.

A Spanish language urban-pop track from a Puerto Rican artist who was relatively unknown outside Spain and Latin America topped the charts in 47 countries worldwide.

Universal’s involvement with Fonsi, however, is not a story of overnight success. The company has worked with the artist for over 15 years and has played an important role in building a career that has delivered several number one albums in Latin American territories and on Billboard’s Latin chart in the US.

Jesús López, Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula, says: “We worked on Despacito for a year before it was released: we chose the producer, we knocked on Daddy Yankee’s door, we shot the video and we made sure that it was the first Latin single released in 2017.

“We played a key role in the entire A&R process and execution of the marketing campaign. After release, we were able to help bring about Justin Bieber’s involvement, which pushed it to another level globally.” López adds that being reactive enough to rapidly incorporate the Bieber-featuring remix into the ongoing campaign was crucial: “Justin jumped on the record in a key moment during the campaign. The Justin Bieber remix was recorded on a Tuesday and released that Sunday.

“The democratisation of consumption and the instantaneous transparency that streaming provides allowed us to detect and track the performance of the song and to position Despacito in each market according to its needs and timings.”

López sees the amazing success as a true team effort: “All of Universal Music worked to make this happen and our partnership with Republic Records was strategically key to this release.”

Fonsi followed Despacito with Echame La Culpa, a duet with Demi Lovato. It went to number one in 14 markets. He has just finished an 81-date world tour and has a number of global sponsorship deals.

One big hit makes a very big difference. That has always been true, of course, but now, more than ever before, that hit can come from anywhere and go everywhere.


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