When the world went into lockdown, the United States opened up to music in Spanish. Part of the planetary success of the Puerto Rican Bad Bunny lies in the pandemic. By the end of 2020, the musician had released three albums : YHLQMDLG , Las que no iban a salir and El último tour del mundo . When everyone began to leave their homes, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, which is his real name, was already a phenomenon. In 2021 he became the most listened to artist on Spotify, with more than 9,000 million reproductions, without having released a new album. His fame only got bigger with the arrival of A Summer Without You,an album that catapulted him on two international tours with 81 dates, in which he raised more than 435 million dollars in one year (393 million euros), breaking a 2018 record held by Ed Sheeran. With these letters of introduction, Bad Bunny is the headliner of Coachella, the most important festival in the United States, which starts this Friday in the Californian desert and will last until Sunday, April 23.
Music in Spanish is growing and its income already represents 7% of the total sales of the US industry, the highest figure in history. In 2022, it generated 1,100 million dollars (995 million euros) in that country, 24% more than the previous year. The record comes, above all, due to the expansion of reggaeton , urban genres and what they call the Mexican regional (a category of the Grammy Awards invented in 2013 that includes banda, norteña and Tejano music).
Spanish will not only be heard in this edition of Coachella thanks to Bad Bunny. In addition, Rosalía will measure her popularity against the Blackpink quartet on Saturday night, which made history in 2019 by becoming the first K-Pop group to perform at Coachella.
Latino artists have been present at Coachella since its first edition, in 1999. The Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles, who had David Byrne, from the Talking Heads, among their first fans, were in that first lineup. The new genres have been displacing rock and pop. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, one of the oldest Argentine groups, will perform for the first time. They will do it on Sunday at 2.30 in the afternoon.
Other Latinos have already made Coachella their second home. Becky G, a Los Angeles singer born into a Mexican-American family, will perform Friday afternoon on the main stage. At the age of 26, the young woman began working as a child as a voice actress and singing R&B songs that she later uploaded to YouTube. A record company signed her when she was 14 years old. A decade ago, Becky G sang at Coachella with some Monterrey DJs. Last year she did it with the Colombian Karol G , who has become a world figure. Both sang Mamiii , a song that entered the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 list and earned Becky G a Latin Grammy nomination for best urban genre song (Titi asked me won ) .The Colombian Kali Uchis will also perform on Sunday in her return to Coachella (she was in 2018).
Among the new faces that will be presented to the festival audience is the Puerto Rican Eladio Carrión —he has just released 3MEN2 KBRN (read it sounds like “tremendous bastard”)—, which will possibly become one of the most listened to trap albums of the year thanks to his collaborations with Lil Wayne, Future, 50 Cent and Bad Bunny. Despite having released it less than a month ago, his songs have already accumulated several million views.
This is one of the Coachella editions with the greatest variety of artists. In addition to Bad Bunny, who had already sung at the festival in 2019, the aforementioned Korean band Blackpink will perform, closing the Saturday program, and rapper Frank Ocean, who does so on Sunday. It is the first edition in which none of the main artists are white. The organizers were about to break that barrier in 2020, when they announced Ocean himself, Travis Scott and Rage Against The Machine, but the coronavirus forced the cancellation of that edition. It’s what makes Ocean’s appearance on Sunday so highly anticipated. It will be the first concert in six years for the elusive Channel Orange and Blonde auteur .
Coachella will bring together 125,000 people in its six dates (the programming that starts this Friday will be repeated on April 21, 22 and 23 and will be broadcast on YouTube). The appointment will be in Indio, a community 215 kilometers east of Los Angeles. In the 1970s, the valley was agricultural territory where Latino immigrants grew grapes in a semi-desert climate. The abuses suffered by vineyard workers, who died on average at age 49 from their exposure to pesticides and earned paltry wages, brought legendary activist César Chávez to the area, who fought to unionize them.
That is in the past. Coachella is today the pilgrimage site for the largest pop festival in the United States, which takes place on a polo field and whose cheapest ticket costs $500, a price that can rise to $6,000 with accommodation and VIP treatment. The brand is owned by Goldenvoice, a company that is part of the conglomerate of Philip Anschutz, a conservative tycoon based in Denver, whose fortune is around 10,000 million dollars, according to the list of Forbes magazine . Coachella earns more than $114 million each year, making it one of the most profitable in the world.