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Daddy Yankee, Shakira help drive Latin music

December 30, 2005

While overall music sales declined in 2005, all things en Espanol continued to rise.

Led by the success of Shakira and Daddy Yankee, Latin music was the only genre to register growth from 2004 into 2005, with figures from Nielsen SoundScan and the Recording Industry Assn. of America reflecting substantial sales jumps.

In terms of star power, reggaeton phenomenon Daddy Yankee seemed unstoppable. The Puerto Rican star ruled six Billboard year-end charts, including Top Latin Album Artist and Top Latin Albums for "Barrio Fino" (El Cartel/VI/Machete).

The widespread influence of Daddy Yankee in particular and reggaeton in general is what made this a landmark year for Latin music.

While radio traditionally is the engine behind hits and movements, it was the other way round with reggaeton, a mix of dancehall, rap and tropical music with a distinctive bass-heavy beat. The sheer weight of the genre's sales forced the hand of radio and labels, leading to the creation of new Latin radio formats (that now fall under the Latin rhythm charts) and urban music divisions at virtually every Latin label.

Elsewhere, pop artist Shakira burst onto the Latin charts after a five-year absence with "Fijacion Oral Vol. 1" (Epic/Sony BMG). The album registered the largest sales week in the United States for a Spanish-language album. She closed the year at No. 1 on the Top Latin Pop Albums chart and the Top Latin Pop Artists recap.

Shakira also broke ground at radio. "La Tortura," a duet with Alejandro Sanz, set a new record for No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs, ruling the chart for more than 21 consecutive weeks. Not surprisingly, "La Tortura" was the No. 1 track of the year on the Hot Latin Songs recap.

The other Latin pop notable was fellow Colombian Juanes, who claims the No. 1 spot on the Hot Latin Songs Artists recap and the Latin Pop Songs Artists chart. His song "La Camisa Negra" is the Latin Pop Songs track of the year.

The backbone of Latin music sales remained albums from regional Mexican artists. Acts such as Grupo Montez De Durango, Patrulla 81, Los Temararios, Los Tigres Del Norte and Conjunto Primavera provided the quiet consistency that supports the Latin music industry in the United States as a whole.

Los Temerarios ruled the Top Regional Mexican Album Artists chart, while Conjunto Primavera topped the Hot Regional Mexican Songs Artists chart, and its track "Hoy Como Ayer" was the No. 1 Hot Regional Mexican Songs title of the year.

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