Updated 1 year, 2 months ago

2015: The Year in Latin Music

In 2015, the Latin music market welcomed some new names to the top of the Billboard charts, while established stars continued to dominate the lists. Meanwhile, two songs became the top longest-running No. 1s in Hot Latin Songs history, and one artist crossed a record-breaking 100 weeks on the chart.

Romeo Santos finishes 2015 as the Top Latin Artist, bolstered by the success of his Formula: Vol. 2 album (the No. 2 year-end top Latin album) and multiple hit singles on Hot Latin Songs. Two of those cuts -- “Propuesta Indecente” and “Hilito” -- rank at No. 2 and 3, respectively, on the year-end Hot Latin Songs list.

“Propuesta Indecente,” which spent four weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Hot Latin Songs chart way back in 2013, ranks so high on the year-end 2015 chart thanks to the track’s sustained chart performance: It has yet to leave the chart after a record 124 weeks (and counting, through the Dec. 19-dated list). Steady streams of the single have kept the song on the list for such a lengthy amount of time.

Ahead of Santos on the Hot Latin Songs recap is Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias’ “El Perdon.” It spent 30 weeks at No. 1 on the weekly chart, making it the second-longest running chart-topper since the list launched in 1986. The only song to spend longer at No. 1 is another Iglesias track: “Bailando,” which ruled for 41 weeks in 2014 and 2015.

“El Perdon” broke Nicky Jam into the mainstream, earning the Puerto Rican reggaeton act his first Billboard Hot 100 hit (reaching No. 56) and helped him to finish as the No. 5 top Latin artist.

The Top Latin Album of the year belonged to a returning icon: Juan Gabriel. His Los Duo leads the year-end tally, while he finishes as the No. 2 top Latin artist.

Regional Mexican acts shined on the charts over the last year, in some cases incited by an act’s death. Much like Jenni Rivera’s wave of chart success after her death in December 2012, the passing of chart veteran Joan Sebastian and newcomer Ariel Camacho caused them to soar on the lists.

Camacho is the year’s top new Latin artist, a feat achieved mostly by his chart triumphs following his death. His group, Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho, was enjoying its first Hot Latin Songs hit with the title track of its debut album “El Karma” when Camacho, the band’s lead singer, died in a car accident in Mexico at the age of 22 (on Feb. 25). The song quickly leaped to No. 1, and five additional tracks from the act have since debuted on the chart.

After famed singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian died of cancer (July 13), he broke the record for most concurrently charting tracks by placing 11 titles on Hot Latin Songs. Since his death, six albums have reached the top 10 on Top Latin Albums, also supporting his year-end rank for Top Latin Artist (No. 11).

Other regional Mexican acts -- Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga, Julion Alvarez y Su Norteno Banda and Calibre 50 -- all land in the top 10 of the year’s top Latin acts.

Like the previous year, female acts were largely absent from the Latin charts in 2015. A lengthy 22 weeks elapsed on Hot Latin Songs with not one female-led song in the top 50. The lull ended on the Oct. 10 chart when pop duo Jesse & Joy (headed vocally by Joy), arrived with “Ecos de Amor.”

Notably, no female acts rank among the top 25 year-end top Latin artists.

Overall, powerhouse singer Natalia Jimenez is 2015’s top female Latin artist, followed by Jennifer Lopez, Selena, Shakira and Jenni Rivera. Jimenez claimed a No. 2-peaking set on Top Latin Albums earlier in the year with Creo En Mi, while her single “Quedate Con Ella” peaked at No. 17 on the weekly Hot Latin Songs chart.

Billboard | Amaya Mendizabal