When Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s runaway hit “Despacito” broke the global streaming record on Wednesday, it was an impressive feat, to be sure. But the record-setting run of more than 4.6 billion streams in just six months comes in part simply thanks to the increasing popularity of streaming in general.
According to Nielsen Music’s U.S. Mid-Year Report, on-demand audio streams reached nearly 184 billion in the first half of the 2017, while overall on-demand streams (including video) have passed 284 billion streams — a 36.4 percent increase over the same period last year.
On a global scale, according to the IFPI’s Global Music Report from earlier this year, there were 112 million paying streaming subscribers around the world at the end of 2016 — nearly double the 68 million at the same time a year earlier. And in Latin America in particular, streaming revenue grew 57 percent in 2016.
The global streaming record is just the latest victory for “Despacito,” which looks on track to rack up more wins throughout the year. Upon the track’s release on Jan. 13, “Despacito” set Vevo records for most views of a Spanish-language video in 24 hours with 5.4 million hits, as well as for the fastest such video to reach 200 million views (22 days) and 2 billion views (154 days).
It is just the 35th single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart for at least 10 weeks and is now in competition to beat out the record for the longest stint at No. 1, which is owned Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men whose “One Sweet Day” ruled for 16 weeks in 1995-96. “Despacito,” which means “slowly” in Spanish, has seen a rise that was anything but sluggish.