If you had told us in 2020 that Bad Bunny was the biggest pop artist in the world, we probably would have replied, “who?” At that time, many mainstream listeners had never heard of the artist. Or, rather, they didn’t realize that they’d actually heard his music before; Bad Bunny had a large part in Cardi B’s 2018 smash hit “I Like It.”
Given that the Puerto Rican artist is a staple in the current wave of Latin trap music, most pop listeners likely had no idea who he was. Bad Bunny’s actually been around for a while and, though he may not be as immediately recognizable as Billie Eilish, the numbers that he’s earned on Spotify definitely support the claim that he’s one of the biggest artists in the world. So how much has he earned so far?
Born Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio in 1994, Bad Bunny actually studied audiovisual communication at the University of Puerto Rico while he worked as a bagger at a grocery store, according to Allmusic.com. He worked on his own music at night and posted his tracks to SoundCloud. His song, “Diles,” would catch the ear of DJ Luian, and Bad Bunny would sign his first major deal with Luian’s Hear This Music label in 2016. He would release his first single, “Soy Peor,” in December of 2016 and it hit the 22nd spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Hot off his first single’s success, Bad Bunny would continue to release singles like “Pa Ti,” remix “Loco Pero Millonario,” and “Dime Si Vas a Volver” well into 2018. That year, he made his first American appearance on Cardi B’s “I Like It,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart later that summer.
Later in 2018, Bad Bunny released his debut project, X 100pre, which combined a slew of musical influences like hip hop, electro, and Latin pop into the Latin trap sound that the Puerto Rican artist has become so famous for for. In addition, the album featured one of his biggest collaborations to date in the single “MIA,” with Canadian rapper and America’s sweetheart, Drake.
Considering Drake only plays with artists making waves in music, you know Bad Bunny must have been doing something right for the OVO boss to agree to a team-up, much less do his vocals in Spanish.
Bad Bunny would then sit for the next two years before releasing his sophomore album, YHLQMDLG (Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana, which translates to “I do whatever I want”) in the early part of 2020. He would later release his third album, El Ultimo Tour del Mundo, in November of 2020, which featured a mixture of trap, reggaeton, and indie rock elements. The new approach resonated well with the Latin demographic, and the album earned him his first number one spot on the Latin Top 200.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “that’s cool and all, but how does that make him the biggest pop star in the world?” Well, we have one word for you: Spotify.
This is where it gets kind of wild. According to the Guardian, Bad Bunny’s music was streamed 8.3 billion times in 2020 on Spotify alone. That’s not because the entire world is riding the Bad Bunny movement. It’s actually due to the fact that his main fan base and demographic, Latin America, has begun to grow on the streaming platform itself.
Bad Bunny’s largest market now makes up a reasonable amount of Spotify listeners: Latin fans represent the third largest population of Spotify users behind Europe and North America. Latin America’s listener numbers also continue to grow by 30 percent every year. If you include Bad Bunny’s Latin demographic in the United States, it’s easy to see how the numbers can add up pretty fast to overtake bigger American acts like Ariana Grande or Billie Eilish.
Being the biggest pop star in the world, you would think Bad Bunny is making a crazy amount of cash. So how much is Bad Bunny really worth?
Aside from a few television appearances – his most notable appearance being a guest wrestler on the WWE as a backup for NXT star Damian Priest – Bad Bunny doesn’t have many other ventures in the works. This means most of his earnings come from his music.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 27-year-old Puerto Rican superstar has managed to net himself a decent $18 million from his music so far. Given that he still has a short road ahead to transition himself as a mainstream artist in all markets, that actually isn’t too shabby for a guy who just started putting out albums in 2018.