Depending on the day, you may have a taste for Mexican, Chinese, or Italian cuisine. At Spotify, we think our playlists should be just as eclectic as our palates.
Top-ranked hits in the U.S. are still overwhelmingly focused on English-language and American-made songs—yet about 1 in 4 Spotify users around the world actively listens to artists from a culture (or country) different from their own. Thanks to our increasingly connected world, discovering the top hits and coolest beats from around the globe is now easier than ever—and relevant in an age where many communities and cultures live in countries far away from their homelands. For example, 15 million Lebanese live in Brazil—more than in Lebanon itself.
Stories like this inspired Rocio Guerrero, Head of Global Cultures at Spotify, to launch Spotify’s Global Cultures initiative, which promotes and advances culturally diverse music, surfacing hits from different countries around the world and spotlighting popular songs that cross cultures.
“We have launched numerous high-profile playlists and programs in the recent past, but Global Cultures is poised to become one of the most important things we are doing as a leader in the field of streaming audio,” says Rocio.
Included in this initiative are several expertly curated playlists, some of which feature top songs, both old and new, from diasporic communities around the world. The first four diasporas to be represented on Spotify are some of the largest by population worldwide—Arab, African, Indian (Desi), and Latino—with more hubs on the way. Currently, the Desi and LatinX hubs can both be found on the “Browse” section of Spotify, with the Arab and African hubs launching in the weeks to come.
“Arab diaspora artists might sound totally different than local Arab artists,” Rocio explains. “Diaspora people have different political views, different hobbies, different mindsets that come out in their music. But they’re still connected to their communities. People are becoming more and more proud of their origins, and I think music might be one of the best ways to help them express that.”
To continue to disseminate cultural music throughout the world, Spotify is also launching Global X, a new playlist full of hot international and multicultural crossovers. Starting today, the playlist will be easy to find and devour under the Pop category on our platform. The playlist speaks to the global nature and allure of music, featuring hits from L.A. to Lagos.
“Why is food from other countries so embedded in our culture and yet music isn’t? Because streaming didn’t exist. But now it’s happening,” says Rocio, who is originally from Spain but now lives in New York. “Global X is the sound of a new era: rhythmic crossover hits from all cultures around the world, all in one place. We’re creating a global brand that’s going to represent hits from all countries around the world.”
A crossover can be “a mix of different genres, a mix of languages, or it could be a song like ‘Despacito Remix’ that crosses over to the rest of the world,” according to Rocio. “Now people listen to ‘Despacito’ whether they are Latino or not,” she says. “We are going to do the same with other cultures. Initially, you will see a lot of pop mainstream crossovers in the playlist, and while the point is to bring to the surface new sounds, cultures, and languages, we need to do so slowly but surely.”
Accompanying the launch of the playlist will be a unique vertical video for the hot new track “Taki Taki,” featuring Selena Gomez, Cardi B, Ozuna, and DJ Snake. “Taki Taki” is a true mix of cultures, with lyrics in a combination of English and Spanish. “It’s a total attention-grabbing, Global X type of song,” Rocio says. “Then once you’re in the playlist, you’ll see Arab songs, African songs, Latin songs, songs from a lot of cultures—which is awesome.”
The playlist will also feature songs like “Come Closer” from WizKid and Drake, which combines African artists with North American artists, as well as “Zooted” by French Montana, who is Moroccan, and Becky G, who is Mexican-American. Each of these diverse artists writes music that is unique to their background, contributing to a multicultural array set to inspire listeners around the world.
“My team, which represents diasporas, is very connected to their roots,” says Rocio. “It’s interesting how cultures continue generation after generation through things like music.”
Earworm-worthy K-pop, bhangra beats, electro meets Arabic … Music is a global connector, whether among generations spread across continents or throughout diverse modern communities. The Global X playlist and Global Cultures Hubs will help music lovers everywhere in their discovery.
Travel around the world with the Global X Playlist: