Despacito declared most streamed song ever

Despacito has also soared on YouTube where it is already the fourth most watched video ever at 2.66 billion views

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, whose hit Despacito has brought reggaeton – a genre that combines the rhythms of Jamaican music with rap – to a wider audience. AFP
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Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi's Despacito, whose reggaeton beat has swept the globe, on Wednesday was named the most streamed song of all time.

The song's label, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, said Despacito in its original and remixed versions had reached 4.6 billion streams across platforms including YouTube and Spotify.

Despacito — a racy track which features Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee — went viral soon after its release in January and found an even wider audience in April when pop celebrity Justin Bieber appeared in a remix.

Despacito dethroned another track with Bieber, the Canadian's 2015 song Sorry, which has 4.38 billion plays, according to Universal.

Despacito — which means "slowly" in Spanish — has spent 10 weeks at number one on the US singles chart, the first Spanish-language song to reach the top spot since Macarena in 1996.

"Streaming is a connector for audiences worldwide and it has helped my music reach every corner of the planet," Fonsi said in a statement.

Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, the world's largest label conglomerate, called Despacito the biggest hit of 2017.

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"Streaming has opened up the possibility of a song with a different beat, from a different culture and in a different language to become a juggernaut of success around the world," Grainge said in a statement.

Reggaeton — which has roots in Jamaican dance hall and hip-hop — has historically provided a voice to black Puerto Ricans and has been shunned by the US territory's elite.

Streaming — the on-demand selection of music online — has rapidly grown in recent years.

No central body combines streaming data across all platforms, giving leeway to labels to announce figures and feats.

Despacito has soared on YouTube where it is already the fourth most watched video ever at 2.66 billion views.

While popular on Spotify, it was in 39th place on the all-time list Wednesday.