‘Despacito’ on the Radio: More Than 10 Million Spins in 24 Hours — and Growing

“Despacito,” the smash of the summer which saw a surge in renewed popularity once Justin Bieber jumped on the track with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, is riding an astonishing streak at the top of the Billboard charts, logging its sixth week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. On the radio, that means listeners are, indeed, hearing the song multiple times in an hour.

According to iHeartRadio, “Despacito” notched more than 10 million total audience spins across its national network of more than 800 stations just on Saturday (June 17) alone — 10.07 million, to be exact, a number extrapolated by adjusting market size to airplay. The song is a rare hit that’s impacting multiple formats, including Pop, Top 40, Hot AC, Rhythm, Urban, and, of course, Latin. Among iHeart’s radio properties are New York’s Z100 and Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM.

“To have a full-on Spanish song achieve this kind of success is unprecedented,” Tom Poleman, IHeartMedia’s chief programming officer, tells Variety. Previously, when it came to a cross-format success, the “cultural barrier” had been broken several times by songs in Spanglish or featuring one key line (Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” was a No. 1 hit for 5 weeks in 1999; “Macarena spent 14 weeks at the top spot in 1996), Poleman notes. “I think it’s great – great for music.”

iHeartMedia, which operates more stations in the United States as well as its own iHeartRadio streaming platform, is playing multiple versions of the Fonsi song — depending on the audience, “some of our stations don’t play the Justin version,” adds Poleman. “And we notice that people stream all different versions, too.”

“Despacito” also sits at the top of Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart, averaging more that 6.5 million plays daily, according to the streaming service. It’s followed by two more Bieber-supported tracks, “I’m the One” by DJ Khaled and “2U” by David Guetta, but don’t expect either to be overcome imminently. As iHeart’s Poleman notes, “You hear ‘Despacito’ everywhere. It’s not going away anytime soon.”

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