Travel Tips Marc Anthony is one of the top-ranking Latin music singers on the Shazam app. Photo: miggell1

Published on August 1st, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut

Marc Anthony is one of the top-ranking Latin music singers on the Shazam app. Photo: miggell1

How to Use the Shazam App to Find Pop Music in Latin America

Anyone who’s used the app called Shazam to identify music knows how valuable a service it can provide (just hold your phone or tablet up to the sounds, and the app will give you the name — it’s saved me from frustration many times when I’m trying to think of a song title or add a new tune to my collection).

Shazam is also now one of the best apps for taking the pulse of local music preferences, which can be a lot of fun when traveling in Latin America (or anywhere else, for that matter). A quick tap on Shazam’s “Explore” button — a new feature launched this year — reveals a map of the world, and just another click or two will show the top 20 most-tagged songs in any given city. It’s a great way to find out what people are listening to, and perhaps add a few local favorites to your own iTunes collection.

Some interesting music findings from my recent exploration of this feature:

• English-language music is topping the Shazam charts in Latin America. “Blurred Lines,” the controversial pop song by Robin Thicke, is currently the most-tagged single release in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. The French electronic music duo Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is tops in Brazil, Chile and Panama, while Argentina is putting the Bruno Mars ditty “Locked Out of Heaven” in the number one position (Bruno Mars, by the way, has Puerto Rican ancestry).

Uruguay and Paraguay were among the few countries that had Spanish-language songs at the top this week: “La Llave,” by Argentine singer Abel Pintos (in Uruguay) and “Te Pintaron Pajaritos” by Colombian duo Yandar & Yostin (in Paraguay). Puerto Rico, meanwhile, is favoring “Darte Un Beso” by Prince Royce, the Dominican sensation from New York.

Venezuela is on its own this week, putting the clubby dance number “Lrad” by Australian electro house duo Knife Party at the top of the local Shazam charts.

• Marc Anthony is doing well around the region. The Puerto Rican crooner’s “Vivir Mi Vida” may not hold the number one spot in any one nation, but it’s consistently ranking in the top 20 throughout Latin America.

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which has generated some controversy in the United States due to lyrics that some say condones aggressive behavior toward women, is probably not causing as much discussion in Latin America, according to Nolberto Gonzalez, a postgraduate student who studies social anthropology at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. “My first language is Spanish,” he explained. “Generally, I hear music in English first as rhythm, and I don’t always process the meanings of the words. So I don’t think the [song’s] message would affect its popularity [in Latin America]. There are many reggaetón songs with messages that are degrading to women, and people still don’t stop consuming that genre, or dancing to the songs.”

Whether it’s used as a conversation starter or not,  Shazam’s Explore feature is an interesting way to gain insight into local taste — and also can help you get ready for what you might hear on the radio or dance floor while traveling around Latin America. You’ll   sound like a music pro even before you land.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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