Latin Grammys: Why is ceremony moving from US to Spain?

Written by Amy Ta, produced by Andrea Bautista and Bennett Purser

Spanish singer Rosalia performs in a concert at Sonar Festival on June 15, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. Credit: Shutterstock.

For more than two decades, the Latin Grammys have celebrated music in Spanish and Portuguese. The show is usually held in Las Vegas, but late last month, the Latin Recording Academy quietly announced that November’s ceremony will take place outside the U.S. for the first time — in Spain. But the move abroad is upsetting some fans and critics because, well, Spain is not in Latin America. And the epicenter of Latin music’s explosion in popularity is, well, Latin America.

It turns out that the government of Andalusia, Spain, promised to give the Latin Recording Academy €18 million — the equivalent of $19 million — between 2023 and 2025 for producing the Latin Grammys and events surrounding it, explains Suzy Exposito, columnist at the LA Times. It’s still unknown which city in Andalusia will host the event.

She says she was surprised by the relocation: “This ceremony has always taken place in the U.S., mostly in Las Vegas. It's been so beneficial for acts from all over the Hispanic and Portuguese-speaking worlds to come to the U.S. and tour. It's been a great incentive for them to finally come to see U.S. audiences and make some money and get some recognition. … But I guess if the Latin Grammys were able to find an outside sponsor, then I believe that's probably a huge part of it.”

One artist who’s a big part of this is Rosalia, who’s from Spain and whose album won Album of the Year in 2022. Exposito says she’s one of Spain’s biggest exports right now.

“She is the country's most popular artist. She's a globally popular artist. But … Spain struggled for years to retain its young people and to keep them employed. … In the interest of trying to keep unemployment down, the country has invested a lot of money in music tourism. … And bringing the Latin Grammys to Spain, the Andalusian government has actually projected a revenue of €500 million, which translates to $530 million over the course of the years 2023 and 2025.”

Exposito notes that to qualify for a Latin Grammy nomination, an artist does not have to be from Latin America. Their entry just has to contain 51% of lyrics in Spanish, Portuguese, or an accepted language/dialect, and it must be a new song.

She adds that several Latin American cities would have been fabulous candidates for the ceremony, including San Juan and Mexico City.

“But the ceremony is not like the Olympics. It's not the kind of thing that every city applies to do. I think this was a deal that took years to negotiate, and one that came with state sponsorship. So I think that's really key in talking about why the Latin Grammys are being held in Spain.”