One way to measure a hit is with charts — pour over the streaming rankings, compare them with radio spins, contrast them with sales totals. Another method involves simply tallying tributes. How many facsimiles and replicas does one song inspire?
Nio Garcia, Casper Magico and Darell’s “Te Boté” is performing well in both counts. It satisfied the first definition of a hit last summer. The track was originally released December 1, 2017; a remix with Bad Bunny, Ozuna and Nicky Jam arrived in April. “The guys had a hit by themselves,” said DJ Eddie One, who handles the daily 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. slot for Los Angeles’ Mega 96.3. “But having the big-leaguers [join], that helped that song go to the next level.”
The “Te Boté” remix peaked at Number Two on Latin radio in the U.S. in September. “It’s one of the only times that a seven minute-long song gets to play on the air,” Eddie One added. “That’s the time it takes three songs to play! The funny thing is, we made a shorter version, but we started getting complaints — ‘We want to hear the whole thing!'” (Another good way to gauge a hit is to count the number of complains generated by playing an abbreviated version of a track.) In addition to its success on the airwaves, “Te Boté” has now amassed more than 1.5 billion plays on YouTube.
During the last five months, the single has also become the second kind of hit — the kind that everybody copies. What made the original distinctive was the drums, which had a cruddy, clipped sound, as if the reggaeton beat hadn’t become a foolproof joy-delivery system for dancefloors worldwide. The “Te Boté” drums sound like old sneakers thudding in a dryer, a long way from the glossier percussion in 2017’s billion-views hits (Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” Maluma’s “Felices los 4”).
And now you hear “Te Boté”-like drums everywhere, especially in new singles from artists who appeared on the hit remix and hope to recapture the same magic. Try Myke Towers and Darell’s “Pa’ la Pared,” Ozuna’s “Tu Olor” (peaked at Number 27 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart) or Brytiago and Darell’s “Asesina,” which was subsequently remixed by Ozuna, Daddy Yankee and Anuel AA (that version peaked at Number 7). Non-affiliates of “Te Boté” and its remix have also tried to channel the track: See Brytiago and Rafa Pabon’s “La Mentira” or Daddy Yankee’s latest hit “Adictiva” with Anuel AA (Number 14).
But none of the “Te Boté” imitators match the surly ungraciousness of the original, and that has been reflected in diminishing commercial returns. “Asesina” has been the most successful homage, with over 500 million YouTube views between the original version and the remix. “Adictiva” has accumulated 169 million views. It’s a steep drop for “La Mentira,” which has 49 million views, while “Pa’ la Pared” and “Tu Olor” haven’t even reached that number.
That suggests it might be time for aspiring hitmakers to find a new model. “It’s a little phase: When a song is big, everybody wants to do something similar,” says Tainy, who has been producing reggaeton hits for over a decade. “Now it’s up to producers to change it up a bit — make the next trend.”