Music has always been at the core of African tradition, weaving a rich narrative that showcases the variety of cultures and influences across the continent. Marking pivotal moments in Africa’s history, music has provided the backdrop to progress, evolving from songs of freedom to songs of expression.
While the annual commemoration of Africa Day is an opportunity to celebrate the strides that the continent has made, it’s also a chance to address some of the challenges that it continues to face. In a similar vein, the impact of African influence on the global music scene has also been a journey.
With exciting collaborations taking place and access to a broader audience, African creators now have more opportunities than ever before to discover new audiences and have their unique voices heard.
To mark Africa Day Spotify took a look at the top streamed artists globally from the African continent. With fans from London to Paris and Amsterdam to Sydney streaming their music via Spotify, it’s not surprising that popular Nigerian singer and songwriter, Burna Boy, takes the top spot.
Africa’s diverse music landscape with its distinctive genres continues to give rise to musical collaborations both on the continent and abroad. Burna Boy has used his particular sound to drive successful collabs including ‘Loved By You (feat. Burna Boy)’ with Justin Bieber and ‘Location (feat. Burna Boy)’ with British rapper Dave. Over the past 90 days (March – May 2021), ‘Loved By You (feat. Burna Boy)’ has amassed over 31 million streams, globally.
Similarly, the phenomenal global success of Master KG’s hit Jerusalema (feat. Nomcebo Zikode), which led to an Afrobeats inspired remix featuring Burna Boy, garnered over 43 million streams, globally over the last 90 days (March – May 2021). African artists are not just featuring on the global stage they are owning it.
“Spotify has always celebrated Africa’s abundance of talent and diversity. Now with Spotify’s presence across Africa, we will continue to use the power of the platform to amplify African creators to a global audience. This serves to offer artists even more opportunity to further strengthen their connection to their audiences as well as drive the discovery of their music to new audiences which, for us, is an integral part of the user’s listening experience. says Phiona Okumu, Head of Music, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Spotify continues to drive initiatives that support African creators including, promoting key curated, flagship playlists such as African Heat, AmaPiano Grooves, RADAR Africa, and most recently, Gengetone Fire, which has driven further discovery and celebration of African influence. Spotify also houses the Afrohub platform that promotes and brings to the surface culturally diverse music to users around the world.
The expansion of RADAR – Spotify’s global artists program that supports artists along every step of their music journey – has been instrumental in promoting talent from across the continent. To date RADAR Africa has welcomed several creators including, Elaine, rapper Willy Cardiac, Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems and AmaPiano hitmaker Focalistic (who also featured extensively in Spotify’s recent African Heat campaign) to the roster of Africa’s RADAR artists.
These young artists all have been influenced by the sounds of Africa with Focalistic listing South Africa’s classic Bacardi house music as the music he grew up on that continues to influence his expressive AmaPiano. Focalistic also names top Nigerian producer, Fresh as one of his biggest African influencers.
As Spotify continues to give listeners across the continent streaming access to the best African and international audio continent, it will continue to drive education around Spotify for Artists, a powerful free tool that artists are encouraged to make use of to better understand and build their audience and gain insight on how to best promote themselves. This, together with the expertise of Spotify’s music team and all the platforms’ initiatives will ensure that Spotify remains an instrumental vehicle for African creators looking to feature on a global stage.
Additionally, kicking off on 24 May and running during the week of Africa Day, there will be an African takeover of Spotify’s Global X playlist. The playlist will spotlight Africa’s biggest artists across regions and on each day, the playlist cover will be dedicated to artists including Lady Du (SA), DaVido (NG), Sarkodie (GH), Sauti Sol (KE), ElGrandeToto (MR), Mohammed Ramadan (EG) and Diamond Platinumz (TZ). The Global X playlist is a key part of Spotify’s Global Cultures Initiative that promotes culturally diverse music from around the world.