African artists are on a path to global stardom. This is due to streaming services that have made the world one big international sound hub.
These various streaming platforms have experienced astronomical growth as they have become the modus operandi for music consumption. Gone are the days of cassette and record players. Spotify and its cohorts have become a major revenue source for the music industry. Revenue is generated through subscription fees, advertising, and partnerships.
In 2023, Spotify’s ‘Journey of a Billion Stream’ reported that Afrobeat artists had generated over N11 billion in revenue in 2022. The company, citing IFPI, reported that the overall Nigerian music revenue grew 63% from 2021 to 2022, while revenues generated by Nigerian artists (from Spotify alone) grew 74%.
Here are 7 Afrobeat Artists to surpass 1 billion streams on Spotify
Wizkid – 6.3B
Wizkid stands out as a prominent figure in the global promotion of Afrobeats through his music, earning numerous international awards and consistently selling out prestigious venues. His role in exporting African music gained prominence in 2015 when his acclaimed single ‘Ojuelegba’ garnered international recognition.
A pivotal moment in his international success came in 2016 when Drake featured him on the chart-topping hit ‘One Dance.’ This collaboration marked a historic achievement as the first song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify, propelling Wizkid to even greater international acclaim. Currently, he has 6.3 billion streams on Spotify and has released his 2023 EP ‘Soundman 2’.
Burna Boy – 5.4B
It’s no surprise that the African Gaint has over a billion streams on Spotify. With Grammy-nominated hits like ‘I Told Them’, ‘Twice as Tall’, and ‘African Gaint’; Burna boy became the most streamed artist in Sub-Sahara Africa on Spotify for 2023.
The African Gaint is now the most Nigerian Grammy-nominated artist with five nominations at the 66th Grammys which is set to hold on February 4th. Burna Boy revealed the meaning and the inspiration behind the song, at Kiss FM, London, United Kingdom, and said, “City Boy is every guy that puts himself first. I mean about relationships between us (males) and females. It is not about putting yourself first in the grand scheme of things”.
Rema – 3B
Rema got into music in February 2018 when he uploaded a clip of himself freestyling to an instrumental version of D’Prince’s ‘Gucci Gang’. D’Prince saw the video and got in touch, which led to Rema signing with Mavin Records. With the achievements that Rema has made in 2023, the Mavin’s Star has promised to bring home a Grammy. This statement came during a recent visit to billionaire businessman Tony Elumelu’s Lagos mansion.
Rema’s ‘Calm Down’ with Selena Gomez became the longest-charting song in Billboard Pop Songs Airplay chart history. The remix song has achieved a remarkable milestone as it has reached one billion streams on Spotify. This is the first African artiste-led track to join the Billions Club on Spotify.
CKay – 2B
TikTok has proven that it is very significant in the music industry. The application is now a medium for organically promoting songs. This is the case of Ckay’s ‘Love Nwantiti’. The song was released via streaming platforms but found its fame on TikTok and became the longest-running global No. 1 song of 2021 that was Shazamed on the platform, number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. and was number 3 on the UK singles chart in 2019.
With the success of ‘Love Nwantiti’ Ckay released ‘Emiliana’ in 2022 which has bagged a platinum certification in France. Ckay is now the fourth Nigerian artist to have over two billion streams on Spotify across all credits.
Tems – 2B
Tems returned to music after a two-year hiatus with a Grammy, and Golden Globe nomination, and a Billboard record for ‘Free Mind’, which spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Tems is the most streamed female artist in Sub-sahara Africa. The ‘Me & You’ crooner has two billion streams across all credits on Spotify.
Tems has received a nod by TIME magazine as a leading voice in the international music industry. The music star was named as one of the people “who have achieved peak influence in their fields” in the 2023 TIME’s Next 100 list. The powerhouse musician has over 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Davido – 1.7B
Davido’s 2023 album ‘Timeless’ has cemented his stellar music career. The album has garnered over a billion streams across all credits on Spotify. The album’s lead single, ‘Unavailable,’ featuring Musa Keys, has garnered significant success, making waves both domestically and internationally.
The album has also gained him three Grammy nominations for Best African Music Performance, Best Global Music Album, and Best Global Music Performance. The top-tier musician commands a monthly Spotify audience of over eight million listeners and is scheduled to perform at the United Masters Grammy Weekend Concert as part of the festivities building up to the 66th Academy Grammy Awards.
Omah Lay – 1.1B
Omah Lay has become one of the most relatable musical acts from Nigeria as his songs often reflect personal experiences that have now been themed ‘Afro Depression'(a subgenre of Afrobeats). With his Boy Alone Deluxe album Omah Lay has garned over a billion streams across all credits on Spotify.
‘I’m a mess’ from his Boy Alone album was featured in Netflix’s original series ‘Everything Now’. The incorporation of Omah Lay’s popular track ‘I’m a Mess‘ in the show’s opening scene portrays Mia’s(the main character) deepest emotions, despite her extended stay in the hospital. The meaning of the song and the Original series plot synergize perfectly. Omah Lay recently went spiritual with his latest release ‘Holy Ghost’.