Bloomberg has named Ckay’s ‘Love Nwantiti’ as the biggest-ever hit out of Africa. According to the organisation, the track is the first song from Africa to top YouTube’s list of the most-watched music videos. Ckay is also the first African artist to appear on any of the top 25 lists for Bloomberg’s Pop Star Power Rankings. Read more about the rankings here
The song was first released late 2019 and received a good reception from listeners in Nigeria and abroad, making it one of Ckay’s biggest hits, However, remixes by popular Moroccan DJ ElGrandeToTo and other versions from musicians in Tanzania, France, South Africa have helped the song gain following across the world including the Middle East.
“The song is in a league of its own. There’s no one who has ever done this before,” said Temi Adeniji, the managing director of Warner Music Group South Africa.
The song’s most recent surge came as a result of a stripped-down re-make by Mauritius based DJ Yo. The remake found its way to Tik-Tok and became the most-used song for videos on the platform. By mid-September, users were generating 10 million videos a week using the song. The song has now peaked across the world and is still gaining popularity within the US, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
The impact of the song’s reach has been huge with the artist’s monthly listeners on Spotify increasing from 179,000 to more than 30 million from last year. Love Nwantiti is not the first song benefiting from Tik-Tok and social networks. Previously, Jerusalema by Master KG had also gone viral and became an African smash across the continent.
While global reach is great and the wish of every music label or artist, it comes with a few challenges. Various versions of the same song might be charting in regions thereby suppressing its overall ranking. While the song might have reached the top 10, it should be among the top 3. It’s a bittersweet feeling and a good problem to have for a musician and record label.
The success of ‘Love Nwantiti‘ reveals the growth and rise of on-demand streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Boomplay as well as social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik-Tok which have made it easier for content to reach global audiences. This has also made it easier for music executives and record labels to discover rising talent from various regions across the world.
Poverty, poor copyright protection and low internet penetration have previously limited record labels from venturing into the African market. However, we see the tide changing with technological advancement in making internet connections available and affordable across the continent. With these issues actively corrected, the African music landscape will definitely be one to anticipate.
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