Afrobeat: Mixes by African DJs experience 500% growth on Apple Music in 1 year- report

This rise of Nigeria DJ mixes confirms the place of Afrobeat songs in an emerging music landscape…
Streams of African DJ mixes experience 500% growth on Apple Music in a year- report

In the past year, streams of African DJ mixes on Apple Music have experienced over a five hundred per cent increase. A new report in the American music publication Billboard magazine reveals that this increase happened from August 2021 through August 2022.

Even as these mixes from African DJs gain prominence globally, Nigerian mixes have made astronomical progress rising by 3,000 per cent streams year over year, effectively becoming one of the world’s top 10 countries for DJ mixes.

This rise of Nigeria DJ mixes confirms the place of Afrobeat songs in an emerging music landscape thirsty for new sounds. Musicians like Burna Boy, who have gone on to be nominated at the Grammy Awards three-time, winning once, further underscores the impact that the music is making globally.

South Africa is also enjoying major growth as well. The report shows that streams of DJ mixes from the country have experienced over 150 per cent increase year over year. Other countries are responsible for the 500 per cent growth that the report talks about include Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.

Billboard says that “this growth has been driven by the explosion of African electronic genres including Afrobeats, Amapiano and Gqom, as produced by genre leaders including Wizkid, Tems, Burna BoyCKayFireboy DML, Major League DJz, Kabza de Small, DJ Maphorisa, DBN Gogo and more.”

How streaming algorithms became Afrobeats' latest gatekeeper

Furthermore, Afrobeats, Amapiano and Gqom have become staple sounds on social media with the emergence of TikTok and streaming companies building a physical presence in African countries. This has beyond doubt cleared the path for African sounds to be appreciated globally.

African mixes on Apple Music

Apple Music and other streaming platforms “hosting mixes from a plethora of African dance music brands and curators including Soul Candi, Obrigado, KUNYE and The Balcony Mix Africa” has also helped to cultivate the growth that the report shows.

Apple’s investment from June last year, buying Shazam, the app that helps identify music within its hearing environment on Apple Music and Spotify is also responsible for this growth. Software like Shazam tackles the problems that language barriers and other forms of deficiencies that inhabits users from discovering whose song a DJ might be playing have made the hunger for African song a tad bit satiable. Now, users just shazam the songs or sometimes the sound, giving them the opportunity of multiple streams.

David Evans-Uhegbu, the CEO of Party In The Jungle, the Lagos-based company that helps artists with music distribution told Billboard that DJs have always played a key role in the propagation of African songs.

“If you have observed the evolution of African Music, you wouldn’t deny that DJs have been a necessary link between a track and its intended audience, through nightlife, radio and DJ mix CDs sold in traffic, especially unique to Nigeria in the early 2000s,” Evans-Uhegbu told the music magazine.

“Within the last year, DJ mixes on Apple Music hasn’t only revived the DJs relevance, but has also created a new and substantial revenue stream for DJs, and for the audience – a nostalgic, new and exciting way to enjoy music,” he added.

Read also: How streaming algorithms have become Afrobeat’s biggest gatekeeper

While streaming has made it possible with seemingly unbridled access to a global audience, it has also come with a price, which includes the shortening of the tracks that comes out of the space and most sounds in the different subgenres taking up very similar sounds.

While this is an obvious growth for the music industry, it barely transforms into financial growth for the DJs who are indeed responsible for this growth. Artists who post their works on streaming platforms have lamented that the payment is still not commensurate with the work they put into it.

But this increase, for now at least, solidifies the place of African sounds as the world enters this new decade further.

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