How Spotify’s African Heat Became A Part Of Your Life
For ardent fans and casual listeners of Afrobeats, both at home and in the diaspora, Spotify’s African Heat is both an important resource for music discovery and a growing catalogue of the genre’s global success.
Spotify first introduced African Heat in 2017, and the playlist has grown to become the premier hub for Afrobeats on the global streaming platform. For fans of the genre or eager ears looking for new sounds, staying in touch with African Heat provides a fresh source of what’s hot on the continent and a roll call of its leading voices, from Ayra Starr to Sha Sha. Holding a spot on the playlist has also become a precursor for global success – songs featured on African Heat upon release, such as Rema’s Calm Down, have gone on to become some of the most streamed Afrobeats records on the platform.
“As Spotify’s flagship playlist for African music, African Heat curates the continent’s incredible content and culture for a global audience. It has become the nucleus of a global community of Afrobeats fans, and we’re excited to see its reach grow and take Afrobeats to more global ears,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music for Africa.
The playlist’s growth has been facilitated by a large audience outside of Afrobeats’ home region in West Africa. According to Spotify data, The US, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Canada feature in the top 10 markets where African Heat is streamed; Nigeria and Kenya are the playlist’s leading African markets, with South Africa and Ghana also making an appearance in the top ten markets streaming the playlist.
Across all markets, African Heat appeals to fans of all ages, a trend that is in keeping with the widespread appeal of Afrobeats. However, it should be no surprise that Gen Z leads the charge. Listeners aged 18-24 provide more than a quarter of African Heat’s streams, more than any other age group. Following closely are 25-29-year-olds, then 30-34-year-olds. The digital-first generations are an army of eager proponents that have propelled Afrobeats to success via viral moments and ardent fandom on social media.
Whether you are 19 or 90, however, if you listen to Afrobeats on Spotify, chances are African Heat has found its way into a sweet spot in your routine. Spotify Data shows that, while African Heat has listeners during every hour of the day, most fans listen to the playlist between the hours of 4-6 pm – that time of the day when the curtain falls on daily obligations. Listenership peaks at exactly 5 pm each day when the playlist has the most streams.
And if you’re wondering just how much of your day is spent in this hub of African music, data from Spotify shows that the average listener streams African Heat for 25 minutes. With over a million followers around the world and an endless chest of African content to draw from, these touchpoints have all contributed to the platform crossing the 500 million stream mark in 2023.
Forces of Change in the Creative Industries – Going Beyond Tech
By Amine Djouahra
As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2023, we have all become more comfortable with change and disruption. Whether it is the pandemic, environmental factors, unstable global economic conditions, or tech evolution, we have learned to bounce back quickly. One industry that has had to be particularly agile during the past few years is the filmmaking industry.
Canon’s new report (written in conjunction with The Future Laboratory) – The Future of Filmmaking, reveals the industry’s efforts to be a catalyst of change that inspires the creative industry to transform its narrative and to shine its spotlight on topics that will be significant in shaping the future of our world, and that of the African continent.
Interestingly, the report sheds light on the human landscape and its power to create, cultivate, and drive change. The power of people ultimately makes things happen and pushes us toward progress and advancement in any industry. The report highlights four crucial aspects that may be driven by tech but not necessarily led by tech. In my view, these are significant factors directly proportional to the content creation and filmmaking industries and will undoubtedly shape the future of these industries.
Rise of the Creative Class
According to the UNESCO report, global cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are estimated to generate about $2.25 trillion annually, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP and employment of around 30 million people worldwide. It is fascinating to see the rise of this creator economy, which the report identifies as the “New Creative Class”. As we witnessed an unprecedented boom in digitalisation over the last 10 years, this creative class sprang into action using technologies to deliver a fresh and novel take on content creation.
If we lens in on the African continent, which is closer to home and more interesting to me, we see some remarkable trends in the creative economy. In Nigeria, as this report shows, the sector employs 4.2 million people and is expected to employ a further 2.7 million by 2025, an increase of more than 50% in the next two years.
Despite the significant contribution made by the new creative class toward societal and economic progress, there still seems to be a gap in recognition compared to other industries. The emerging community of content creators is striving to achieve fair working conditions, equitable payment models, and new standards in the industry that reflect their value and contributions. This is a positive development for the creative sector in its rightful plea to be recognised and treated fairly compared to other industries.
The explosion of digital technologies may have given us the power to do anything from anywhere, but like all things, too much of anything is not always good and has its consequences. An interesting trend emerged with the plethora of content choices that suddenly became available for audiences to consume worldwide. People slowly started taking their eyes off the global stage and shifted their gaze towards local and homemade content that told stories of their land and their people.
Given our natural desire as humans to find meaning, connectivity, and relatability, the narrative of authentic stories led independent storytellers, documentary-makers, content creators, and filmmakers to explore topics that local people resonate with. So, it’s no surprise that global streaming giants like Netflix and Disney are investing in Africa to tap the unexplored potential and talent. The report encapsulates the essence of the ‘Stay global, go local’ movement and asserts that media organisations and creative firms will progressively be compelled to shift sight closer to home when it comes to entertainment and content production.
The current climate crisis affects us all, no matter which industry or walk of life we come from. The severity of climate change needs to be taken seriously globally, and genuine efforts must be made for scaled initiatives to reduce our carbon footprints. The streaming industry is no exception to this; the carbon impact of the industry drastically needs to be reduced by adopting a more sustainable approach towards this issue.
The report underpins the significance of consumer demand as a key driver toward adopting sustainable practices and better industry standards. With people gaining more awareness about the environmental impact of their consumption choices, they are likely to demand pro-environmental practices, thus compelling the industry to adopt a pro-active approach towards sustainability.
The Future of Filmmaking report highlights the positive development of inclusivity and diversity. It emphasises that the new creative class is at the forefront of inclusivity and is not afraid to challenge the already-established broadcasters. This new generation of creators identifies technology to harness change and propel social progress. Decentralisation will be a key trend touching every area of the industry, from financing to licensing and distribution and more, creating new opportunities for the underrepresented creators and bringing them closer to their fans.
Continuing the Legacy of Storytelling
These trends are a wake-up call to many in the industry to pay attention to the changing needs of people and to evolve with them. However, we must always return to the basics and remember the importance of telling stories. While these trends affect the industry by and large, the shifts create more freedom for storytellers to come forth and tell their stories in unique and inspiring ways, enabling them to create content that is responsive to the tastes, locations, and ethics of their audiences in a way that has never been possible before.
All in all, the report tells me that this is an exciting time to be a creator, with the industry opening its doors to new opportunities that reflect change, growth, development, and progress.
Amine Djouahra is the B2C BU Director for Canon Central & North Africa
Africa Day: YouTube Honours Nollywood, African Storytelling
Nollywood stars, creators, and creative community members gathered together at a YouTube event titled Celebration of Nollywood on Africa Day.
This event celebrated the enchanting world of Nollywood and marked the significant contributions of African storytelling through cinema, paying tribute to the creators who bring these narratives to life.
The event welcomed 150 attendees and assembled prominent celebrities and influential personalities from the Nollywood industry.
Notable guests included veteran actress Sola Sobowale, AMVCA comedian of the year Bimbo Ademoye, Adeyemi Okanlawon, Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni, and Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman.
Top Nigerian YouTube content creators such as Apaokagi-Greene Maryam aka Taaooma, AMVCA award winner Samuel Animashaun Perry aka Broda Shaggi, and Chukwuebuka Emmanuel Amuzie aka Brainjotter, also graced the event.
Among the sessions at the event was a panel discussion addressing Nollywood’s growth and the potential of digital technology in the industry. The panellists, including Murphy Ben, CEO of Murphy Ben International and Aforevo, YouTube content creator Taaooma, and Nollywood actress and movie producer Rahama Sadau, shared invaluable insights on leveraging digital technology for industry growth and scalability.
Alex Okosi, YouTube EMEA Managing Director for Emerging Markets, acknowledged the significant impact of Nollywood and the transformative power of storytelling.
He emphasized YouTube’s dedication to partnering with Nollywood and serving as a platform where meaningful stories are shared and celebrated globally.
Okosi stated, “Your work is reshaping global narratives about Africa and Nigeria. It’s not merely entertainment – it’s powerful, transformative, and making a real difference. The stories you tell and the emotions you evoke resonate with audiences worldwide. YouTube is privileged to partner with you and provide a platform to share and celebrate these impactful narratives globally.”
Olumide Balogun, Interim Country Lead at Google Nigeria, shed light on YouTube’s commitment to supporting and promoting the Nollywood industry by promoting movies, actors, producers, and other industry members. He outlined a two-month-long program designed to spur the growth of Nollywood on YouTube.
Acclaimed actors, talented producers, and influential film community members enlivened the event, contributing to the celebratory ambience. The event showcased Africa’s dynamic culture and creativity, emphasising Nollywood’s significant role in shaping global perceptions and narratives.
In a world full of diverse stories, YouTube has remained committed to supporting black creatives across the globe, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the platform and beyond.
This commitment is exemplified by initiatives such as the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a global fund aimed at amplifying Black voices and perspectives and facilitating the creation of fresh narratives that educate audiences about racial justice. With a deep gratitude for the creative community, YouTube fosters an environment where diverse voices are heard, respected, and empowered.
Excitement as Nigerian Idol Season 8 Live Show Begins
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
All is now set for the commencement of the Nigerian Idol Season 8 Live Show this weekend after the judges chose 10 contestants for the stage.
The process started last December with entries received from across the country and reached its high point when the trio of Obi Asika, D’Bank, and Simi selected 10 budding singers from the 29 who made it to the theatre week.
The live show is the crucial phase of Nigerian Idol, as the fate of the contestants is in the hands of the voting public.
Savvy Henry, Constance, Goodness, Abraham, Quest, Precious Mac, Victory, Reigny, Ose Daniel, and Chisom were selected for the final stage after five weeks of audition and theatre week performances.
Performances on the live show will be judged by the viewers, who hold the power to retain and evict contestants through their votes.
Viewers can follow their favourite contestants on Nigerian Idol season 8 by tuning in to Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Urban, and Africa Magic Family every Sunday at 7 pm.
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