Last week, the global entertainment industry witnessed another stinger from the African music scene when Rema’s Calm Down, featuring Selena Gomez, was announced as the No.1 on the Billboard Global Charts effectively cementing Rema’s place on the international music scene.
The Billboard Global Charts is a worldwide music ranking that rates songs from other 200 territories around the world based on sales activities and streaming across various online channels, as compiled by Luminate.
Despite her huge successes and international acclaim, Selena Gomez’s feature on Rema’s song earned the American singer her first-ever No. 1 spot on the Billboard Global Charts. The feat gives another credit to the rise and success of African music on the international music scene and global stage. But what is responsible for this success?
According to music analysts, the success of the African music industry on the international music scene has nothing to do with luck, and it did not come by chance either. Rather, it is the result of the hard work laid down by thousands of African musicians who pioneered and laid the foundation of what we are enjoying today.
Labour of Past Heros
Africa has always been blessed with great musical legends like Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Salif Keita, Youssou N’dour, Angelique Kidjo, Lucky Dube, Hugh Masekela, and Oliver Mtukudzi. These great minds laid a solid foundation by creating a formidable identity for African music and introducing a sound that is unique and synonymous with the African people.
Today, the rise of Afrobeat and, more recently, the Amapiano beat and its acceptance on the global stage is a clear indication that African musicians are doing something right. African music has experienced remarkable success on the international scene, and the success has been extremely rewarding both financially and all round.
Nigeria, for instance, which houses some of the largest music industries on the continent, experienced an annual growth in revenue of 13.4 percent, which took the total revenue of 2021 to $73 million from $39 million. In 2022, the country recorded a 7.2% increase in the music industry alone.
The growth is not synonymous with Nigeria alone. The African musical landscape has recorded huge successes within the last year, hitting as much as $19 million in an emerging market such as Kenya.
Another reason behind the success of the African music industry and its acceptance on the international music scene is the initiative of many African musicians to maintain an existing identity known today as Afrobeats. This resulted in African musicians like Angelique Kidjo, Burna Boy, and Wizkid getting nominations and awards at the highest music stage – the Grammy Awards.
Also, in 2022, Burna Boy headlined a Madison Square Garden event in New York, and many other African musicians have shut down major international events across the globe.
The success of African musicians and the African music industry has also attracted global superstars like Drake, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Beyonce, etc., who are in the queue to strike collaborations with African music artistes. It has now become the norm for international artists to feature at least one African artist on every album.
Also, the African music industry owes a lot of appreciation to MTV Base Africa for their work in projecting, packaging, and showcasing Africa to the world.
Thankfully, the growth of African music has largely shifted the dominant narrative about the African continent on the global scene, and this is a huge plus for the continent, which is rather associated with issues such as foreign aid, famine, western dominance, and the like.
By all indications, there is no doubt that the African music industry will continue to rise on an upward curve and be poised for more greatness in the years to come. The sky as the popular dictum goes, isn’t the limit but rather the very beginning for African music and African musical acts.
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