Rema’s achievement of reaching a billion streams stands as a powerful testament to the global influence of Afrobeats worldwide. It also hints at a far larger and more dynamic African music scene.
In a meteoric rise since its August 2022 release, Rema’s music collaboration, “Calm Down”, featuring Selena Gomez, now has the distinction of being the first-ever joint music effort led by an African artist to amass a billion streams on Spotify, according to the streamer.
“Rema, one of Nigeria’s fastest-rising stars, is joining the Billions Club”, Spotify announced on its news site, For the Record.
The site also recognised Rema “as one of the top 10 most-streamed Afrobeats artists on the platform”.
Earlier in the year, CKay’s solo track, “Love Nwantiti”, achieved a similar feat in the solo track category.
Rema owes much to the colossal support from the global diaspora with Spotify’s statement revealing that the US, India, Mexico, Brazil, and the UK are at the forefront of “Calm Down” downloads, swelling the streaming numbers for the collaboration.
The achievements underscore the ever-increasing allure of Afrobeats and of African music in general.
“It’s clear that the genre is making a significant impact and gaining substantial influence on the global music stage,” Victor Okpala, Spotify’s artist and label partnerships manager for West Africa, said about Afrobeats.
With over 13 billion streams on Spotify in 2022 alone, Afrobeats’ rise has been scorching, with a staggering 550% surge in streams between 2017 and 2022.
Early indicators already suggest that 2022’s numbers might be eclipsed.
A surge in streaming platforms that make global audiences more accessible to African artists, along with the power of social media has fuelled the growth of the music industry in Africa.
This industry is enjoying unprecedented traction, with Afrobeats luminaries headlining global events, delivering performances that rewrite the record books.
As Christine Osazuwa, a Nigerian strategy lead at Shoobs, a music and events tech startup, pointed out, the current technological surge has merely amplified a potential that has long dwelled on the continent—and was evident in a thriving local scene long before bursting onto the world stage.
“Before Burna Boy sold out stadiums, his anthems rocked the dance floors at Nigerian weddings in DC and Atlanta. His videos were exchanged through WhatsApp messages. He was hailed as the G.O.A.T. long before he graced the stage of Madison Square Garden,” she explained.
“This entire ecosystem thrived despite lower budgets, modest press coverage, smaller DSPs, and often formidable adversity, all because the lifeblood is community,” she added.
With ‘Calm Down’ gaining even more traction on platforms like YouTube, where streaming views are currently soaring at 629 million, there’s much more to anticipate from this 23-year-old prodigy.
“This is a blessing. It’s not just a monumental victory for me, my team, and family; it’s a triumph for the culture,” Rema shared in a statement.
“I’m genuinely elated, and I’m tremendously proud of my fans for rediscovering the song and introducing it to others,” he said.
Spotify’s top 10 exported Afrobeats artist list also includes Burna Boy, Tems, Ckay, Wizkid, Fireboy DML, Ayra Starr, Libianca, Omah Lay, and Oxlade.