How Spotify’s African Heat became 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 4-6pm - that time of the day when the curtain falls on daily obligations. Listenership peaks at exactly 5pm 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.
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