(Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

The Grammys Have Yet to Figure Out Their Place In the Global Music Conversation

The awards continue to center the Western-gaze when it comes to African and "global" music.

It was around 9 pm, Nigerian time when the winners of the 64th annual Grammy music awards for Best Global Music Album and Best Global Music Performance were announced. The competition for both categories was fierce, featuring both established and semi-established artists from across the globe including Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti Angélique Kidjo, Wizkid and Tems who were all nominated in both categories. Queer-Pakistani artist Arooj Aftab went home with Best Global Music Performance while the Beninese legend Angélique Kidjo took home Best Global Music Album, a category which she has won five times now.

When the first category’s winner was announced, it felt unspoken that surely, the next winner would be Wizkid. The afrobeats artist has had an incredible past two years. From topping Billboards charts to selling out the O2 arena in minutes—and doing that three times! His single "Essence" featuring rising talent Tems, was 2021’s unofficial summer hit and got an extended collaboration from Justin Bieber, a move that boosted the song’s rising popularity even further. Without a doubt, Wizkid’s work played a vital role in exploding the afrobeats genre on the global music scene, setting the tone for the sound, giving local talent increased international exposure, and setting the stage for a global ecosystem where afrobeats, like reggae, rock and other genres that once sat on the fringe, was adapted as a global genre.

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What Spotify's Entry Into African Markets Means For the Continent's Music Ecosystem

We look into how Spotify's expansion to 38 more African countries affects audiences and artists.

On March 4 this year, Spotify officially kicked off its planned expansion into 38 African countries. There were exquisite campaign rollouts with artists from across the continent and brimming excitement on social media. Most importantly, there was the understanding that a new chapter had opened for Africa's music ecosystem.

Before Spotify announced its entry in February, the Swedish audio streaming app which houses over 70 million songs and 2.6 million podcasts, was previously only available in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia. Its expansion, however now includes 38 more countries in Africa, adding music hubs like Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal and Sierra Leone. This development marks a new beginning for the streaming company, one which experts have predicted to have immense economic advantages, despite existing streaming platforms like Apple Music, Audiomack and Boomplay which pose competition.

Considering Spotify's existing popularity in many parts of Africa, even before it became widely available, these predictions are not so far-fetched. According to a Statista report, the revenue for music streaming in Africa is projected to reach $493 million come 2025.

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