5 exciting facts you did not know about Afrobeats


Following the launch of Spotify's new initiative for Afrobeats, here are five shocking and unknown facts you did not know about sound and its evolution.

Today, Wednesday, June 22, 2023, global digital streaming platform giant Spotify announced the launch of an exciting initiative for the fast-growing Afrobeats sound. The streaming platform confirmed the launch of a website Afrobeats: Journey of a Billion Streams, solely focused on tracking the history, growth and development of one of the biggest genres out of Africa.

Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Spotify’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, when speaking on the initiative, revealed, “There is no doubt that Afrobeats as a genre is here to stay, and will only continue to shatter more ceilings. In 2023 alone, the genre has been played for more than 223 million hours with streams exceeding 7.1 billion on Spotify. We created this site for both new and longtime fans of the genre, who would like to have a better understanding of how and where this explosive sound came to be.”

The website, which is fully functional at the moment, has revealed shocking facts many did not know about the Afrobeats genre, and here are some of these facts:

The first music video to be played on MTV base Africa TV station

Many might not know, but 2Baba's evergreen song African Queen was the first music video played on MTV Base Africa when it was launched on February 22, 2005. This was a defining moment for Afrobeats in history as the song as well as its music video, also put Afrobeats to the rest of the world in the initial stage. It also led to 2Baba winning the Best African Act award at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2005.

First sold-out Afrobeats festival in the UK

facts about Afrobeats
AfroRepublik festival 2018

Starboy Wizkid headlined the first Afrobeats festival in the UK, the AfroRepublik festival, on May 26, 2018. The biggest bird was the headline act at the sold-out event, which was held at the iconic O2 arena in London. Wiz went on to sell out the venue for three nights in a row in 2021.

First solo Afrobeats artist to sell out O2 arena

Davido Billboard 'Timeless'

Davido, on January 27, 2019, became the first solo Afrobeats artist to sell out the O2 arena in London. This was a turning point as top acts such as Wizkid and Burna Boy also held sold-out solo concerts at the venue. Rema and Asake have also announced dates for their solo concerts at the O2 arena in 2023.

First Afrobeats artist to win a Grammy award

Wizkid and Burna Boy
Wizkid and Burna Boy

Burna Boy and Wizkid became the first Afrobeats artists to win the prestigious Grammy awards. Both acts bagged the first Grammy for Afrobeats artists on the same night on, March 14, 2021. Burna Boy won the Best Global Album category with his iconic project Twice As Tall while Wiz received the Grammy award for the Best Music Video following his contribution and collaboration with Beyonce on the hit song Brown Skin Girl. The growth of Afrobeats in 2023 was immense as the Recording Academy introduced a new category for the genre that is currently taking over the world.

First Afrobeats song to chart on Billboard Hot 100

Wizkid Unveils Tracklist for MIL Deluxe Essence Hits New Billboard Peak NotjustOK
The Billboard Hot 100 chart update when Essence unlocked a new peak of number 16 on the chart.

Wizkid's Essence featuring Tems changed the directory of afrobeats in 2020 as it became the first Afrobeats song to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a chart strictly for how popular a song is in the United States of America. The song peaked at number nine on the chart, but many would call this a turning point as now we have the highest peaking song on the Hot 100 chart as Rema's Calm Down remix, which features Selena Gomez.

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