• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Why Afrobeats artists are pushing into Latin American market

Why Afrobeats artists are pushing into Latin American market

Afrobeats artists collaborating with Latin music stars is steadily becoming another strategy for breaking new ground and expanding the listener base.

Recently, Omah Lay released the music video of the remix of his hit song ‘Soso’ where he featured Puerto Rican singer Ozuna. Ozuna who has recently picked interest in the Afrobeats genre released an Afrobeats-themed album ‘Afro’ which features a guest verse from one of Afrobeats top stars, Davido on the track titled ‘Eva Longoria’.

As these two vibrant musical genres intertwine, their collaboration promises to transcend borders and expand the ever-growing market of Afrobeats, while presenting a unique opportunity for the global community to come together in the universal language of music.

This fusion not only highlights the historical ties between African rhythms and Latin melodies but also serves as a testament to the transformative power of artistic collaboration in building bridges of understanding and appreciation worldwide.

The inescapable Afrobeats track ‘Calm Down’ by Rema featuring American pop star Selena Gomez is not slowing down this summer season becoming the number one song on American radio on July 1 2023 as it is unavoidably heard in ocean hangouts and grocery stores globally.

Femi Akeusola, a Nigerian photographer and music business enthusiast speaking on the recent trend said that Afrobeats artists have now found compatibility with their Latino counterparts.

“They have found an uncommon chemistry and the union has produced some very amazing records. One of the best things to have come out of the collaboration is the most decorated music in the history of Afrobeats by whatever parameters there are to judge, ‘Calm Down’ remix by Rema featuring Selena Gomez.”

With the original version hitting over 400 million streams on Spotify and the remix less than a hundred million streams short of 1 billion streams on Spotify Akeusola labelled the success of the song recorded commercially ‘unheard of ’ for an Afrobeats track before recently.

“While some have argued that Selena did Rema a favour by jumping on the track, she has come out recently to openly thank Rema for putting her on the well-decorated track. No matter your leanings concerning who did who a favour, one truth holds still, the track is a win-win for both parties and they are both enjoying the success of the song,” Akeusola said.

Burna Boy headlined the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show by Pepsi alongside Brazil’s Anitta, who also has a huge listener base in the Latino community. In 2022, the ‘Last Last’ singer featured Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin on the song ‘Rollercoaster’ from his album ‘Love Damini’. The song was a fusion of Afrobeats and Reggaeton, and it proved to be a winning combination getting over a million streams across all platforms.

But why are Afrobeats artists so keen to break into the Latin market? One reason is the sheer size of the Latin music industry. According to a mid-year 2023 report by Luminate, the world of music has surpassed 1 trillion streams in just three months – a feat achieved a full month earlier than in 2022. The report also revealed that 69 percent of U.S. music listeners have a distinct preference for artists originating outside the U.S., with Latin music and K-pop leading the charge.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Latin music was the second fastest-growing genre in the world in 2022, with a 25.9 percent increase in global revenue. This growth was largely driven by streaming accounting for 85.2 percent, with platforms like Spotify and Apple Music seeing huge increases in Latin music streams.

Obi Asika, Nigerian music executive and founder of Storm 360, an indigenous music label, told BusinessDay that Afrobeats as a movement is on the move to target any market because of the synergy it has with other artists around the world. He said Afrobeats can work with any other artist around the world with the Latin market not an exception as it possesses original African influence.

Ikpeme Neto, music enthusiast, and lifestyle journalist in one of his articles reviewing Angelique Kidjo’s Grammy-winning album ‘Celia’ which was a tribute to Celia Cruz, the Cuban music legend explained that songs from the album were a re-imagination of Africanness despite being a tribute to a Cuban music legend. He said the fusion was not a surprise considering the roots of Cuban music are found in the percussion-heavy musical styles native to West Africa.

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While the ‘Celia’ work was more of a tribute and a recognition of shared cultural roots, collaborations such as ‘Eva Longoria’, a track from Ozuna featuring Afrobeats star Davido from his 2023 album ‘Afro’ looks more like a move to expand listener base, at least from Davido’s point of view. Analysts also think these unions are still in their infancy and the success which comes from the remixes have a ripple effect on the original works.

“It is however important to note that the collaboration and union is still in its experimental stage as most of the records to have come out of it are mostly remixes with original versions enjoying success, however with the success rates of the remixes, I think both parties understand that they have a certain level of compatibility and there’s great potential in whatever they come together to create,” said, Akeusola.

By collaborating with Latin artists, Afrobeats artists are looking to create new sounds and explore new musical territories to tap into this growing market and reach new audiences.

And it’s not just the artists themselves who are excited about these collaborations. Streaming platforms like Spotify have also been quick to embrace the trend. Spotify launched dedicated Afro-Latino playlists which feature a curated selection of songs from both genres.

For example, Playlists like ‘Afro Ritmo’ has songs that feature collaborations like Mr. Eazi featuring J Balvin’s song Lento, Omah Lay’s Latino remix of the hit song ‘Soso’, Kizz Daniels’ Cough remix with Becky G, Oxlade and Camilla Cabello’s ‘KU LO SA’ remix, and ‘COMO UN BEBE’ by J Balvin and Bad Bunny featuring Mr. Eazy which saw significant streaming numbers among other collaborations.

And with the continued growth of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, there is no doubt that we will see more and more collaborations with not only Latin artists but other global music acts in the years to come.

“Afrobeats is in phase one of its global growth and journey, constantly refreshing with new sounds and new talents. And we can see Burna selling out stadiums and doing the champions league final as well as the NBA halftime show. Wizkid was on mainstage with a full set at Glastonbury and recently Davido was on stage at the BET Awards. With All of this happening the next phase of stars are coming through with Rema, Arya Starr, Asake, Ruger, and now Odumodublvck and more,” Asika said.

Giving props to the A&Rs who make these collaborations happen, Akeusola said, “It is one thing to have an amazing record, however, it takes a considerable level of genius to find the best fit for a feature of the same song that would make such a similar statement as this song has done.”

The distinctiveness of the instrumentation of Afrobeats sounds and the very lyrically rich Latino music seems like a good recipe for good vibes these days.

As the world becomes increasingly connected, music has the power to break down barriers and bring people together. And with Afrobeats artists looking to break into the Latin market, we can expect to see some truly exciting collaborations soon. So whether you’re a fan of Afrobeats or Latin music, there’s never been a better time to explore the exciting world of cross-genre collaborations.