• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Gen Z drives traditional music revival in Nigeria, Spotify data shows

Gen Z drives traditional music revival in Nigeria, Spotify data shows

A surge in Gen Z listenership for traditional genres like Fuji, Highlife, and Igbo Pop is driving an appetite for music genres outside of Afrobeats in Nigeria.

While Afrobeats continue to dominate the musical scene, other music genres grew significantly, according to Spotify’s recently released ‘Loud and Clear’ report for 2023. Gen Z (aged 18-24) comprised 32 percent of Fuji listeners, 31 percent of Highlife, and 46 percent of Igbo pop enthusiasts. This unexpected twist suggests a growing appreciation for these heritage sounds among Nigeria’s youngest generation.

Highlife, Fuji, Igbo pop culture renewal

Highlife is experiencing a fresh wave of popularity with Gen Z at the helm. The genre’s resurgence is fueled by the rise of young artists like The Cavemen and Umu Obiligbo, with the latter topping Spotify’s charts for the genre in 2023.

Established names like Kcee are credited with fusing contemporary afrobeat elements like amapiano with highlife, creating a hybrid sound dubbed ‘Ojapiano.’ This innovative approach was key in attracting younger listeners, including Gen Z, back to the genre.

This development marks a significant shift in the Nigerian music landscape, recently dominated by contemporary Afrobeats. The data suggests a growing interest in exploring the rich history of Nigerian music, potentially paving the way for a new era of exploration and innovation that blends the old with the latest. Other top artists from other homegrown genres include K1 De Ultimate for Fuji and Phyno for Igbo pop.

Streaming Surge

This trend is further amplified by a massive increase in listenership across these genres over the past year. Spotify reports a 224 percent increase for highlife, 303 percent for Igbo pop, and 187 percent for Fuji in the last 12 months.

According to the company, the first quarter of 2024 continued this surge, with listenership for Highlife, Fuji, and Igbo pop growing by 240 percent, 175 percent, and 270 percent, respectively, compared to Q1 2023.

Fan demographics and top tracks

While Gen Z leads the charge, Spotify’s data revealed that men still dominate the overall listenership for these local genres. For Fuji, Highlife, and Igbo pop, male listeners comprised 85 percent, 89 percent, and 81 percent, respectively.

Looking at specific tracks, fans jammed to Adewale Ayuba’s ‘Koloba Koloba’ for Fuji, reminisced with Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe’s nostalgic ‘Nwanem Ebezina’ for highlife, and grooved to Kcee’s genre-bending Ojapiano hit.

Local gems and global reach

The story doesn’t end there. Spotify reported that cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Katsina are leading the way in streaming these local favorites. This highlights the solid regional appeal of these genres.

However, Nigerian music’s influence extends far beyond its borders. Spotify revealed that the top five exported music genres from Nigeria are Afro beats, Nigerian pop, Afropop, Nigerian hip hop, and Afro R&B. This data underscores Nigerian music’s global reach and impact.

While Afrobeats continues its undisputed reign, a new generation is rediscovering the rich heritage of genres like Highlife, Fuji, and Igbo pop.