Grammy-winning Afrobeats star Burna Boy has been named as the No.1 most-streamed Nigerian artist of all time on Apple Music.
The music streaming platform shared the news as part of its ‘Oshe Naija’ campaign to highlight “Nigerian music’s rich history”, and coincides with the country’s 63rd year of independence.
Released on August 25, Burna Boy’s latest album I Told Them... broke the record for first-week streams by an African album on Apple Music. He also topped Apple Music’s albums chart in 69 countries simultaneously worldwide, which, according to Apple Music, was a new record for the Afrobeats genre.
Meanwhile, Wizkid (Apple‘s second most-streamed Nigerian artist) holds the record for the most-streamed African song of all time with Essence (feat. Tems), which reached the Daily Top 100 in more than 100 countries worldwide, and continues to chart three years after its release.
At No.3 is Davido, following the success of his 2022 album Timeless. Rounding out the top five is Asake, who has seen 11 songs reach the Global Daily Top 100 on Apple Music.
Also on Apple Music’s list of most-streamed Nigerian artists of all time is Superstar Rema (at No.4), who has had one of the biggest songs of the summer on Apple Music worldwide with the Afrobeats hit Calm Down, which now holds the record for the African single with the longest run in the Top 15 of the Global Daily Top 100 on Apple Music.
Rema also recently joined the ‘Billions Club’ on Spotify with his hit Calm Down, featuring Selena Gomez. According to Spotify, Rema’s milestone marked the first time an African artist–led track has racked up a billion streams on its platform.
Spotify reported that its data shows that the highest number of streams of Calm Down are coming from the US, India, Mexico, Brazil, and the UK, which it added was “proof that the song truly transcends borders”.
Further proof of Afrobeats’ continued global rise can be seen in that latter market, the UK, where Rema is scheduled to headline London’s O2 arena in November.
His upcoming arena appearance in the capital city of the world’s third largest recorded music follows a run of huge Afrobeats shows this summer.
In June, for example, Burna Boy (Apple Music’s No.1 most-streamed Nigerian artist of all time) made history in the UK by becoming the first-ever African artist to headline a UK stadium, performing in front of 60,000 fans. A month later, Nigerian superstar Wizkid performed to 45,000 fans at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Afrobeats’ arrival on some of the UK’s biggest stages this year coincided with it reaching the summit of the market’s Official Albums Chart.
That achievement arrived last month, when Burna Boy was confirmed by the Official Charts Company to have become the first-ever international Afrobeats artist to secure a UK No.1 album with, I Told Them… (Atlantic Records UK/Bad Habit)
Speaking with MBW last month, Austin Daboh EVP, Atlantic Records UK and President, Black Music said: “Burna’s success is not an isolated incident but a crescendo in a symphony that’s been playing for a while”.
He added: “Before this standout achievement, we’d witnessed Afrobeats steadily gaining ground, from making waves on the singles chart to resonating on platforms like radio and live shows. Burna selling out a stadium earlier this year was monumental, and it’s likely the harbinger of more such feats to come.
“As music continues to transcend borders further, Afrobeats has the potential to become as ubiquitous as other global genres, such as Latin beats. It feels like we’re on the cusp of an exciting musical revolution.’
“Burna is one of the most exciting artists globally, a pioneer for modern African music.”
Ed Howard, Atlantic Records UK
Ed Howard, Co-President of Atlantic Records UK, told us that, “The success of I Told Them is the culmination of over four years of collaboration with Burna Boy and his team, Bad Habit and Atlantic US”.
Howard added: “Burna is one of the most exciting artists globally, a pioneer for modern African music and it’s an honour to be part of his journey which shows no signs of slowing down.”
“As music continues to transcend borders further, Afrobeats has the potential to become as ubiquitous as other global genres.”
Austin Daboh, Atlantic Records UK
Commenting further on the global implications of Burna Boy’s success in the UK, Austin Daboh added: “Burna’s triumph symbolises the global rise of Afrobeats / Afro Fusion music” and that the artist’s success with this No.1 album “isn’t just a personal achievement but a sign of what’s to come.”
Daboh added: “At Atlantic, we’ve been seeing the signs for a while – the success of this album rubber stamps the genre’s universal appeal, cultural influence and industry acknowledgement.
“It’s also a testament to the broader recognition of African musical talent on the global stage – don’t forget it was only a few years ago that Afrobeats was considered ‘niche’. The genre now has a direct line to international audiences and is breaking boundaries in the UK and worldwide.
“Exciting collaborations, editorial support and festival line-ups point to a shift in the industry’s perception of the genre.”
Asked if Burna Boy can replicate his UK success in the United States, Daboh said: “Burna’s success in the UK provides a promising foundation for a similar trajectory in the United States, and he’s already made significant inroads in the US market.
“His collaborations with established artists and recognitions, such as winning a Grammy Award, demonstrate his considerable profile in the States. Although the US market has fierce and diverse competition, we’re confident that the excellent Atlantic / Bad Habit team in the States will continue delivering and growing his profile to create more history there.”Music Business Worldwide