Leading music giant Spotify, recently announced the launch of Afro Hub, the latest development in the line of Spotify-based music hubs dedicated to exploring culturally diverse music from around the world. The Afro Hub is a part of its Global Culture’s initiative which has seen the launch of Latin and Desi music hubs as well.
Africa is “the home continent of music historically,” Spotify MD of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Michael Krause said to Forbes at Spotify’s launch in South Africa. “This is our first African country, our first step onto this continent. It’s really great to be here.”
Led by Tunde Ogundipe, the new head of African music and Cultures at Spotify, Afro Hub will curate a wide range of music from within Africa and its diaspora as African music continues to make an impact and garner immense recognition all around the world, despite low internet penetration across the continent.
Music streaming services like Apple and Deezer tapped earlier into Africa’s growing music scene back in 2012. Last month, Tidal officially kicked off operations in Uganda—the second out of two countries in Africa currently accessing their services—about two months ago through a partnership with MTN.
Spotify’s category dedicated to African music enables both free and premium users subscribed to its services to access content such as News, Podcasts hosted by Yvonne Orji & Luvvie Ajayi, Victoria Crandall, Kelechi Okafor, and Tune Day & Bawo among others.
The new hub features already popular playlists like African Heat—the largest playlist for afrobeats on the global streaming service, as well as new titles like “Peppeh”, “Goldmine” for classic tracks, We Everywhere, a showcase of Diaspora Hits alongside new releases. Playlists categorised by region will also highlight the continent’s best tracks among the platform’s 2-billion playlists, and playlist takeovers from artists like Major Lazer, Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo, Wizkid, and Bas & Mereba will allow artists to create a playlist of favourite songs under the Afro Hub, which will then be featured as a Spotify highlight.
According to a press release from Spotify: “It’s our mission to uncover every layer of this ancient, expressive and rhythmic musical culture which is an important component of today’s mainstream, modern music. Comprised of a variety of different styles, African music has influenced genres in the U.S. and abroad for centuries.”
There are plans for other countries in Africa, according to the streaming giant, but no specific plans have been announced yet. Spotify has 159 million users worldwide, of which 71 million pay for the premium service. With control of about 42 percent of the global music streaming market, the Swedish firm is valued at $23 billion, double that of its closest rival Apple Music.