The Rise And Rise Of An East Asian Music Genre In Africa

Published 1 year ago
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – Season 8
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1330A -- Pictured in this screengrab: Musical guest BTS performs on October 2, 2020 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


As 433 million Spotify users across the world get a peek at what their most popular songs are in 2022 as per ‘Spotify Wrapped’, it does come as a surprise that in sub-Saharan Africa, there’s been a 93% year-on-year increase in the popularity of K-Pop streams.

Key Background

According to Swedish audio streaming and media services provider, Spotify, this year, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for over 3 billion hours of streaming for the East Asian musical genre K-Pop.

K-Pop is a form of popular music originating in South Korea that has dominated the music industry globally. The virality of South Korean artist Psy’s 2012 smash hit Gangnam Style, first saw the rise of the genre.


“It’s clear from this data that K-Pop is not just a passing phase, but has a devoted and growing African fandom,” says Spotify’s head of music for sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu.

Some of the key markets contributing to this increase are Nigeria, where there was a 267% increase in K-Pop streams, Ghana with 236% and Kenya that saw a 140% increase.

Although genres like Amapiano and Afrobeats continued to be on the rise on the continent, it did gain a lot of popularity in 2022 across the globe. According to Spotify, Amapiano became South Africa’s hottest genre, with artists like Ntokozo Mdluli, known professionally as K.O, claiming the seat for the most-streamed song in South Africa with his single SETE.

FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 alum, Kabelo Petrus Motha (Kabza De Small), was 2022’s most streamed artist.


Spotify reported that Amapiano surpassed a billion global streams as they predicted it would in May this year.

In South Africa, Amapiano started out as an underground genre where music was shared amongst artists and producers via applications such as WhatsApp, Okumu said to FORBES AFRICA in August.

“It has since become one of the most popular genres on the continent and has gained great momentum internationally. Amapiano musicians are dominating the South African music landscape.”

“South Africans can be proud of what their creatives in music are achieving. They are making noise in the right places, and at the right time,” says Warren Bokwe, Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager in South Africa.


“Streaming has become instrumental in not only enabling the discovery of African music abroad but also in exposing African listeners to new and unexpected sounds,” Okumu adds.

Big Numbers

According to Macrotrends, Spotify’s net worth as of December 2022 is $15.02 billion.