Spotify has launched Wrapped 2023, its annual review of how people listened to music and podcasts on the streaming platform.
The review shows the trends, preferences, and habits of Kenyans in the past year. Some of the highlights include viral hits, a boy band’s hiatus, a new genre’s recognition, and a global showcase of Kenyan R&B.
For Kenyans, there have been viral hits, Kenya’s foremost boy band taking a hiatus, Gengetone being recognised as a genre for Grammy consideration, and Spotify partnering with COLORSxSTUDIOS to showcase Kenyan R&B to a global audience. All this to say, it’s been an interesting year musically, and Spotify Wrapped is right there with the receipts.
“The Kenyan music scene has grown exponentially since our last Wrapped, and it is refreshing to see a Kenyan artist in the top streamed list. Our mission to amplify homegrown artists to global stages continues steadfastly,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify SSA’s Head of Music.
Saturday leads as the top streaming day and 4 pm is the top streaming hour. They say Kenyans love a good party, and the data concurs. Surprisingly, though, Tuesday comes in as the third most popular streaming day, after Friday, so maybe recovering from the Monday blues?
A look at the top list shows Kenyans’ enduring love for hip-hop, and Drake, who is topping the list for the third year in a row, is also the top streamed artist among 18- to 34-year-olds and the most searched on Spotify in Kenya.
The top streamed tracks list, on the other hand, is dominated by Afrobeats, with the only exception being Darassa and Bien’s collaboration No Body in sixth place. A look at the top genres puts this into perspective, as rap, pop, afro beats, hip hop, and R&B are top Kenyans’ favourite genres.
Virality is the dream for a lot of artists, especially in the age of social media. Kinoti’s Nitangoja is the second-most viral track on Spotify in Kenya, meaning users shared it widely so their friends and family could also enjoy the R&B goodness. Sasa Hivi by V-Be and Ashley Music struck a relatable chord with Kenyan R&B lovers, making it the 10th most viral song.
Female artists may be lacking in the top lists, but there has actually been a 61% increase in the streams in Kenya, in comparison to globally, which had a 27% increase. Karun and Nikita Kering’, Xenia Manasseh, a Spotify RADAR artist, are both in the top ten most exported Kenyan artists. Nikita Kering’ is the only female artist in the top ten most streamed Kenyan artists.
With podcasting, the women take the day, with the first three of the top-streamed podcasts in Kenya all being female-led. So This Is Love, The Messy In Between and It’s Related, I Promise are the top streamed podcasts in Kenya, in that order.
Wakadinali is not only the sole Kenyan artist in the top streamed list, landing at number 8, but they are also the most searched artist in Kenya on Spotify, and their album Ndani ya Cockpit 3 ranks 10 as the most streamed album. The hip-hop duo has evidently resonated with listeners.
Kenyans cannot seem to get enough of Ayra Starr, who is the fourth and only female artist on the top-streamed list. Her track Rush was the top streamed song in Kenya in 2023 and was also the top song every day from 1 January to 23 March, coinciding with her March 4 performance in the country, then again from 5 April to 2 May, only interrupted by Ruger’s Asiwaju on 11 April. Asiwaju then took over again from 3 May to 9 May, making it the second most streamed song in Kenya
But it’s not just Kenyans who love Rush; across SSA, it was the top streamed song from January 2 to January 19 January. In Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia, it was also the top-streamed track in 2023
Nyashinski’s Perfect Design had music lovers on hold when it launched, it was the top song every day from 26 October (a day after it was released) to 2 November
The late Congolese Rhumba musician, Madilu System had a major fanbase in Kenya, who still continue to stream his music, 16 years after his death. His song Ya Jean – Remix is fifth while RTC Riva is 11th in the throwback list. His album Femme Legitime is the 10th most steamed throwback album
While K-POP fans seem to be Gen Zs going by online conversations, who would have guessed that in Kenya, 35-44-year-olds are the ones listening to them the most? Jung Kook is the most streamed artist in this age group, and BTS (which Jung Kook is part of) is at number seven. Jung Kook’s Seven featuring Latto and Dreamers are the two top streamed tracks in this age group, adding to the surprise.