Should Africans be excited about America’s Billboard Afrobeats charts? [Pulse Editor’s Opinion]

It can be a good idea.

On March 22, 2021, America’s premier chart publication, Billboard, announced that it would launch an weekly Afrobeats Chart in partnership with Afronation, which will document the Top 50 African songs in America. This comes two years after the UK launched an Afrobeats chart, which could also document their own Afrobeats/Afro-Fusion/Afroswing songs.

Already, Billboard aggregates its charts based on streams across the most popular music streaming platforms; Apple Music, YouTube, YouTube Music, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon Music, and streaming platforms that are popular in America.

In 2021, the company also announced that it now aggregates streams from Audiomack and Boomplay in its charts. Billboard, which has over a 100 charts, which tracks music from streaming, direct sales, radio, rhythmic radio and other platforms, also has a Triller Chart, which Nigerian artists have been dominating since inception.

Already, Nigerians and Africans dominate the World Music charts.

The first Afrobeats chart will be published on March 29, 2022. The chart will only aggregate the consumption of African music on American soil, not African music across the world or African music in Africa.

Is it a good or bad idea?

It can be a good idea. It’s also an endorsement of the growing impact of Afrobeats. K-Pop got its chart in 2011, leading up to the success of ‘Gangnam Style.’

Going forward, there will be a difference between the biggest Nigerian song and the biggest Nigerian song in Nigeria, because our music is now a global community.

We’ll see a lot of songs achieve incredible numbers on Apple Music and Spotify, without really charting high anywhere. We’d also see Nigerian songs that won’t be big in Nigeria, but will be big across the world. We need to make that distinction fast.

For example, ‘Love Nwantiti’ was never big in Nigeria in 2021 or it wasn’t one of the biggest songs in Nigeria that year. But it was one of the biggest songs in the world. People are saying that it’s because of media, but it wasn’t. Nigerian had enjoyed the song in 2020. We’d moved on when the world started loving it. Simple…

Will we get an Afrobeats category at the Grammy soon?

Yes. But as I noted earlier, it should be called an African Music category, not an Afrobeats category.


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