Spotify’s African Heat gets a makeover, opening a new, ambitious chapter for continent’s music leading playlist

African Heat, Spotify’s flagship playlist for African music, is getting a makeover, opening a new chapter for the platform’s premier destination for African music.

The playlist, which boasts over 1 million followers on the platform, has become one of the leading vehicles for African music to reach new audiences in the streaming era. By helping listeners discover new and future African hits, it’s also become a nexus connecting fans of the continent’s music through a shared love of these iconic sounds.

With the increased global value and attention enjoyed by African music, as well as the expanding footprints left by its artists on stages and in arenas across the world, African Heat has shone a light and validated some of the continent’s most important songs and moments since its launch. Since 2018, African Heat has helped to herald such major hits as Ckay’s Love Nwantiti, Wizkid’s Essence, and  DBN Gogo’s Love and Loyalty, among others. The playlist has featured music from all corners of the continent, also providing a democratized platform for emerging talents to reach global ears.

Speaking on the importance of African Heat and the motivation behind its rebrand, Spotify’s Head of Music for sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu said, “For us, African Heat is about community and telling the story of Africa’s incredible music and creators for a global audience that has its ears perked. We’re glad to usher in an even more ambitious era for this definitive playlist, while also continuing to validate African music’s biggest records and connecting to millions the world over.”

The new iteration of African Heat will emphasize exposure to and awareness within Africa’s creator and listener communities. Channeling the movement of the music across the continent and beyond, the playlist’s rebrand draws direction from public transportation across Africa, particularly iconic vehicles like the trotro, danfo and matatu.

Further evoking the image of African Heat as a vehicle, the playlist will wear a new visual identity with an updated version of the now familiar cover that has played host to some of the continent’s biggest stars. The playlist name design now bears a registration number-inspired border, speedometer dials and a gradient that reflects the various forms of heat.

The campaign will also feature input from and conversations with some of Africa’s most exciting emerging and established artists, as well as live elements to bring the new African Heat to life and engage listeners.

Spotify data shows which African Heat artists have been hottest over the past 90 days, and where they are finding their audiences.

Top artists on African Heat in the last  90 days

  1. Asake

  2. Ayra Starr

  3. Omah Lay

  4. Fireboy DML

  5. Burna Boy

  6. Lojay

  7. Kizz Daniel

  8. Young Jonn

  9. Sarz

  10. Davido

Geographical location of users streaming African Heat in the last 90 days

  1. USA

  2. UK

  3. Nigeria

  4. France

  5. Kenya

  6. Germany

  7. Netherlands

  8. Canada

  9. South Africa

  10. Ghana

To connect to the premier streaming hub for African music and culture, tap into the revamped African Heat playlist on Spotify here.


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