Afrobeats to The World – Pros & Cons

The movement “Afrobeats to the World,” predominantly advocated in the Twitter space, stands as a rallying cry symbolizing Afrobeats’ breakthrough onto the global stage, evolving into one of the most influential music genres worldwide. Notable milestones, such as Rema’s billion-streamed song and Burna Boy and Wizkid’s Grammy Awards, as well as numerous certifications for songs and albums, headline appearances at various international festivals, and sold-out shows across the globe, underscore Afrobeats’ established phenomenon in recent years.

Despite the glamour surrounding this cultural phenomenon, every silver lining has a cloud. It is imperative to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of the rapid and extensive propagation of Afrobeats across the world. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons, examining the impact and implications of Afrobeats’ global ascendancy.



In every endeavour, the primary goal of venturing into anything is to achieve global recognition. Afrobeats, like any other music genre, aspires to spread its influence to every nook and cranny of the world. This ambition has been made possible through the “Afrobeats to the World” agenda. The distinctive Afrobeats sound has transcended geographical boundaries, reaching far beyond Africa and gaining prominence in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and beyond.

The global dissemination of Afrobeats has become so widespread that any reasonably popular Afrobeats artist already possesses a substantial international presence. Moreover, emerging talents are now embarking on tours outside Africa, marking a significant milestone that was almost unheard of in the genre’s history. The movement has not only enriched the global music landscape but has also elevated Afrobeats artistes to the status of international stars. The “Afrobeats to the World” initiative has played a pivotal role in breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for artistes to connect with diverse audiences worldwide.


The global propagation of Afrobeats has opened up avenues for expanding and exposing the audience to this vibrant musical genre. The widespread reach of Afrobeats has resulted in the formation of a diverse and extensive fan base spanning every corner of the globe. This phenomenon has been evident in recent years, with our homegrown stars making appearances on international charts, including the prestigious Billboard charts, where we have firmly established our status. This global recognition extends to other official charts in countries such as the Netherlands, France, and various overseas territories.

Wizkid at the Tottenham Stadium
Wizkid at the Tottenham Stadium

The expansion of the Afrobeats audience is further exemplified by the frequent presence of our artistes on almost every major festival and concert worldwide. Our audience has grown exponentially, and we’ve become highly sought after by our ever-expanding fanbase across the globe. Notable instances include the reception given to Burna Boy during his Coachella episode, as well as the consistent presence of Afrobeats artistes at festivals worldwide. A crowning achievement in this regard is the establishment of our very own Afro Nation, a festival held BXNacross different parts of the world.


The “Afrobeats to the World ” movement has paved the way for numerous international collaborations across various dimensions, involving both Afrobeats artistes and international entities. These collaborations materialize on different levels, encompassing interactions between artistes and producers, artistes and labels, artistes and brands, brand-to-brand collaborations, and label-to-label partnerships.

Rema & Selena Gomez Win First-ever Afrobeats Award At 2023 MTV VMAs
Rema & Selena Gomez Win First-ever Afrobeats Award At 2023 MTV VMAs

In the realm of artiste/producer to artiste/producer collaborations, several groundbreaking examples have shaken the industry. Notably, the collaboration between Wizkid and Beyonce on “Brown Skin Girl” not only secured a place on the Billboard charts but also garnered a Grammy award. Similarly, Rema’s collaboration with Selena Gomez on “Calm Down” not only earned Billboard glory but also accolades at the MTV and VMA awards and marked the first Afrobeats song to achieve a billion streams, not forgetting Davido and Lojay earning their first Billboard placement thanks to “Sensational” a Chris Brown feature. Additionally, Burna Boy’s partnership with P. Diddy as the executive producer of “Twice as Tall” resulted in a Grammy win.

Expanding to other dimensions, there are myriad instances of artist-to-label collaborations, with artistes like BNXN and Asake partnering with labels such as Empire, and Pheelz signing with Warner Music. Afrobeats artistes have also made significant strides in collaborations with international brands, exemplified by Davido’s association with Puma, Burna Boy’s collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, and Adekunle Gold’s involvement with Manchester United x ADIDAS for “LFSTLR.” The collaborations extend to the label-to-label domain as well, with YBNL’s partnership with Empire and the recent major stake acquisition by Universal Music Group (UMG) in Mavin Global. These collaborations signify not only the global appeal of Afrobeats but also the increasing integration of Afrobeats artistes and entities into the international music and business landscape.

In essence, the “Afrobeats to the World” movement has created a dynamic ecosystem of collaborations, fostering connections and synergies that contribute to the genre’s continued growth and influence on a global scale.


The globalization of the Afrobeats genre has opened up significant economic opportunities for the music industry. The expansion and exposure of fans have led to widespread support, resulting in a larger fan base willing to support and spend on artistes. This, in turn, has had a profound impact on the revenue generated by artistes, particularly in live shows.

Burna at Paris La Défense Arena
Burna at Paris La Défense Arena

Taking Burna Boy as a notable example, the globalization of Afrobeats allowed him to sell out prestigious venues such as the London Stadium with a capacity of over 60,000, generating his highest revenue of over $2.8 million at his Paris show. Similarly, Wizkid reportedly received a million dollars for his performance at the Rolling Loud festival. The lucrativity of live shows has witnessed an extraordinary surge, showcasing the immense global demand for Afrobeats performances.

Supported by statistics, the revenue generated by Nigerian artistes from platforms like Spotify alone exceeded 11 Billion NGN in 2022. The overall revenues of the Nigerian music industry grew by 63% from 2021 to 2022, with IFPI reporting a staggering 74% growth in revenues generated by Nigerian artistes from Spotify during the same period.

These economic opportunities extend beyond live shows to various avenues such as brand deals, business ventures, and record deals. Artistes have capitalized on their global appeal to secure lucrative partnerships, contributing to the overall economic growth of the Afrobeats industry. The globalization of Afrobeats has also created tourism opportunities, attracting enthusiasts from around the world to experience the roots of this vibrant music genre in Nigeria.



The expansion of the Afrobeats sound and the multitude of lucrative opportunities within the industry undeniably offer significant advantages. However, this prosperity has given rise to the overcommercialization of the music, where the emphasis on the business aspects often overshadows considerations for creativity, culture, and originality. This trend has become increasingly noticeable in Afrobeats, where the pursuit of financial gain sometimes leads to seemingly irrational decisions made by artistes and music professionals.

A notable example illustrating this issue is seen in Davido’s “Timeless” album. While the following observation is speculative and comes from an uninformed spectator, it appears that the extensive marketing and promotion efforts directed towards the track “Unavailable” may be indicative of overcommercialization in Afrobeats. This heavy focus on one specific track tends to overlook the many other valuable gems present on the album. The concentration on “Unavailable” can be interpreted as aligning with a formulaic approach, conforming to the mould of a generic Afrobeats hit tailored for platforms like TikTok.

This tendency also extends to the recent trend of numerous seemingly gratuitous features on hit songs in Afrobeats, as seen in songs like “KULOSA” and “Buga,” among others. This pattern raises concerns about the prioritization of marketability over musical substance, potentially diluting the authenticity and unique artistic expressions that have traditionally defined Afrobeats.


When a genre attains popularity, a domino effect ensues, where a specific sound becomes a perceived recipe or pattern for a hit song. This pattern, once established, tends to be adopted by various artistes in the genre, resulting in a scramble to conform to the identified formula. In the case of Afrobeats, a notable example was the prevalence of crowd vocals, which became the norm for a period, leading to oversaturation as almost every Afrobeats song followed this pattern.

This trend subsequently extended to Amapiano, with numerous Afrobeats artistes, irrespective of their original genre, jumping on the Amapiano bandwagon. Another prevalent trend involves releasing various versions of songs—slowed down, sped up, acapella, among others—to cater to the TikTok market. This homogeneity contributes to oversaturation within the industry, with an abundance of songs following overly similar patterns, leading to listener fatigue and a sense of monotony. The widespread adoption of these patterns can stifle innovation and creativity, as artistes may prioritize conformity over originality in the pursuit of perceived commercial success.


In the process of the widespread propagation of the Afrobeats genre, a significant and concerning issue arises—the danger of cultural appropriation. This occurs when foreign artistes adopt the genre, potentially sidelining indigenous performers on international stages. In many cases, the history of the genre is misrepresented, giving credit primarily to outsiders while overlooking the substantial contributions of indigenous performers who have had a significant impact.

While the notion of cultural appropriation might seem akin to gatekeeping, a specific example illustrates why it poses a significant problem. In 2022, SOJA, an American reggae band, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album over indigenous reggae acts like Spice, Sean Paul, Spica, and others. While this may appear inconspicuous, it acts as a catalyst, initiating a snowball effect where foreign acts end up exerting more influence on the genre than its indigenous originators. This trend raises concerns about the potential erasure of the genre’s cultural roots and the overshadowing of its authentic contributors.


This requires little elaboration; a simple observation of our top artistes and the frequency of their shows in Nigeria speaks volumes about this phenomenon. Nowadays, the home country seems to serve as a mere stopover or a place to deliver fragments of performances experienced elsewhere.

As the root and primary base of Afrobeats, our artistes have done a disservice in prioritizing their home country. Our national pride, including awards, arena shows, and other significant events, has been consistently sidelined, while performances and recognition abroad are more enthusiastically embraced.

Afrobeats to the World is a force that cannot be halted, and as it continues to reshape the global music landscape, it brings both opportunities and challenges. To navigate this evolution successfully, strategic planning, cultural preservation, and a commitment to nurturing the authenticity of the genre are essential. By taking deliberate steps to address the challenges and capitalize on the advantages, the Afrobeats movement can further solidify its position as a dynamic and influential force in the world of music.

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