Online streaming service Spotify has added three new playlists which showcase the diversity of East African music from across a range of genres, including Hip Hop, R&B and Zilizopendwa. The first playlist, called “254 Flow” takes its name from Kenya’s international dialling code and contains the best “bars, beats, and rhymes” from the country’s hip-hop artists. The playlist, which is targeted at 18 to 24-year-olds (extending to 25 to 34-year-olds) will sit in the Hip-Hop Hub. It will comprise a mixture of established artists and new and upcoming acts, for whom it will act as a launchpad. The playlist will be updated every two weeks, with different artists being showcased on the cover.
The second playlist is called “Eastern Vibes” and is designed to showcase alternative music from across East Africa. The genre playlist will sit on the R&B Hub. Targeted at people in their twenties, the playlist will highlight underground alternative and new wave singers. The songs on the playlist could easily extend to mood music. Eastern Vibes will be updated every week, with the artist featured on the playlist cover changing twice a month.
The third and final East African playlist is called Zilizopendwa. Taken from the Swahili term for “what was loved”, the playlist will honour Kenyan classics from the 80s and 90s. It will include music from a variety of genres, including Rhumba, Rock-Rhumba, Chakacha and Benga. Targeted at people aged 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, it will feature artists from Kenya, Tanzania, and Congo, and will be updated once a month.
All three playlists will be available on both Spotify Freemium and Premium. Together, they underline Spotify’s commitment to providing something for everyone, especially when you take the Swahili focus into consideration.
Since launching in Kenya in February this year, Spotify has rolled out a number of playlists aimed specifically at fans of East African music, with the latest three just part of a growing library of regional artists. The playlists offer established artists a fresh way to reach fans, while also giving new artists much-needed exposure.
According to a 2021 report from PWC, revenues from Kenyan entertainment, media, and advertising companies are set to be worth Ksh900 billion by 2025. Thanks to high smartphone penetration and internet accessibility, growth rates in these industries will be among the highest on the continent and will be further aided by companies such as Spotify.