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Spotify celebrates one year in Kenya, reports 1.2million user generated playlists

 Spotify has celebrated one year of operations since its launch in Kenya and is already seeing Kenyan music lovers discovering more music, local artists finding a megaphone for their work, and Kenyan genres getting exported across the globe.

According to the platform, there were a total of 1.2million user generated playlists, and the most loved local playlist is Hot Hits Kenya. Spotify also recorded a 25% increase in the number of Kenyan artists, and 8,730 songs were added to the platform by creators.

Some of the popular Spotify playlists include NairoBae, derived from the term of endearment that the city dwellers call Nairobi, highlights the best RnB from the city. 254 Flow is for all rap lovers who want to explore the rap scene in Kenya while New Music Friday Kenya spotlights newly released music from the country, every Friday. Zilizopendwa is a throwback playlist with tracks from the 80s and 90s that made radio what it was back then. If you want to get your dose of Kenyan music across all genres, then the Made in Kenya playlist is definitely the one to listen to.

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The firm also adds that since launch, the average number of artists streamed per user has grown by 17% with Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu as top Spotify cities.The most streamed Kenyan artist is Sauti Sol, followed by Sol Records’ Nviiri The Storyteller. Otile Brown is third, then Nyashinski and finally the other Sol Records artist, Bensoul.

Niko Sawa by Nviiri The Storyteller and Bien is the most streamed Kenyan song. Nikita Kering’s Ex is second, a huge feat for the 19-year-old star who is also the only woman in the top ten. An ode to the city’s dating scene, Nairobi by Bensoul comes in third. H_art the Band’s My Jaber (Friday) is fourth, followed by Dusuma by Otile Brown.

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Local artists have found a megaphone for their work, and the top exported local artists are Sauti Sol, followed by Jeff Kaale, then Otile Brown. Ayub Ogada is the fourth top exported local artist and Nviiri The Storyteller rounds off the top five.

Eight out of the ten songs exported are all collaborations, probably due to the combination of two different fan bases. Wanani Remix by Bahati, Benzema, Mejja, Odi Wa Muranga and Petra Ssaru is the top exported song, with most of the plays coming in from the USA. Bensoul’s collaboration with Mejja, Nviiri The Storyteller and Sauti Sol in Nairobi puts it in second place. It is followed by Melanin, a collaboration between Sauti Sol and Patoranking. Ayub Ogada’s Kothbiro is fourth and the only non-collaboration song in the top five. Extravaganza, the song by Sauti Sol and featuring Bensoul, Crystal Asige, Kaskazini and Nviiri The Storyteller, is fifth.

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The countries where the top five exported songs were most streamed are USA, UK, Canada in that order, with the exception of Ayub Ogada’s Kothbiro where it was most streamed in USA, Germany then Netherlands.The top emerging artist is Wanavokali, and the top local genre is Gengetone.

The full breakdown of the top lists is below.

Most streamed Kenyan artists

  1. Sauti Sol

  2. Nviiri The Storyteller

  3. Otile Brown

  4. Nyashinski

  5. Bensoul

  6. Wakadinali


  8. H_art the Band

  9. Mejja

  10. Khaligraph Jones

Most streamed Kenyan songs

  1. Nviiri The Storyteller, Bien – Niko Sawa

  2. Nikita Kering’ – Ex

  3. Bensoul, Mejja, Nviiri The Storyteller, Sauti Sol – Nairobi

  4. H_art the Band, Brizy Annechild – My Jaber (Friday)

  5. Otile Brown, Meddy – Dusuma

  6. Nviiri The Storyteller – Kitenge

  7. Chris Kaiga, Mutoriah – I Want 

  8. Chris Kaiga, Nyashinski  – Hapo Tu

  9. NDOVU KUU, Khaligraph Jones, Boutross Munene – NDOVU NI KUU

  10. Mbuzi Gang, Mejja – Shamra Shamra

Top exported Kenya artists

  1. Sauti Sol

  2. Jeff Kaale

  3. Otile Brown

  4. Ayub Ogada

  5. Nviiri The Storyteller

  6. Willy Paul

  7. Bensoul

  8. Stella Mwangi

  9. Nyashinski

  10. Karun

Top exported Kenyan songs

  1. Bahati, Benzema, Mejja, Odi Wa Muranga, Petra Ssaru – Wanani – Remix

  2. Bensoul, Mejja, Nviiri The Storyteller, Sauti Sol – Nairobi

  3. Sauti Sol, Patoranking – Melanin

  4. Ayub Ogada – Kothbiro

  5. Sauti Sol, Bensoul, Crystal Asige, Kaskazini, Nviiri The Storyteller – Extravaganza

  6. Sauti Sol, Nyashinski – Short N Sweet

  7. Willy Paul, Alaine – I Do

  8. Otile Brown, Meddy – Dusuma

  9. Sauti Sol – Suzanna

  10. Sauti Sol, RedFourth Chorus – Kuliko Jana

Emerging / breakout artists

  1. Wanavokali

  2. Taylor Torch

  3. Bon’eye

  4. Groovy Jo

  5. Nikita Kering’

Top Spotify playlists

  1. Hot Hits Kenya

  2. Today’s Top Hits

  3. African Heat

  4. Made In Kenya

  5. RapCaviar

  6. Soft Pop Hits

  7. Mood Booster

  8. Mega Hit Mix

  9. Afropop

  10. Gengetone Fire

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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