After expanding to 37 countries in Africa last year, Apple Music is establishing influence, subscribers and greater global reach for local artists, according to Billboard.
In April 2020, Apple Music, previously available in only 13 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, was expanded to 17 additional African countries.
“The strategy has been very much about trying to make sure that we’re representing as many countries as we possibly can be,” Karl Anderson, Apple Music’s head of music in Africa, who’s based in South Africa, told Billboard. “It’s about serving up a hyper-local editorial experience for our subscribers on the continent. We have playlists covering every possible genre, region and country, we’ve recruited some of Africa’s top creatives — designers, photographers — to make sure that the artwork that we’re serving up feels authentic to those particular countries or genres.”
While Apple declined to provide hard numbers, it says both subscribers and plays were up 40% year over year for the continent as a whole through its fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and the 25 new countries have generated more than 100 million plays in the five months between launch and that date.
Billboard says that in Nigeria and South Africa, Apple Music is also growing: In Nigeria, streams grew 119% year over year and subscribers doubled, while in South Africa, Apple’s biggest music territory on the continent, plays and subscribers both grew more than 20% year over year.
Through Sept. 30, Apple says that plays of all African music genres were up 114% globally, and 138% outside of Africa, particularly in countries like the U.S. (up 113%), Canada (up 96%), the U.K. (up 91%), France (up 76%) and Germany (up 124%), as well as Russia (up 77%), Australia (up 65%) and Japan (up 89%).