How Nigerian Gen Zs are influencing music streaming trends

Gen Zs are driving listenership of local music while helping to push international artists and genres into Nigeria's listening mix.

How Nigerian Gen Zs are influencing music streaming trends
Rema, a Gen Z who is a top Nigerian artist on Spotify

Globally, Gen Z makes up about one-quarter of the planet’s population. Bringing this home to Nigeria, which has about 200 million people, this means that about 50 million people in Africa’s most populous nation belong to Gen Z. This generation is wielding massive influence and knowing what they are listening to can be incredibly instructive.

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Generation Z (aka Gen Z, iGen, or centennials), refers to the generation that was born between 1997-2012, following millennials. This generation has been raised on the internet and social media.

The music they listen to, from the moment they wake up in the morning as they set the tone for the day to when they get ready for bed at night, often tells a story. They tend to use music to lift their mood, evoke emotions and relax their minds.

Here are some key takeaways of what songs, artists and podcasts Nigeria’s Gen Zs are currently vibing to on Spotify:

  • Nigerian Gen Zs have a heavy preference for local artists. Of the top ten overall artists among this cohort, seven are Nigerian. Burna Boy tops the lists, followed by Asake and Davido.
  • The highest-ranked international artist is Canadian rap megastar Drake, with Future and Kendrick Lamar at seventh and tenth positions, respectively.
  • Burna Boy also tops the album rankings, with Love, Damini, followed by Rave & Roses by Rema and Boy Alone by Omah Lay. The highest-ranked international album is Mr Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar.
  • On the list of the top recording, the Nigerian hit singer Burna Boy is at number one with “Last last” while “PALAZZO” by Asake and SPINALL, and “Overloading” (OVERDOSE) by Ayra Starr, Boy Spyce, Crayon, LADIPOE, Magixx, and Mavins take the next two spots.
  • The hunger for local content extends to playlists too, with the Spotify-curated Hot Hits Naija topping the list with the most listeners within this age group. This playlist is then followed by African Heat, Gbedu, Bubblin and Traffic Jams Naija, which are all immensely popular with Gen Z. There have been over 1M user-generated playlists by Nigerian Gen Zs.
  • Even with podcasts, Nigerian Gen Zs show a preference for local content.
  • On the consumption of international music, it is to be expected that Nigerian Gen Zs listen to American and British music. Remarkably, however, the Korean boy band Bangtang Boys, more popularly known as BTS, ranks high up in the listening preferences of Nigeria’s Gen Zs. This is evidence once again that Nigeria’s young people will continue driving local music while also helping to push international artists and genres into Nigeria’s listening mix.

The full breakdown of the top lists is below.

Top Artists

  1. Burna Boy
  2. Asake
  3. Davido
  4. Drake
  5. Wizkid

Top Songs

  1. Burna Boy - Last last
  2. Asake, SPINALL - PALAZZO
  3. Ayra starr, Boy Spyce, Crayon, LADIPOE, Magixx, Mavins - Overloading” (OVERDOSE)
  4. Asake - Peace Unto You (PBUY)
  5. Kizz Daniel, Tekno - Buga (Lo Lo Lo)

Top Albums

  1. Burna Boy - Love, Damini
  2. Rema - Rave & Roses
  3. Omah Lay - Boy Alone
  4. Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
  5. WizKid - Made In Lagos: Deluxe Edition

Top Spotify-curated playlist

  1. Hot Hits Naija
  2. African Heat
  3. Gbedu
  4. Bubblin
  5. Traffic Jams Naija

Top Local Podcast

  1. ArticulateOne
  2. I Said What I Said
  3. Tea With Tay Podcast
  4. Menisms
  5. How Far? With Mr Eazi and Temi Otedola

Spotify launched in Nigeria in February 2021. Since its foray into the country, the average number of artists streamed per user has grown by 60%, and Nigerian music fans have created 1.3 million user-generated playlists.


This article was contributed by Owoyemi Ajayi, a PR Consultant at Irvine Partners