Nigerian artist Burna Boy made history in June with his concert at the London Stadium, becoming the first African artist to headline a stadium show in the UK. Now fans around the world will be able to see how it went.
Apple Music will be making its film of the concert available to stream from tomorrow (19 July) on Apple Music and its sister service Apple TV+. The debut will be accompanied by an interview with Apple Music’s global head of hip-hop and R&B Ebro Darden on the Apple Music 1 radio station, which will air today (18 July).
Burna Boy and Apple have a well-established relationship. The Afrobeats star was added to its ‘Up Next’ emerging-artists programme in July 2019, having already notched up more than 100m streams on Apple Music by that point.
The company has also made Afrobeats part of its ‘Apple Music Live’ strand in recent times, recording and later streaming another London concert by Wizkid last year.
However, the Burna Boy stream isn’t just an Apple thing. The London Stadium show will also be streamed on TikTok tomorrow, the star revealed in a video on that service. It’s the latest collaboration between the two companies, following their tests earlier this year of direct streaming links to Apple Music from TikTok videos.
TikTok’s growth, its cultural clout and its ambitions to expand into music streaming have seen it perceived as a threat to traditional DSPs, so it’s interesting to see Apple Music embracing it as a partner.
More widely, this is part of a wider battle between streaming services to associate themselves with the biggest Afrobeats stars. Spotify recently announced that Afrobeats tracks were streamed 13.5bn times on its service in 2022, while YouTube’s longstanding efforts in Africa include a partnership with Nigerian artist Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa incubator.
No single platform ‘owns’ the global growth in Afrobeats: this is a bandwagon that has been rolling for many years, initially driven by the artists, their fans, their partners in the grassroots live-music industry, and early-to-catch-on tastemakers.
But as the global DSPs swung their collective weight behind the scene, it has certainly helped those wheels continue to pick up speed.