Jacob Obunga, the artiste popularly known as Otile Brown, is one of the highest Kenyan earners through streaming platform Spotify in 2022.
However, statistics show that he shone more outside Kenya than he did locally.
Despite having no single record this year on the top 10 most streamed local songs, Otile beat every local musician to top the list of the most exported Kenyan artistes.
His success across the borders must have translated into handsome earnings. Even though the audio streaming platform doesn’t disclose artiste earnings or streaming numbers as per its policy, the performance of an artiste’s catalogue determines one’s earnings.
According to data obtained exclusively by Saturday Nation, Otile’s music was widely streamed in France, Germany, Netherlands, the US, and the United Kingdom.
How much one export music impacts their total earnings. Not every country pays the same amount of money for streaming on the platform.
With the Kenyan market still relatively new to Spotify (it was launched in January 2021), artistes with the most exports will definitely get a bigger cheque.
Several music websites rank Spotify among the highest-paying music streaming platforms in the world alongside Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube Music.
Insider Magazine, CNN Uncensored and Headphonesty rank Spotify third in terms of pay per stream with $0.00033 behind Amazon’s $0.004, Apple Music $0.01 and Tidal 0.013, with YouTube Music paying $0.008.
However, Spotify notes that it does not pay artistes per stream. Instead, it pays them based on shared overall streams on the platform.
“We typically do not separate our royalties payouts by country, but can confirm that we paid out a total of $7 billion globally in 2021,” Phiona Okumu, the head of music at Spotify Africa, told Saturday Nation.
According to Ditto Music, Spotify – like many other on-demand streaming services – uses the ‘pro-rata’ or ‘platform-centric’ distribution model when paying royalties.
This means the revenue generated and paid out to individual artistes on the platform is divided up based on Spotify total, streaming revenue pool, the negotiated global payout as a percentage of that revenue, total number of streams on the platform and the number of one’s streams.
Thus, there are loads of separate buckets for every kind of subscription, every local market, country and so on.
In that regard, Otile stands to make more from his exports. Sauti Sol also exported much of their work this year even though they didn’t release any new music since the band embarked on the “Alone Together” project in 2020.
With the project, the four band members—Bien Baraza, Savara Mudigi, Willis Chimano and Polycarp Otieno—debuted their solo careers. They reunited last month to release the first song together in two years dubbed ‘Lil Mama’. Prior to the release, their last creation as a band was the Midnight Train album.
This year, Sauti Sol exported their music to the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, France, and Canada.
Alex Mosongo, alias Lexsil, an up-and-coming singer who was once under the wings of Otile Brown, was third with his music mostly streamed in the Dominican Republic, Germany, Netherlands, US and Spain.
The afro-beat singer broke into the limelight with his Bounce hit song featuring Otile.
Jeff Kaale, a Nairobi-based musician who does hip-hop and Lofi RnB, is next with his music enjoying good listenership in the US, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The late folk legend Ayub Ogada, famed for his timeless hit Kothbiro, sits fifth exporting his music to the US, France, Netherland, Spain and Germany.
Former Camp Mullah vocalist, Ms Karun, made to the list this year attracting a fanbase in the US, the UK, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria.
‘Biashara’ rapper Stella Mwangi, popularly known as STL, follows at number seven with his music popular in her country of residence Norway, the US, Finland, Germany and Sweden.
Idd Aziz, who infuses lots of coastal features into his music, is next, with his fan base outside the Kenyan borders being the US, Germany, France, South Africa and Spain.
Arrow Bwoy, who is ninth, enjoys international support in Germany, Netherlands, France, the US and Sweden.
Twenty-year-old Nikita Kering, who recently gave a thrilling performance of her chart-topping hit ‘Ex’ when at the the BBC Live Afrobeat Concerto, wraps up the list.
Her catalogue attracted listenership in Nigeria, the US, the UK, South Africa and Germany.
The report also noted that the local music consumption registered a 184 per cent increase this year.
For the second time, Sauti Sol were the top streamed local artist in Kenya, followed by Wakadinali.
Buruklyn Boyz are third, while Otile climbed down one spot from last year, making him the fourth most streamed Kenyan artist, with Nyashinski rounding up the top five.