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Spotify data tracks Tyla’s rise in the global music scene

Tyla made history last night as the inaugural winner of the Grammy Awards’ Best African Music Performance category, with a sound that showcases richness and diversity of African music. Her breakout single, Water, outshone formidable contenders such as Burna Boy, Davido, Ayra Starr, and Musa Keys at the 66th awards night, marking her grand entrance onto the global music stage.
Tyla on stage at Giants of Africa, a crucial step in the star's rise.
Tyla on stage at Giants of Africa, a crucial step in the star's rise.

Tyla’s wave of Water success on Spotify – the globe’s biggest music streaming service according to its 30% market share – commenced in July 2023, when the streaming giant hosted a prerelease soiree at Greasy Tunes in Braamfontein on the 18 July.

This event was a consequence of her inclusion in RADAR Africa, the streamer’s initiative aimed at spotlighting emerging artists worldwide. Seizing this career-defining opportunity, Tyla, in collaboration with Spotify, chronicled her pursuit of international recognition, culminating in an exclusive premiere of her RADAR Africa documentary.

This occasion also marked the public debut of Water to an intimate audience, a full 11 days prior to its official release on the 28 July 2023.

Making waves

Spotify then teamed up with Giants of Africa for their inaugural festival in Kigali, Rwanda, a celebration of the unifying power of sports and music. Tyla benefitted with an invitation to perform as a RADAR artist, which birthed the viral Water challenge through a viral video captured on the Giants of Africa stage on 19 August.

The Water tide rose sharply on Spotify, from 26August – less than a week post-performance – with the song amassing a million streams in a single day for the first time on 15 September.

Swell of success

The song’s popularity continued to surge, hitting the 100 million stream mark by 26 October. While it’s likely that most individuals with internet access have encountered the song at some point over the past year, it has found particular resonance with Gen Z, who constitute 32% of the Spotify audience.

In terms of playlists, Water has been featured in over 8 million playlists on the platform, including both Spotify-curated and user-generated playlists, and has been saved for offline listening over 7 million times in the past year.

The power of playlists

Spotify’s support for Water has been sustained over more than 200 of the platform’s editorial and algorithmic playlists, including the most popular ones such as Today’s Top Hits, Viral Hits and Hot Hits in both the US and UK.

Playlists contribute massively to the discovery of artists and their tracks

“Watching this song grow globally in places like the Philippines and Indonesia has been amazing for us. Tyla is a massive talent from South Africa and the growth we have seen for this track, over 300 million streams since release, is a testament to that,” says Jodie Tabisher, who manages artist, label and partnerships for Spotify in South Africa.

Water has traveled a long way from the streets of Johannesburg and has seeped into the global stages, with the US, Philippines, the UK, Brazil, and Australia making up the top five countries streaming the song in the past year.

With this Grammy win, it’s likely that the song tsunami will continue months from now.

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