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Report: The Globalisation of Local Genres – a Digital-Age phenomenon

The Globalisation of Local Genres – a Digital-Age phenomenon

Report: The Globalisation of Local Genres – a Digital-Age phenomenon


Jerusalema is making history. The track, performed in the Zulu language and recorded in South Africa by South Africans, has won the 2020 International Song of the Year at France’s revered NRJ Music Awards. The first recording by an African artist to do so.

Its accolade is not a fluke, as seen in Midem Insights’ new industry report called The Globalisation of Local Genres – a Digital-Age Phenomenon.

It explores a new trend – the globalisation of music recorded locally in a variety of languages from different parts of the world and steeped in the culture and traditions of each recording’s respective country of origin.

But instead of gaining fans in the local community alone, as would have been the case even a decade ago, they are being discovered by global audiences. They have then turned into international sales and viral hits.

The catalysts have been international streaming services from SpotifyDeezerto Apple Music and Twitch, social media and shareable media like TikTok, and their borderless infrastructure.

The K-pop genre from South Korea has successfully exploited this potential to create a multibillion-dollar business. K-pop band BTS might sing in Korean with some English-language phrases. Yet, they are the first all-South Korean artist to peak at No.1 in the US’ Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Despacito, the 2017 Puerto Rican reggaeton sensation that kept breaking global YouTube-view records by the billions, is not a Spanish-language one-hit-wonder. From J Balvin to Christian Nodalmore Latin American artists and their indigenous creations are picking up fans, awards and royalties in the rest of the world.

Even the much-coveted US Grammy Awards got into the groove when Burna Boy became the first Nigerian to win the Best Global Music Album this year.

As Phiona Okumu, Head of Music Sub-Saharan Africa at Spotify (which launched in 39 new markets in Africa this year) says:

Credit: International journalist Juliana Koranteng



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