top of page
  • Writer's pictureAntonia Curry

Afrobeats and More: Data Shows Us How Culture Moves with Christine Osazuwa

In this week’s episode, we look at the explosion of Afrobeats through the lens of data. Christine Osazuwa, music data expert and Chief Strategy Officer at Shoobs, discusses how data can show us hidden stories behind the globalization of all sorts of genres: K-Pop, Reggaeton, Bollywood, and more.

“Music drives culture, culture drives music, etc,” Christine says. “I find it really funny how people were shocked by the rise of Latin music while the Spanish speaking population in the U. S. grew exponentially. It was very obvious that this rise was going to become a thing ... when it comes to looking at U. S. census data.”

Christine highlights significant Afrobeats contributions from Nigerian and Ghanaian artists. She also delves into the unique ways small artists can leverage digital tools to examine data about their own listenership, particularly in regions where YouTube reigns supreme. Christine shares her excitement for new tools that help artists to genuinely connect with fans and tailor their marketing and distribution to their personal beat. Dmitri and Christine delve into the new possibilities for immersive fan experiences and hyper-localized artist promotion.

Fun things that Dmitri and Christine talked about:

SoundCloud Support with AI

Fan Engagement!

Sell Merch easily!

Christine’s Conference

Listen wherever you pod your casts:

Listen on your favorite podcasting platform!

Episode Transcript

Machine transcribed

You're listening to Music Tectonics. 

00:10 - Dmitri Vietze  

Welcome back to Music Tectonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm your host, Dmitri Vietze, and I'm also the founder and CEO of the marketing and PR innovation firm Kurok Paper Scissors, specializing in music tech and music innovation. People say music is a universal language, but I never thought that was true. It's like saying language is a universal language. In some ways each genre is its own language. But I do believe that music transports most of us and provides meaning beyond our own experience. In today's episode of Music Tectonics, we're not going to talk about how music transports us, but how we transport music. Music first moved around the world as people moved around the world through migration. Later, radio airwaves transported music styles from country to country. That's why reggae has that cool American sound that just gets twisted in some cool ways. Soon after that, trucks and boats shipped vinyl that was making waves across national borders. But in the digital era, the internet and Wi-Fi is pulsing with music from across the planet. With each pulse it travels bits of data tracking the movement of songs, sounds and styles, recommending a new sound to the next person and the next person. If you've been around a while, you've seen and heard certain styles emerge in one place and then pop up somewhere else or maybe even take the whole planet by storm. There was the UK invasion, the explosion of reggae, the waves of tango, mambo and salsa, which led to the explosion of Latin pop and, more recently, reggaeton. Bollywood has had its influence and more recently, we've watched K-pop hop oceans in all directions. 


Today, on Music Tectonics, we're going to explore how Afro beats is going mainstream, online, offline, and exploring the data that proves it. 


We have one of the world's top music data experts to help us. Originally from Baltimore,  Christine Osazuwa got her start in music at 15 years old and spent most of her adolescence deeply entrenched in the music industry, from running street teams to booking shows and making a music documentary Awesome kid, I wish I did that at 15. She now holds degrees in music marketing and data science and combined those passions into roles in data and marketing at companies like Universal Music Sweden and Warner Music Group in London. Currently,  Christine is the Chief Strategy Officer for ticketing and event marketing startup Shoobs, a platform specifically focused on supporting black culture in the UK through events, experiences and content. She also sits on the board of the Live Association Indie Venue Week and Key Change US. On top of all of her roles,  Christine is also the founder of Measure of Music Conference and Music Hackathon, which introduces music and data to thousands of people all over the globe, while highlighting majority minority attendees and speakers. Christine, welcome to the show. 

03:00 - Christine Osazuwa   

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited. 

03:03 - Dmitri Vietze  

Yeah, this is a cool topic and I'm glad we're going to have the chance to talk about it and I think we should dive right in. I don't like to assume people know exactly where we're going. So, for newcomers to Afro Beats, how do you describe it and why should the music industry be paying attention? 

03:16 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah. So Afro Beats is a really interesting sound. You can hear the hip hop influences, but you can hear the African music influences. You can hear the drums, you can hear the beats, you can hear this joy, but it's also like chill and mellow. In the same way, it's a mix and like an amalgamation of lots of different things to come up with this amazing, bolstrous sound. Basically, and I guess, why do people care? I mean, first of all, Nigeria alone has 200 million people, which we're getting up there close to what the US has in it. So that's one reason Nigeria has a growing middle class. When you add in Ghana as well, we're talking another 25 million people, and the Afro Beats sound has been so influential for almost a decade now. People are starting to pay attention now, but it's had its mark and so many different parts of the culture in the music industry for so long that it's really interesting to see this rise right now. So that's why you should pay attention, I suppose. 

04:06 - Dmitri Vietze  

I love it Great. So what indicators do you look at to measure the success of a genre or a style going mainstream, and tell us why you're tracking Afro Beats and where that data has led you? 

04:15 - Christine Osazuwa   

I started tracking Afro Beats well, because I'm working in a company now where we focus on black music and culture and Afro Beats has been our biggest genre for almost the entirety of the 10 years the company has existed. So while the mainstream is catching up to Afro Beats now, it has been a mainstay in the music industry for a very long time when it comes to the global diaspora. So that's why I've been tracking it. But when it comes to generally how I look at genres, it's something that I don't think people talk about quite enough is. 


The reason why people are talking about specific genres tends to not be because of a singular artist. It tends to be because of multiple artists at once, and so it gets really exciting and it gets really interesting when that's the case. So when I talk about Afro beats, people might think about artists like WizKid, devito, burnerboy, remma are all the artists that are proliferating and growing the Afro beats sound and making Afro beats a thing. Basically, and when we talk about you know, k-pop, when we talk about Latin, it's not just a singular artist, and that is when the genre becomes a thing, and that's why I start tracking. It's much more the macro than the micro to figure out if something's actually happening. 

05:21 - Dmitri Vietze  

Got it, gotcha, and what kind of data are you looking at that puts something like this on your radar? I mean, obviously you mentioned Shoobz has been tracking it for a decade. But I'm just curious from your data hat, what are the things that pop on it? I know for years people have talked about sound scan and billboard charts and things like that, but I suspect there's earlier indicators as well. 

05:40 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, there are like again. I think it's something people don't think about often, but looking outside of the music industry, I think it's really important to get a sense of what's going on. 


The reason why I say that is because the music drives culture, culture drives music, etc. Etc. So you know, I find it really funny how people were shocked by the rise of Latin music while the Spanish speaking population in the US grew exponentially. It was very obvious that this was going to become a thing because of where we are now. When it comes to looking at US census data, for example, Afrobeast has been growing for years. Here in the UK there's like I think I look this at, there's 200, I think something like 200,000 people of Nigerian origin in the UK, something along those lines. 


So when you start looking at numbers outside of just the music or outside of just media, you start seeing, like the obvious things are going to be at play. It's the same reason why, you know, local language is still quite important. So when you're like man, why is this French artist doing really well in Canada? It's because they speak French in part of Canada. So looking outside of just the obvious like music trends of, like the sounds, garrisons, chisands and things like that to like what's actually going on in culture, I think will help you make a lot of decisions. That's what's going to actually be happening to make those projections. 

06:50 - Dmitri Vietze  

I love. This is such good music. Tectonic conversation because we talk about the seismic shifts beneath music. And you know, when you look at all the conversations in the music industry, I mean I thought you were going to say, yeah, not just the music charts, but look at the social media and you're like no, look at the demographics, look at how people you know how people are moving around and who speaks what language where, and that's obviously going to have an influence. As you said, culture moves. Music, which is awesome, cool. So when a genre pops into the mainstream from a specific region whatever, from Latin and reggaeton to K-pop and Bollywood we learned something new about how culture moves within a region as well as beyond national borders. What are some of the interesting things that you've noticed, specifically about how Afro beats moves or has moved? For example, is this a digital community or an IRL one? Tell us what you've learned there. 

07:38 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah. So one thing that I love about Afro beats as a community, as a movement, is what it's had to do to get to where it is now. What I mean by this is by the time an artist comes to perform in the UK or the rest of Europe especially, they already have such a large following in wherever they're going that it's not possible to do the club circuit as an artist from Nigeria or Ghana, because you're not going to get the visas, you're not going to have the money you need to be able to do those types of tours. 


So by the time you come to the UK, you're going to be doing your first UK show to 20,000 people. We just had an artist, fali Pupa, who came to the UK and did OVO Arena for his first ever UK show, because by the time we got to that point, he's already established his fan base here. And so Brexit is actually really important when you have conversations about artists coming out of Africa, because things sometimes it's more difficult when it comes to artists like Fali Pupa. Like I was mentioning, he's French speaking African coming out of Congo, for example you have to establish yourself so early on because you don't have the same luxuries as a US artist coming to the UK. Where you can, just you can get that visa. It's pretty much guaranteed. You can just show up. 


Because of that, the way these artists grow that community is digitally, but also in person. So I love, love thinking about, like, how people share music, how word of mouth works in this community. By the time the artist comes, everyone's already heard the track, everyone already knows the track, everyone's already singing along to the track, but it's because people are going offline to brunches and day parties and all kinds of other things that don't involve the artist explicitly, because part of the time the artist can't even be there explicitly, and so people have built communities and built events and built experiences around artists and music and genres regardless of the presence of the artist, and I think it actually says a lot about what the industry can do, because I think sometimes people feel very limited when artists can't stretch themselves so thin to be in a thousand different places, but there's so many possibilities to do artist and audience development without the artist present, and we see it so often in the Afro Beats community. 

09:41 - Dmitri Vietze  

I think that's so interesting. I mean, I'm going back to that phrase you said about music moves culture and culture moves music. Because something that's interesting about looking at a genre like Afro Beats, where there is a cultural connection a group of people who've come to a new place but they still are celebrating and joining and creating community through music, demonstrates the power of culture and it's the reason why people in marketing, whether it's in music or otherwise, talk about creating cultural moments. They're like co-opting the concept of something that just happens organically in cultures. Right, and so it's. I love how you're talking about. It's kind of like what can you learn from what organically already happens? You really have to think about sparking a fire rather than like moving a boulder. 

10:19 - Christine Osazuwa   


10:20 - Dmitri Vietze  

That's super interesting. All right, I am curious about this genre and other genres that are merging from one place to another and the role of different services, but we have to take a quick break, so I'm going to ask you about that when we get back. 

10:36 -  Eleanor Rust (Ad)

What's up, beautiful listeners. Now I have a question for you. What do you want to hear next? Let me know at Click the big pink button to fill out a quick survey. Suggest future guests or music innovation topics you want to hear Dmitri and Tristra cover? Or just tell me how we're doing. That's at Now back to the show. 

11:08 - Dmitri Vietze  

Okay, so something we've been hearing about forever is the role of YouTube, rather than Spotify or Apple, in quote emerging markets. Is that the case with Afro beats? 

11:16 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's not a shock. Spotify came to Nigeria in 2000,. What 21? I believe something along those lines. It's really, really new. So it's not surprising that Spotify isn't going to be the number one DSP when it comes to Western Africa, right, and so One thing that's really interesting is, like I mentioned, Nigeria itself has 200 million plus people in it. Right, there are a dozen DSPs that are specifically focused on Africa, focused on emerging markets, specifically focused on Mina, et cetera, et cetera. So, like there's that component of it as well. 


But the thing about it is YouTube is just so universal. Youtube is A free, which is really important for emerging markets where the income level is lower than the Western world. Also shareable, and I think that's missed on people quite frequently. One of the reasons why Spotify grew so quickly is because of how shareable their links are. Youtube is the same way, right, you can share those links in WhatsApp groups and through friends and things along those lines, and that's what's happening so often. The means of communication within West Africa is really heavily on platforms like WhatsApp, and so you're sharing the link of the new track that you love, and you can do that via YouTube, and it's free and it's available to everybody and there's no interchanges of platforms or things you have to figure out. So it's huge, huge, hugely important for Afro beats. 

12:29 - Dmitri Vietze  

Does that change how music teams handle marketing as a result? Oh yeah, Do they think differently about YouTube versus Spotify and so forth? 

12:39 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I think. I mean I would say so. They definitely have to, because you have to have a strategy. 


I always tell artists, even regardless of genre. I tell artists all the time that as much music as you can put on YouTube should be on YouTube, because it's the biggest DSP in the world. And I think it's even more so important when it comes to Afro beats, especially because I mentioned all of the biggest players in Afro beats base the DeVito, the WizKids but there's a lot of young kids coming up in the Afro beats world and space as well and they are also looking at how do I grow, how do I become a developing, actual artist? And that's where they're putting the music up on YouTube. They don't have the means, no one has taught them how to get their music on to Spotify, but they very much know how to upload a music video onto YouTube and that's the gateway and that's a pipeline that we're seeing developing artists from when it comes to the markets, where they're not getting the same investment in artist development as you would in the Western world. 

13:28 - Dmitri Vietze  

Gotcha. Yeah, so you're a big data thinker. I understand you've worked with Museo to learn about the sounds of genres. Tell us about that research and the most interesting things you've learned through that research. 

13:39 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, so I did a joint collaboration with Museo as well as Chartmetric on our project, actually about Emma Piano, which is African house music coming out of South Africa. 


Oh, yeah, love that I can have a whole other conversation about. It's very cool. And so one of the things that came out of that was a conversation about Afro beats because of it. And that conversation happened because when people talk about music coming out of Africa, they default to Afro beats without considering the rest of the continent. And so we were like cool, when we're having this conversation about Emma Piano, how do we make sure we differentiate from a conversation about Afro beats? And so what was really interesting is, when we looked through the Museo Museo has this really cool tool where you can input music and it tells you all of the sonic breakdowns of it and what it looks like and what its components are and all kinds of fun things. And so when you put Afro beats in Emma Piano, they're comparative to one another. 


Emma Piano and Afro beats sound wildly different. You would hear Emma Piano track and Afro beats track. They don't sound the same. However, it's funny because it is quantifiable. The quantifiable nature of the vibe of the tracks are very similar, and so, while the actual instrumentals are not the same, the vibe is very similar. That's why they work really well in Tamino together, even though they're very different sounds. 


And what I mean by vibe is there's this vibrancy, like literally a vibrancy. There is this, there's like a chillness to it, there is like an even tempo to it. That kind of exists within the sound of Afro beats. That kind of bridges the gap as well to Emma Piano, but in terms of the actual instrumentals and the vocals actually Emma Piano often lacks vocals, for example in comparison to Afro beats they're entirely different sounds, and so what I'm thinking about Afro beats is a much more pop, friendly kind of music that we've seen such huge commercial success from in the recent years that you can actually you can always tell that it's a very specific, commercially friendly sounding music. Quite often that ends up breaking through and doing things like what Rema did would calm down, being the, I think, the number one African track for like 57 weeks on the Hot 100 or whatever it might have been. 

15:32 - Dmitri Vietze  

Wow, that's super interesting. It must have been a blast to dive into that and be able to use data, but also this very qualitative aspect. So for some listeners, this will be a deep dive about the importance of Afro beats in music, but for others, they might like to translate this way of thinking to other genres, regions or scenes. What are some other data points or technology angles that might help our listeners take things one step further, and they're thinking about music trends as well as marketing new music. 

15:59 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I mean I think I touched on it a bit, but I think really it's important to get out of your own head about only being explicitly focused on music. If you're explicitly focused on music, you're going to miss the bigger picture. So one thing I was really excited the reason why I changed to the role I'm in currently is because I was really excited about e-commerce data. I was really excited about spending behavior, really excited about how people spend money. Another thing I'm really excited about is movement. So an area that I have been looking into a lot that I'm hoping to deep dive into soon, is around in December, the African diaspora across the Western world go back to Nigeria and Ghana for raves and parties for two weeks straight, basically around Christmas time. Wow, that's incredibly interesting to me. We sell some of those tickets, so that's why I know it exists as a concept, but it's a whole movement that occurs and that's really really interesting because, like, yes, getting someone to stream your track is really impressive, but getting someone to get on a 15 hour flight to Ghana so they can party and rave is really, really impressive. And so when I think about, like, how you take all of this, all of this that we're talking about and apply it to different genres, different things. It's like it comes down to like the fundamentals, the basics of like fandom and culture, and like artists and audience development, or all these, like all the layers on top of it. Like how do you build loyalty, how do you build a fan base, how do you build a movement? It's so much outside of like how you get someone to stream a song. 


These are in my head, they're almost like two entirely different concepts at this point, and so I'm thinking about Afro beats and thinking about all of those other things, because, yes, it might be making a ton of money on Spotify, but it's making so much money in so many different portions and angles and verticals in the music industry that it's really interesting to keep your focus in your eye on. And I think other people see similar things in genres like K-pop, for example. K-pop does stream well, but it doesn't stream. It doesn't do as well as like album sales, for example. It has huge tours, for example. It has huge merch lines, for example. It has all these other bits and like. That's the interesting part, that's the cool part. 

18:00 - Dmitri Vietze  

That is super cool and I just love that you keep going back to this like where are the people, where are they going, what are they doing, how do we, how do we measure what they're up to, and so forth. I'm wondering if we can break it down just a little bit further. For let's say, you're a manager or a record label, an artist that's not necessarily, you know, already ready to sell out an amphitheater as soon as they show it in the UK or the US or something like that. What are the basics Like? If they're like oh man, I don't even know how to dive into the data, like I get I can log into my artist account on Spotify or something like that, I get that I could log into my distribution company and see, kind of some of the metrics there. What's the next level beyond that? Before we go to like migratory waves of people going to raves across continents, what are some of the simple things that people just should look at for breaking a song or an artist or marketing some new music? 

18:50 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I mean, I guess it always depends. When I'm talking to artists about this, it depends on, like, how early they are in their career. But I am a very simple girl and I like very simple things, and so when I talk to artists, I always say continue to like reply to your DMs for as long as you can, you know. Continue to you know send individual emails and text messages, or the WhatsApp group you've created, whatever it might be, continue to do that until it's no longer possible to maintain that, because that's where you're getting, like you have so much access to qualitative data, basically from your audience, when you can have one to one or one to few conversations with them, and so I always recommend doing that as often as you can. 


And then, outside of that, one of the problems I love the most is YouTube. This is just a very nerdy thing that's specific to YouTube. They are the only DSP at least the only major DSP that I know of that gives you access to the information as to how people got to your music, so you can see the external like, the external referrals to your music only on YouTube, so you can see the bloggers that are talking about you. You can see, you know, whatever like tiny press outlet talked about you, things like that, and they're able to reach out and talk with them and say thank you, whatever it might be, and that's something. Again, it's the little things that make the huge difference, because that's how you build a connection, that's the steps you take to be able to then show up in a country or a city and actually sell it out. 

20:10 - Dmitri Vietze  

Nice. Are there workarounds for the other DSPs that get you closer to the data that you like in YouTube? 

20:15 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I think the closest would be, you know, platforms like the short links, like a link fire, for example, so that they're going there and you collect them from that standpoint and then they are going elsewhere. But there's a middle person in there and I don't like third parties to be in the way of my access to my audience as much as possible. 

20:31 - Dmitri Vietze  

Interesting. I just want to follow up one more on this. I'm curious. Say somebody has 10,000 followers. They're getting to the point where maybe DMs sure they can try as much as they can, but there might be a little bit too much what's the next like? What's for that, you know? I guess they're developing artists still, but they're not. They're not like just starting. Yeah, what are the next level of tips there from your perspective in terms of how to engage with more data to move the needle? 

20:56 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, so when it comes to that, then I'm obsessed with like I feel like it's a cliche at this point because there's been a lot of them have come out last few years, but any direct to fan platform, I am here for it. Please continue to build them. I love it. I think everyone will find whatever right work for them. But building out a community that you own, building out an audience that you own and especially treating them in the same way that other brands and other outside music cultivate and maintain and build loyalty with their fans, that is so amazing and there's so much power in that. 


Again, I don't like a middle person coming between me and my audience. And so, in the same way, any community manager platform. I am agnostic, I do not have a stake in the game, but anywhere where you can manage your audience and you can keep track of your fans, keep track of your merchandise, keep track of your ticket sales, whatever it might be in a singular place, and be able to reward those fans for it, that is the Holy Grail. That is how you build super fans so much faster than trying to convince everybody to listen to you. Stream your song 10 times. 

21:58 - Dmitri Vietze  

So you're saying you don't love the middle man there, but are you talking about a utility, like a Discord type of thing? Are you talking about like a custom built thing or some other type of app? 

22:07 - Christine Osazuwa   

So I'm talking. So there's plenty of apps now and plenty of companies in the space that they don't own your audience but they aggregate it for you. So there's apps like Fave, for example, open Stage, root, note like there's a myriad of them that I again, I don't care pick one that lets you aggregate all your fan data together in a singular place. That is not you aggregating all your fans on Instagram or on a, you know, youtube Live or TikTok, whatever it might be. You own the audience, you own the access, you own the ability to speak to them directly. It might be a website like, that is like SMS based, for example. Whatever it is, if you have the direct connection to your fan, that is the number one most important thing. Once you move and migrate and graduate from answering every DM, that's the next step, I feel like, is maintaining an audience, maintaining whatever the equivalent of a fan club you want to call it for your audience. 

22:59 - Dmitri Vietze  

Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned Fave. Fave was the winner of our first Music Tectonics startup competition, swimming with narwhals, and Jekyll is just killing it with the Fave platform as well. Okay, we got to take one more quick break and when we come back I'm curious to ask you about other trends you're keeping an eye on. We'll be right back. 

23:18 -  Eleanor Rust (Ad)

Mark your calendars for the 2024 Music Tectonics conference. Music Tech innovators will gather October 22nd through the 24th 2024. We're heading back to Santa Monica, California, of course, to the beautiful beachside places we loved in 2023, including the Santa Monica Pier carousel and the Annenberg beach house. Stay tuned to this podcast and the Music Tectonics newsletter to keep up to date on the creative new features the team is adding to the 2024 conference. If you're not getting that newsletter already, don't worry go and sign up now at Now back to the show. 

23:59 - Dmitri Vietze  

Okay, we're back and I'm curious what are some other trends,  Christine, that you're keeping an eye on in the Music Innovation, music Tech, data, any of that kind of space? What are you keeping an eye on? 

24:08 - Christine Osazuwa   

For me, everything sounds back to community, and so every answer I'm going to give you is all around community and culture. The two areas that I'm really excited about are immersive experiences, or experiences are outside of the like the normal concert festival kind of experience, and so I mean everything from, you know, fan driven events like a Taylor Swift X Olivia Rodrigo Mashup Night Fantastic, great. We love that. But also things like I had my conference. I run a conference as well, and it was last weekend and we had someone from Universal Music Hotels talk about what they're doing in that space Again, really cool. Or even like residencies artist residencies in Vegas Amazing. The fact that's happening for younger artists is also really cool. I love this idea of like breaking out of the norm and giving fans something new and interesting and different, and I think there's a lot of, again, community to be built there, a lot of money to be made by giving the fans what they're after and making experiences that are tailored to your fan base. So super excited about what people are doing in that space. 

25:08 - Dmitri Vietze  

I think there's a lot more that can be done and like we have even a scratch and surface and everything that can be done in like the immersive experience space I have to say before you get to your next trend I love that Just picturing 15 year old Christine as a working on a street team running around putting together shows or whatever it was you were doing, is now still thinking the same way Like we literally have to get people together to have like mind blowing experiences. I love it. It's great Always. 

25:31 - Christine Osazuwa   

I will always think that way, as a little girl went to Warp Tour every year. This is my world. I love bringing people together, so absolutely, and I guess my second trend it's again. It comes back to everything else but hyper localization as a concept. It's something that I think is being talked about quite often now. I've been looking at it for a while now and I think it's really really interesting and also kind of terrifying, because if you're a, a especially if you're like a major label, exec, or someone that has the expressed role of breaking it or it's all over the world, it is unbelievably difficult to do so now for so many different reasons. But I think it's going to become a thing and like even much more than it is now, and figuring out ways around that and figuring out whether or not breaking ours globally is the right path forward anymore it's something that has to be explored, because it's not nearly as easy as it used to be able to do it and there's a lot of barriers in the way of making that happen now. 

26:29 - Dmitri Vietze  

So I'm just I haven't really thought about this. I mean, as soon as you said hyper localization and you've been telling me about people moving around, I'm like, ok, people live in neighborhoods in a city. Maybe you need to break an artist in a city, you need to do a tour in that city instead of across the world like do this neighborhood one week in this neighborhood, the next week in this neighborhood. I'm like, is that what you're talking? 

26:48 - Christine Osazuwa   

about. I mean potentially, but what I? What I'm meaning is more so. So here's the stat. 


This is a couple of years old now, but I was trying to understand what this actually looks like in terms of like breaking ours globally, right, and so I literally took a snapshot for a single week on Spotify. 


I grabbed the number one, I grabbed all those Spotify charts for that for like 70 countries, whatever my country spotifies it now, right, and I looked at all of those, all that data. I looked at the number one tracks in each of those countries. So in that, in that single snapshot of a week, I found that there were 12 tracks that were number one in a country that did not appear in anybody else's chart at all. So not only were they number one, meaning they were the most I got a track, no one else in the world was listening to that track in the other 200 spots, basically. And so if you think about that conceptually, it means that I'm talking like countries like Sweden, where their neighboring country is Norway, and the number one track still was not on the Norway Norwegian charts. They understand each other's language and it still was not on the Norwegian charts. Like, how do you break an artist across the world if you can have a number one track in the country that no one else is listening to. 

27:57 - Dmitri Vietze  

Basically, so what did you take away from? 

27:59 - Christine Osazuwa   

that. So I mean, like, I think it really speaks to the importance of like, the importance of collaborations. It speaks to the importance of actually having to do a lot more groundwork in markets. You have to, like you said, maybe it may be this play, every single neighborhood, but you have to do a lot more groundwork in markets. You can't just pop in to a single radio station appearance or do a single kind of event there in order to actually make it in a new market. 


It takes a lot more effort, a lot more attention, a lot more attentionality than just the presumption that you're going to be pushed to the top of the playlist. You know, there's even the presumption that you're going to be on New Music Friday in 20 plus countries is even a presumption that might not be there anymore because you're competing now with. You know, even if you put out a rap track, you're competing now with Danish rap and Korean rap and all in Latin rap, etc. Etc. Just to have that top spot and their equivalent of today's top hits in Colombia or Bolivia or India or whatever it might be. So you have to be a lot more intentional about how you approach breaking into new markets and then identifying which markets are actually important for you and actually important for your fans, rather than a blanket one size fits all approach. 

29:07 - Dmitri Vietze  

It's sort of like the fractalization of how we see this shift from broadcast on radio, commercial radio. You get one hit that works for not only everyone in a country but every country or whatever, as we see more like niche-ifying of genre and audience. It's sort of like saying, yeah, one size does not fit all, one song does not fit all. You're going to have to, you know, really convince people one by one or at least, you know, group by group. That's super interesting to hear about. This is a blast,  Christine. This is so much fun digging into this. I feel like I was a little bit nervous, honestly, because I'm not a big data person, and I was like what if she starts talking about stuff that doesn't make sense to me? It's so accessible. The way you talk about it just makes it feel like obvious, like very, very, very logic. But it's almost like you're like OK, blow away the smoke, break the mirrors, let's just talk about what's right there Exactly. 

29:59 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I mean, if you, I can totally come back and talk about the way I acquire all the data, if you want. It would be way less interesting, but the outcome is really fun and fun to talk about? 

30:09 - Dmitri Vietze  

Yeah, super cool, awesome. All right, before we let you go, you've mentioned a couple of companies and services in the music tech realm that you're a fan of or that you've seen doing good stuff. Are there any others, or you want to go deeper in any? What are the music tech services and companies that you're a fan of that maybe our listeners should check out? 

30:25 - Christine Osazuwa   

Yeah, I think I already mentioned them, but I am blanket a fan of anyone putting together a fan club of any sort, any community building, fan building concept. I'm super open to all of them. So, like I mentioned Fave, for example, my friend Denisha is building a company called Stand, for example. I love them. I love them all because it helps artists get closer to their fans. It gives more control back to the artists, and that the artist has lost control in a myriad of ways, and giving that back to them is incredibly important. 


Another thing I really love is anything that's direct to fan. 


Any way that you remove the middleman, that allow artists to talk with their fans directly, is really, really impressive. 


But when you add in the ability for artists to generate revenue, I'm absolutely all for that. 


There's a platform that I saw that I love, called Hawkr, and what they do is they allow artists to not have to bring as much merch with them on tour and instead people can purchase the merch in the app instead. So it allows artists to be able to get money from their fans, which is great. It allows fans to be able to get things from their artist they love, which is great, and it introduces a direct to fan component, because then you also have the data. When an artist goes on tour and you buy a t-shirt from them, you're hoping that maybe they write their email down on the list, but in this scenario, you're collecting all the information, you're identifying your super fans so early on and having early conversations with them that you can keep track of for years, and so I love any platform that allows you to connect directly to your fans and allows means for fans to be able to connect with you and to pay you and compensate you for your time as an artist. 

32:02 - Dmitri Vietze  

So we've got Hawkr. I think they're at You also mentioned Fave is, and then Stan, their website is, that is awesome. 

32:15 - Christine Osazuwa   

So one thing that I'm searching for deeply and so if anyone's doing this, I want to hear about it is we talk about AI a lot in the music industry lately. 


Obviously it's a really hot topic, et cetera. I get it. I am never going to be in the game of telling artists how to make their music. I don't make music. I don't tell artists how to make music, so I have no skin in the game about AI music. Now, however, if there is somebody out there that is making marketing tools for artists, that is leveraging AI so that they can stop having to make 1,000 different press clips of hey, you're listening to 103.7 in Indiana, I want to hear about it, because, let me tell you, I have never met an artist that said you know what would be really cool if I could spend less time making music. But I've met plenty of artists that would love to spend less time doing promo and marketing and all kinds of other things that are required of them to be an artist, and so I would love to see us start working in the space of just like, using the artist's voice and likeness, with their permission, to help them do their marketing better. 

33:19 - Dmitri Vietze  

Awesome, that's great. Thank you so much, Christine. This has been an absolute blast. I appreciate the big picture, thinking not only about those music tech companies and servers, but everything else we've talked about. It's been super fun to dive into how AfroBeats is going mainstream with you and looking at how you think about these things and then applying it to other stuff. This has been so fun. Thank you so much for being on the show. 

33:38 - Christine Osazuwa   

Thank you, Dmitri, this was so fun. Thank you. 

33:43 - Dmitri Vietze  

Thanks for listening to Music Tectonics. If you like what you hear, please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. We have new episodes for you every week. Did you know? We do free monthly online events that you, our lovely podcast listeners, can join? Find out more at and, while you're there, look for the latest about our annual conference and sign up for our newsletter to get updates. Everything we do explores the seismic shifts that shake up music and technology, the way the Earth's tectonic plates cause quakes and make mountains. Connect with Music Tectonics on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, that's my favorite platform. Connect with me, Dmitri Vietze, if you can spell it. We'll be back again next week, if not sooner. 

Let us know what you think! Tweet @MusicTectonics, find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or connect with podcast host Dmitri Vietze on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Music Tectonics podcast goes beneath the surface of the music industry to explore how technology is changing the way business gets done. Weekly episodes include interviews with music tech movers & shakers, deep dives into seismic shifts, and more.


bottom of page