Spotify And YouTube Battles For Dancehall Dominance In Jamaica

The news of Spotify Wrapped and individual artists’ performances has piqued fans’ interest as they compare and contrast their favorite artists streaming data.

While Spotify only this year began allowing subscriptions in the Jamaican market, some artists have proven that their star power will continue to draw the loyal support of fans, and this support will translate into streams and streams means more dollars.

Among those who performed well this year is Beenie Man who shared his year in review stats as 64.2 million streams by 11,367,000 listeners from 177 countries.

However, Beenie Man’s musical rival Bounty Killer did not perform so well on the app as he nevertheless shared that he received 8.5 million streams from 1.6 million listeners from 174 countries.

On Instagram, Bounty Killer shared he was nevertheless thankful to fans. “Tru mi and my gun dem always a steam I might not be the favourite inna di stream but still give a thanks fans and folks no jokes” he captioned a screenshot of the streams.

So far, other artists who have shared theirs are Mr. Vegas with 28.9 million. On Instagram, the controversial artist promised to set a big target for the upcoming year.

“LOL!!!! I love my fans. We will do 100 million in 2022 bung bang bung! I am such a troll,” he said with laughing emojis.

Meanwhile, one of the artistes who was not listed among Spotify’s top 10 most listened songs was Vybz Kartel, who it appears is losing his grip on fans.

Drake was recently announced as the most-streamed artist in Jamaica on Spotify, with Alkaline and Vybz Kartel following behind. Vybz Kartel was not thrilled about the news as he shared that a Jamaican should be in the lead.

Kartel later posted on his Instagram account calling for Jamaicans to support local music and stop “worry unuh farin mind” and start supporting local music more.

Vybz Kartel has not shared his Spotify numbers, but one thing is for sure, he does not like second place.

The dancehall legend later took to Instagram, where he shared a screenshot from his analytics page on his YouTube ‘Vybz Kartel’ page. The screenshot showed the singer having 407 million views from January to November 2021.

Vybz Kartel YouTube
Vybz Kartel / YouTube

Kartel’s listenerships include fans in Kingston, New York, Nairobi, Kenya, Georgetown, Guyana, Toronto, Canada, and Panama City.

The artist defended his streaming record – “All when dem a fight n freeze …we dweet wid ease.”

Kartel has always boasted about his streaming ability with his catchy phrase “numbers don’t lie” when it comes to his numerous Billboard plaques, which are also issued based on streaming and album sales numbers.

Some of the dancehall artists in the mainstream, like Shenseea, Spice, Popcaan, and others, have not yet shared their Spotify Wrapped for whatever reasons, although they do appear on the top 50 artists streamed in Jamaica list.

Some artists expected to post big numbers are some familiar names like Sean Paul, Shaggy, and younger acts like Chronixx, Koffee, Spice, Alkaline, and those who released new projects this year, which seems to be what brings the extra listenership.

Charly Blacks, who dropped his Rio Bueno album last month, also dropped his numbers with an impressive 92 million streams from 14.2 million listeners from 178 countries.

Meanwhile, on the overall top 50 Spotify Wrapped list released by the streaming platform, Popcaan comes in at No. 15 while Dexta Daps rings in No. 32, Chronic Law at No. 34, and Shenseea at No. 43.

While Kartel’s decry might be sounding an alarm, Communications manager at Spotify Julia Levander was quoted by the Gleaner as saying that despite the fact that there is only one Jamaican song on the top 10 most listened (Intence’s “Yahoo Boyz”), there might be nothing to worry about.

“This is a reflection of what only Jamaicans in Jamaica are listening to. So, looking at the songs, Jamaicans (in Jamaica) have mostly been listening to tracks by global artistes. But it’s encouraging to see local artists on the list of most played artists and songs,” she said. She compared the situation with Trinidad, which had no local artist in their top 10 songs.

While Levander is speaking from a business perspective that might hold well for Spotify’s business model and earning potential from Jamaica but still, Jamaican artists aren’t getting the bulk of streaming income which should be a concern.

Levander said that the complete list of top songs played from Jamaica showed more Jamaicans on the list, such as Masicka, Skeng, 10Tik, and others who normally get plays when they appear on playlists with other top songs.

Intence I Waata
Intence, I Waata

Among the most played songs aside from Yahoo Boys is Skeng’s “Gvman Shift,” Dexta Daps’ “Call me If,” Skillibeng’s “Crocodile Teeth,” “Coke” and “Not” and “Go Down Deh” by Spice, Shaggy, and Sean Paul.

Aside from those mentioned, other artists have done well and are worth paying attention to in terms of reviewing how they operate so Jamaican artists can learn how to promote and attract listeners. One such artiste is Jamaican legend Sean Kingston, who thrives more in the pop arena but is worthy of mention because of his connection to Jamaica and the music market. The artist shared that he received 320.8 million streams from 47 million listeners in 178 countries.

“Numbers Never Lie!!! Unconditional love,” he wrote in a screenshot of the figures as he thanked his fans and promised new music in the new year.

The Ghanaian artiste Shatta Wale who is known for his dancehall affiliation, also shows potential for the large listenership market in Africa with 100 million streams and 455k monthly listeners. While his music is a variation of dancehall, Wale has been smart with his collaborations with international artists such as Beyoncé. When her songs are streamed, as a featured artist on the song, he gets counted for a stream.

The same is true for Drake with his numerous collaborations, which truly make him King of the numbers.

In recent times, Jamaican artists have not been collaborating, which might be the key to improving their streaming numbers. Shenseea has spoken about it, claiming that artists do not want to collaborate with her, and fans have speculated that it could be because collaborators might feel overshadowed by her.

However, Shenseea herself is experiencing better streaming due to her features with the likes of Kanye West, Tyga, Masego, and others. Her recent indirect Grammy nominations from Kanye’s ‘Donda‘ are already opening doors for her aside from boosting her to fans who previously did not know who she was.

Still, by the end of 2022, Spotify will have a rounder image to deliver since its Wrapped numbers for Jamaica would only be applicable to half a year when it came into the market.

Hopefully, the year 2022 results will see more Jamaicans on top and positioning themselves for listenership globally.