Triller is Creating the Perfect Vehicle to Take Afrobeats to the World

Writer: Ayomide Oriowo

December 18th, 2020

Only two music chart publications in the world publish the official Triller chart; Billboard publishes the Top Triller US and Top Triller Global Chart, and TurnTable Charts publishes the Top Triller Nigeria Chart. For the latter, this is a testament to the fact that video-sharing platforms like Triller hold huge importance in the distribution of Afrobeats and Nigerian music within and outside Nigeria.  Claude Crevelle, VP International at Triller, and Joel Houenou, Africa Strategic Partnerships Director Triller, have different stories on their entry into music but both share a deep love for music that is the core value of Triller. The introduction of Triller within the Nigerian music scene has increased the growth of the industry internationally and further growth would be difficult without the presence of platforms like Triller.  The two men at the helm of affairs of everything Triller and Nigerian music sit down with us to discuss their individual journey into music, globalization of Afrobeats, diversity, and richness of African music, monetization of content on Triller, and direct streams count on streaming platforms and more.      Joel, how did you get into music? JOEL: First of all, I am a big fan of music, and I make music. I have a master’s degree in digital marketing. When I was young, my main goal was to work in the music industry and understand how things worked. This took me to TRACE TV where I used to work as a music scheduler for TRACE Africa and after my degree, I joined Triller. How about you, Claude? CLAUDE: I started as a DJ when I was like 14 with my best friend. Then we started a label when I was 21 and for a couple of years, we produced few artistes in France. One of them became a pretty interesting artiste in EDM across Europe. Then I came back (into music) with the opportunity to make Triller a really interesting platform for music discovery. So Joel, just about your music. You're a hip-hop artiste, right? Yeah. Can you tell us more about your music and how hip-hop became a way for you to artistically express yourself? JOEL: As regards the first part of the question, I love music a lot. I remember when I was young, my dad used to listen to a lot of reggae music. That’s how I fell in love with music and I also listened to a lot of music from the US especially Hip-hop. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen more Nigerian artistes and African artistes join Triller to push their music to a wider audience. Do you believe it’s a sign that a lot of these artistes are recognizing the importance of video-sharing platforms like Triller? JOEL: Yeah, you know Triller is a social media app that makes everything easier when it comes to music promotion. We help artistes to connect directly with their fans through the app. For example, you can be in Nigeria and promote your song to your fans around the world. Not only in your home country, but outside your country. And you know today because of coronavirus (COVID-19), everybody is at home, there are no more concerts, no more shows, and everything has been on pause. Triller makes this easier in terms of promotion in times like this. That is why today we have many artistes joining and it’s totally free to sign up on the app.  You have put a lot of focus on African music especially Afrobeats. The creation of TurnTable Top Triller Nigeria Chart allows artistes to track the popularity and progress of their music on Triller. Why the spotlight on African music and Afrobeats? JOEL: In Africa, there are different genres of music; African music is having a great impact in the world with Afrobeats, we have artistes like Wizkid, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage that are attracting lots of listeners and attention worldwide. Nowadays, we can see a lot of collaboration between African artistes and US/EU artistes.  Triller is here to push the music and the culture from the continent of Africa to the world. Music is a universal language and Triller wants to help get all genres of music to all corners of the world.  CLAUDE: It's being almost 2 years since we started this journey in Africa, we started to really work on the growth of Triller in Africa as we believe it’s really key for us to be strong in Africa because it’s the new territory of music. If you look at music from Latin America, like reggaeton they have been all over the world, especially in the last decade with a lot of them collaborating with the biggest stars from the US.  Today, if you look at who is featuring the top artistes in the world, most of them are African. You can see the likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid collaborating with the biggest stars, Mr. Eazi with J Balvin, Davido with Nicki Minaj, Burna Boy with Stromzy, and Ed Sheeran. So many artistes worldwide are looking to Africa at the moment, we really believe that Afrobeats is going to be the next reggaeton.  We are doing our best in exporting and pushing Afrobeats to the world. If you listen to reggaeton music, you can hear the African influences. If you listen to hip-hop, it has African roots, I think it’s time for Africa to really showcase the original sound, the music that comes from there.   As a listener, what would you say is the most unique aspect of Afrobeats? The sound, lyrics, melody, or everything together?  JOEL: It’s a mix of everything for me. The lyrics, the sound, the percussion, the melody.   Like you said already, Afrobeats is the next frontier and on course to conquer the world, and 'Afrobeats to the world' movement is well and truly started. The major artistes are already collaborating with the biggest stars in the world, signing international record deals, and having their albums chart on the American and European charts. Are we going to see more strategic partnerships between Triller and these artistes as time goes on?  JOEL: Yeah, we are already in touch with lots of artistes and we are working together with them to promote their music. Triller is always there to create a strategy to help them to push their music and we really want to work with everybody in Africa. Both on the Francophone and Anglophone side. Here at Triller, we don't care about how big a label is or not, we are here to give a chance to everybody and push everyone to the top. CLAUDE: As Joel said, one of our missions is to help discover new talents which is why we are going to be running talent shows across Africa.  This is to give young talents a platform. We have done one in the US that went really well, called 'Step Up to the Mic' and we want to reproduce the same concept in other regions of the world. For us, Africa is one of our major focus for this talent show and we already thinking of partnering with big artistes, plus access to some recording studios that could help give these talents a chance to become the next Mr. Eazi or the next Burna Boy. That sounds very exciting. We can't wait to see it. CLAUDE: We’re trying to do exciting stuff, that’s what helps us wake up in the morning because we love what we do, so we are really excited about it every day.  How soon can we expect a global Afrobeats hit propelled by Triller? CLAUDE: I think it’s already done and Joel has more than one example to demonstrate. JOEL: Yeah... We just like released a few days ago, I don't know if you have seen DJ Neptune's recent Twitter post? We released the biggest songs on Triller from the first of January to date and out of the top 10, 6 were from Africa. What I want to point out about that chart is that it’s not just African users who create content on the platform but all users across the globe. This is a global chart so it means that globally we see some tracks from Africa becoming real hits. JOEL: some of the Nigerian songs on the charts are ‘Geng’ by Mayorkun, ‘Beamer’ by Rema, and ‘Duduke’’ by Simi. Those are some of the biggest songs in Nigeria. People love these songs and it is really incredible to see that people appreciate some of these songs worldwide. JOEL: This chart really matches the charts in Nigeria. It really flows well with what people like in Nigeria and Africa in general.  There have been several discussions concerning the monetization of content on Triller, especially from the angle of artistes and record labels. What are your plans regarding that specifically for artistes? CLAUDE: For instance, we are launching new features. One of the biggest features for artistes will be revealed soon. A few selected artistes and talent would be able to start performing live sessions on Triller. That is something that could be monetized by artistes. Our main focus remains the same, to support artistes and do whatever we can to help them generate revenue from their art. That’s what the platform is built for.   We assume there is a way streams on Triller counts on Apple Music, right? CLAUDE: Yes. We will launch the same service with different platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Boomplay, and many more. The idea is to offer a seamless experience for those who discover a song on Triller and wants to listen to the full track and give benefit to the artiste. What spurred the decision to partner with TurnTable Charts on Top Triller chart? What influenced the decision to create a chart basically for Nigeria? JOEL: Having a chart in each country in Africa, starting from Nigeria, helps artistes see how their track performs on the app and how people are engaged with their music. Having a chart is really good to see how everything performs. Partnering with you is great because you have an audience in Nigeria and lots of people know TurnTable from the industry, so working with you guys is great for us.

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