Social Media vs Traditional Media: Which is Responsible for Biggest Hits of 2021?

Ayomide Oriowo

December 21st, 2021

It is no secret that social media and video-sharing apps are providing the soundtrack to our newly found Covid-embattled life. Content by social media users and influencers is becoming the new wave of promotion for songs with labels and artistes in Nigeria looking to have the next viral hit in the country – and even the next “Love Nwantiti.”

Simply put, the music industry has changed – what holds in 2015 is almost impossible to replicate in the 2021 landscape. And the biggest cause of this change is none other than social media. As video-sharing apps like Tik Tok and Triller continue to grow, new opportunities arise for artistes in how to promote their songs and get their songs. Due to this change, several music enthusiasts and listeners have expressed opinions that suggest that traditional media is dying, or has little to no impact on what is popular in Nigeria.

TurnTable Charts has decided to review the music of 2021 and provide a better assessment of this notion and determine whether if this is false or true.

Kyellu “Ria” Emma, a digital marketing specialist and founder of Rijumedia. Kyellu has worked with some of the biggest music organizations in the country such as Empawa Africa, Mavin Records, DMW, UMG Nigeria and artistes like Hamisu Breaker, with the aim of helping promote their music. When quizzed about the impact of both social media and traditional media, she had this to say;

“I think both. In the past, it was songs popping on radio/TV that people use on IG etc. Right now, some songs have become massive radio/TV hits because they became viral on Tik Tok and IG. At the moment it goes both ways.” Kyellu told TurnTable Charts what social media she focuses on when working on a song – “Tik Tok & IG mostly, IG has more users (than Tik Tok) but Tik Tok has way many tools to create content.”

On the topic of which of social media and traditional media cost more, she answered; “Honestly as much as you can spend on either. But these days, I’m thinking social media. Infuencers dey para”

Okafor Nnamdi, the digital marketing & accounts manager for Sony Music West Africa, has had to work with many of the biggest acts/projects of 2021 – Ruger, Lojay, Gyakie’s “Forever (Remix), ” Mayorkun, Oladapo, Sarz & Obongjayar’s EP & more.

“With the steady decline of user attention span on social media and the average span being eight seconds, short form apps are the future of social media and Tik Tok is a glaring example of that. “

“Traditionally, to get a song very popular, you need POWER OF REPLAY on radio,” he continues. “A song had to average 3-10 spins a day but now you can hear a song 3-10 times in one minute (the catchiest parts of the song) accompanied by rich media on these platforms.

This development has made social media become increasingly expensive as a form of music promotion. Nnamdi, his label and many others are dedicating a huge chunk of their budgets to social media promotion. “This is because it is an easier, less technical and faster means to get records to become viral. The local and global music charts reflect that”

Adewale “Don Halogen” has years of experience in digital marketing and played a key role in the success of a number of songs over the years; “Instagram and Tik Tok have been the most important apps for music promotion in 2021, resulting in profound effect in pushing our music across the world. They have become excellent tools for every artiste to get their content heard and noticed.”

“The two apps have also become a channel for record producers/labels to discover new artistes as well as providing a great opportunity for emerging artistes and content creators for a shot at fame. Even for the established acts, knowing how to navigate these two apps is key to getting your content heard in other territories”

When asked on the cost implication of both social and traditional media, he answered; “Based on my experience, traditional media will cost you more. Social media gets you a larger reach for the same cost or less. Social media is more or less a billboard that allows you interact with your target audience. Whereas, traditional media will get you visibility that may or may not lead to conversion.”

“A sponsored post on an influencer network will assure you a reach that cuts across audience in different states in the country,” he continues. “To achieve that same level of reach with traditional media, it will definitely cost more.”

For Adewale, Instagram is the most effective social media platform in Nigeria. “You can see Instagram as a marketplace for other social media apps; your YouTube content will be on IG, you will need to bring your Tik Tok and Triller content to IG, same as Twitter. Na there be the last bus stop.”

In the list of most popular songs on Tik Tok in Nigeria, “Lie,” by Kizz Daniel emerged No. 1 for 2021. The top five also included AV’s “Big Thug Boys,” Ayra Starr’s “Bloody Samaritan,” Jaywillz’s “Medicine” and Kayblinkz’s “Nobody”.

“Lie” topped the TurnTable Top 50 for seven weeks in 2021, “Bloody Samaritan” also made it to No. 1 for a week on the chart while “Big Thug Boys” peaked at No. 5. “Medicine” peaked in the top 20 on the chart and has spent over 20 weeks in 2021 in the Top 50. Only “Nobody” by Kayblinkz failed to make it to the top 50.

On the list of most popular songs on Triller, “Rush” by Bella Shmurda emerged as No. 1 on the year-end list. One of the best musical moments of 2021 came in the form of the snippet of “Rush” on Triller. This led to an overdrive from fans and listeners – and high demand for the full song to drop. At one point, the snippet of “Rush” was the most-streamed song on Audiomack for a week.

When the song dropped, it became an instant hit peaking at No. 4 on the TurnTable Top 50. A look at the top ten songs on Triller for 2021 showed that all the songs peaked in the top ten on the TurnTable Top 50. Interestingly, only 3 of the top ten didn’t finish in the overall Top 20 songs of 2021 – the aforementioned “Rush” (No. 33 on Year-End Chart) Joeboy’s “Show Me” (No. 34), and Mayorkun’s “Your Body” (No. 70)

On the list of Top Artistes on Triller in 2021, the top ten are dominated by several well-known names in Nigerian music. The only exception is Ghanaian artiste, Gyakie, who became the first female artiste to have two No. 1 songs on the weekly Top Triller Chart (the original version and remix of “Forever” reached No. 1). The rise of Gyakie in Nigeria, particularly “Forever” and “Forever (Remix)” was unmissable in the early parts of 2021. Before Valentine’s Day in 2021, you couldn’t escape that earworm of a hook by Gyakie on social media. “Forever (Remix)” ended the year as the most-shazamed song in Nigeria for 2021, No. 13 on the overall Top Songs of 2021 in Nigeria, and the highest-ranked song by a non-Nigerian artiste of the year.

The globe-trotting effort of Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti” was made possible by one medium – Tik Tok. The song has racked up over 15 billion views on Tik Tok in 2021, ending the year as one of the most popular tracks in the world on the app and eventually reaching the upper echelons of several charts across the world.

Ckay was named as one of the Global Emerging Artistes of the Year on Tik Tok (a list that also included Amaarae whose “SAD GIRLS LUV MONEY (Remix)” enjoyed virality on the app in the later months of 2021). What this means for Nigerian artistes (and Africans in general) is an easier-than-ever-before opportunity to catapult into a global success. Literally, you’re a viral Tik Tok challenge away from debuting on global charts in the United States, United Kingdom, other parts of Europe, and Australia. That is the power of social media and why it will continue to be a major tool for music promotion by Nigerian artistes.

While Tik Tok and Triller have proven to become effective tools for promoting music in Nigeria and even internationally, the user base of both apps in the country still pale in comparison to more established social media apps like Instagram, Triller, Snapchat, and Facebook.

So in reality, rather than Tik Tok and Triller being enough to send a song to the upper echelons of a chart, instead they create a domino effect on these other social media apps where clips of video containing a song then transform into a more mainstream hit.

This is seen in several cases of trending songs Tik Tok (“Bloody Samaritan,” “Alcohol,” “Lie,” “Baby Riddim,” “Big Thug Boys,” “Medicine” and “No Wahala”) and Triller (“Rush” and “Forever (Remix)”). These songs become viral within these video-sharing apps, clips from a video containing the songs end up on Twitter and Instagram and thus become mainstream. The first three songs (“Bloody Samaritan,” “Sip (Alcohol)” and “Lie”) listed all finished in the top ten of the End of the Year Top 50 in Nigeria. Tik Tok and Triller are the originators; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and even WhatsApp are the amplifiers.

The question now is where does that leave traditional media in the equation of being a platform for music promotion? Radio and TV remain the most widely used medium for music consumption in Nigeria due to the popularity of illegal download blogs in the country. The top three radio stations in Lagos in terms of monthly listeners – City 105.1 FM, Cool FM, and Bond FM – all have more listeners than any DSP in the country, with Audiomack the only to announce reaching over 1 million subscribers in Nigeria so far.

Dj Kaywise & Phyno’s “High Way” is the No. 1 song on radio in Nigeria in 2021, followed by Omah Lay’s “Godly,” Wizkid’s “Essence” with Tems, Davido’s “The Best” with Mayorkun, and Ajebo Hustlers’ “Pronto” with Omah Lay.

Ayra Starr’s “Away” is the only song in the top ten of top songs on the radio in 2021 that is missing in the overall Top 20 of the year. Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” with DaBaby, The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears,” Peruzzi’s “Southy Love” 24kGoldn & iann dior’s “Mood” and Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” is the only song in the top 40 on the radio that failed to make the overall Top 50 of 2021 in Nigeria.

For TV, Burna Boy’s “Way Too Big,” Fireboy DML’s “Spell” with Wande Coal, and Spinall’s “Sere” with Fireboy DML are the only songs in the top ten of 2021 not to make the overall Top 50 of 2021 in Nigeria. The top 50 songs on TV for the year and the overall Top 50 show the greatest disparity; 24 songs in total on the former do not make the overall Top 50 of the year.

Some of these songs include Megan Thee Stallion’s “Cry Baby” with DaBaby (No. 13 on TV), Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak’s “Leave The Door Open” (No. 16), Kizz Daniel’s “Boys Are Bad” (No. 17), Tems’ “The Key” (No. 20), King Promise’s “Slow Down” (No. 21), Cardi B’s “Up” (No. 35), Justin Bieber’s “Holy” with Chance The Rapper (No. 36), Chris Brown & Young Thug’s “GO CRAZY” (No. 45), Davido’s “Shopping Spree” with Young Thug & Chris Brown (No. 46) and more. If you frequent music channels on satellite TV in Nigeria, you would know how popular these songs are on Nigerian TV.

While the pandemic and lockdown have been kind to the growth of streaming platforms in Nigeria especially Apple Music and YouTube Music, the number of users recorded by these platforms is still not sufficient enough when compared to bigger markets. As a result of this, traditional media remains a major source of music activity in the country. One of the FAQs by music enthusiasts regarding the TurnTable Top 50 is why radio remains the biggest component of the chart. The simple answer is that streaming is still in its early stages in our country.

Think of this as the evolution of streaming on the Billboard Hot 100; in 2007, streaming was first introduced to the chart accounting for roughly 5% of the total chart points at the time (55% to radio, 40% to digital sales, 1% to retail sales). By 2012, streaming had grown rapidly in the United States especially with the rise of on-demand streaming (a concept that is more familiar today), and likewise, streaming grew on the Hot 100. The addition of YouTube to the Hot 100 in 2013 further shook up the chart and by then, streaming was gradually catching up to digital sales and radio in terms of impact in reality and on the charts. The share of the Hot 100 as of 2015 was airplay (30-40%), sales (35-45%), and streaming 20-30)%.

Today, streaming has become the biggest form of music consumption in the United States with platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube dominating. The result is seen on the Hot 100 where songs can reach the upper echelons of the chart solely through streaming numbers – some songs even reach No. 1 with little airplay (Travis Scott & Kid Cudi’s “THE SCOTTS” is a recent example).

TurnTable Charts expects the same evolution for the TurnTable Top 50; as streaming continues to grow in Nigeria, the changes will reflect on the chart. With time, data from platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify will be added to the chart. The absence of a digital or retail purchase culture in Nigeria means that it is unlikely for digital sales to ever be a component of the TurnTable Top 50. But that leaves room for the incorporation of social media in terms of user-generated content on Tik Tok, Triller, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Or even views from social media on videos like IGTV or Facebook. Creator content and social media trends are a huge part of Nigerian music – as such, it is important to have a definitive system to track which creators, trends, and ultimately songs are making the biggest impact in the country. The official Top Triller Chart Nigeria published by TurnTable Charts is a perfect start to achieving this.

It is a great time for everything Afrobeats; our music can travel to every corner of the earth without even being a mega-hit domestically. Superstars and emerging artistes in Nigeria are topping global shazam charts. The biggest record labels in the world are all operating in one form or the other for the first time in the century. The biggest streaming platforms in the world and local platforms are competing for market share in Nigeria. New media platforms such as TurnTable Charts are creating value that’s proved almost impossible in the country.

Social media and traditional media have a part to play in what becomes the biggest hits in the country. Both media contributed to the biggest hits of the year with social media having a greater impact than before, particularly in the year. Social media also represents a cheaper option with better global opportunities for emerging artistes. A great example of an artiste utilizing both media to push their music is Kizz Daniel with his new Barnabas EP; “Pour Me Water” is being promoted on social media and has spurned the #PourMeWaterChallenge on Tik Tok (amplified by Instagram). “Eh God (Barnabas)” is being promoted on radio as the song is No. 8 on the latest radio chart published by TurnTable Charts – “Pour Me Water” occupies No. 42 on the same chart. The result is both tracks are in the top five of the latest streaming chart published by TurnTable Charts.

In every conversation of which songs are the biggest of the year, some people tend to describe some hits as “street hits” and others as “digital hits” – with up-tempo songs released by artistes performing in local languages categorized under the former and mid-tempo songs put under the latter. What 2021 has shown is that social media has the power to send all types of songs to the lips or consciousness of millions of Nigeria – from Dai Verse’s “Cocaine” to Geynor’s “Ameno Amapiano Remix” to Hagman’s “Focus Dance.”

Also, the ubiquitous status of a “digital hit” exists – just not on streaming platforms like Apple Music or Audiomack. Why? Millions of downloads, plays, and streams are lost to download blogs that offer Nigerians an opportunity to listen and share music at no cost. So in essence, the “streets” are listening to the “digital hits,” not just on DSPs. How do you then measure what the “streets” listen to? Traditional media.

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