How Geng Heralded the Entry of Triller and Tik Tok in Nigerian Music
Covid-19 lockdown was yet to hit Nigeria when Mayorkun’s “Geng” dropped on the 24th of January, 2020, but the #GengChallenge, propelled by a new app called Triller, was a sign of things to come in an unforgettable year.
The dynamics of an industry that relied heavily on the offline market and tours/concerts had to change when we were all forced to stay home and fight the invisible enemy by doing nothing. No shows meant the artistes had to look at other creative ways to connect with fans – and video-sharing apps like Triller and Tik Tok became the best (and cheapest) option.
With almost zero cost, you music could become a viral hit any part of the world as a result of fan-generated videos/clips with your song as soundtrack. These video-sharing apps became the best distribution and promotional channel you can think of, worldwide, and Nigeria was not exempted.
Mayorkun’s “Geng” had all the makings of a viral hit; it had corny lines, it had hilarious one-liners, it spurned online memes and made some rappers annoyed for not trying to sound like a rap song – it is quintessential pop song of modern times.
Triller, which is similar to Tik Tok in scope, need a loud entry in the Nigerian market. With Tik Tok focused on creators and directly competing with YouTube, there was a gap for Triller to fill in the music scene.
The accompanying #GengChallenge was the perfect entry for a new app like Triller. Even the artiste himself made a hilarious tweet about not knowing what the app was but he was feeling it. Of course he was – he just landed the first hit of 2020 of fan engagement.
Natalie Taylor’s “Surrender” was another song that became popular in Nigeria through the power of fan-generated video. While the cynics would tell you that those cute videos of lovers were with “Surrender” as the soundtrack were almost a pandemic of their own, it is impossible to deny the effectiveness of Triller in spreading the global reach of the song.
Nowadays, the biggest artistes in Africa are on Triller, creating videos that could spurn the next Africa’s “Old Town Road” or “The Box.” While it might take some time before the app becomes a mainstay in Nigeria or have the cultural impact similar to that of Tik Tok in American Music, the signs are there Triller could be the best and cheapest bet for Nigeria’s first true global hit (the “Gangnam Style,” “Despacito,” or even “Jerusalema” type).
The recent (and continued) success of "Forever" in Nigeria by Ghanaian artiste, Gyakie, was propelled by Triller. The song has since become the first song by a female artiste to top the Triller Nigeria Chart while the popularity on the app has spread to other platforms such as Apple Music, Audiomack, Boomplay and YouTube NG.
In vol. 001 of TurnTable Magazine, Claude Crevelle, VP International at Triller, and Joel Houenou, Africa Strategic Partnerships Director Triller, mentioned future plans for African music. They also opined that Triller has already launched a global hit in Dj Neptune’s “Nobody” featuring Joeboy & Mr. Eazi in 2020 – an opinion backed by the presence of six songs in the top ten of Top Triller Global End of the Year Chart 2020. You can read the interview here
While Tik Tok might not be as artiste-centric as Triller, the video-sharing app is still effective in fan-engagement in increasing promotion of a song. Most recently, the viral #BussItChallenge led to increase in activity in Nigeria in recent week, including debuting at No. 48 on this week’s Top Airplay Chart.
At some point in April of 2020, Tik Tok was the 16th most popular social media app in Nigeria. And for a short while in April, it was the 8th overall most popular Android app in Nigeria (overtaking Instagram by two places) and the third most popular social media app on Google Play (while Instagram was at 4th place), according to here .
Triller is quite focused on African music as a whole and it is gradually becoming the perfect vehicle to take Afrobeats to the World. Last year, the company partnered with TurnTable Charts to launch the Top Triller Nigeria Chart – making TurnTable Charts one of the two music chart publications that publish weekly charts based on performance on the app. The other music chart publication is Billboard, which operates in the United States.
Mayorkun and Triller are becoming quite the pair; the artiste impressively ended the year as the No. 1 artiste and with the No. 1 song (you guessed right, “Geng”) on the Top Triller End of the Year Charts. The platform will keep bridging the gap between fans and artistes especially with the continued ban on social gatherings – and keep on driving some of the biggest hits in Nigeria.
Who knows? Your favorite emerging artiste might just land the “Geng” of 2021.