Afrobeats star Wizkid has earned the BRIT Billion Award after he surpassed one billion digital streams in the UK.
The achievement, which makes the singer the first African recipient of the award, was presented to him at his Tottenham Hotspur Stadium show on Saturday, held in support of his 2022 album More Love, Less Ego. He joins the ranks of global superstars ABBA, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Rita Ora and Sam Smith, all of whom have scored that feat.
The BRIT Billion Award was launched in May by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the British recorded music industry’s trade association, to reflect the impact of streaming, which has become the dominant method of music consumption in the UK, accounting for over 85% of recorded music consumption. Last year witnessed a record-breaking 160 billion audio streams in the UK.
“For a recording artist, there can be few greater sources of pride than having a Platinum or Gold disc on their wall, but in an era when success is measured in the hundreds of millions and indeed billions of streams, it was clear that we needed a new and additional way to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement in recorded music, and I feel certain that having a BRIT Billion Award will become equally prized,” BPI chief strategy officer and interim chief executive Sophie Jones said.
Wizkid boasts multiple platinum and gold certifications in the UK. ‘One Dance’, his 2016 collaboration with Canadian rap icon Drake is now a six-times platinum hit, having sold over 3.6 million units. Other songs like ‘Bad Energy’ with UK rapper Skepta, and ‘Essence’, his 2020 runaway hit with fellow Nigerian singer Tems have also earned platinum certifications. ‘Come Closer’, another collaboration with Drake and Beyoncé’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’ have both received gold certifications as has his fourth studio album Made In Lagos.
Wizkid’s just-ended London stadium show follows his historic three-day residency at the O2 Arena in 2021, where tickets sold out in record time. Saturday’s gig saw him perform from his illustrious catalogue, which now spans five LPs.
Meanwhile, the ‘Ojuelegba’ singer is set to headline the Oya Festival in Oslo, Norway, on 10 August, followed by a series of concerts in Europe and North America. As part of his More Love Less Ego tour, he will be performing in Copenhagen, Paris, Brussels, Dublin, and several cities in the United States and Canada. The tour will continue until February 2025, with a performance in Vancouver, Canada.