In a momentous occasion at the iconic O2 arena, Nigerian Afrobeats sensation Rema was honoured by Spotify for his phenomenal achievement – his hit track ‘Calm Down’, featuring Selena Gomez reaching an astonishing 1 billion streams on the music streaming platform.
The event took place at the O2 arena, which has a staggering 20,000-person capacity, a fitting venue for celebrating the global success of Rema’s music. Headlined by Rema himself, the concert was a testament to the artist’s talent and the massive impact his work has had on the music industry in Africa and beyond.
The concert not only showcased Rema’s exceptional achievements but also solidified his status as a trailblazer in the international music scene.
Rema’s ‘Calm Down’ has become a global anthem, resonating with audiences across diverse cultures and regions. The song’s blend of infectious beats, soulful lyrics, and Rema’s distinctive voice has captivated listeners since its release. The 1 billion streams milestone on Spotify is a clear indication of the track’s widespread popularity and enduring appeal.
Spotify representatives presented Rema with a commemorative plaque, recognizing his exceptional accomplishment, as the first ever African artist to receive Spotify’s Billion Club Plaque, while serving as a token of appreciation for his contribution to the global music landscape.
“Rema’s remarkable achievement of reaching one billion streams on Spotify is a testament to the growth of African music and the continued growth of Afrobeats globally.
“Receiving his Spotify one billion plaque at his first headlined O2 Arena Show marks a significant moment in history,” said Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music, Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are thrilled to witness this first of its kind moment for an African artist-led track on Spotify, and we eagerly anticipate many more African artists reaching this milestone.”
Rema, visibly moved by the honour, expressed gratitude to his fans and supporters worldwide and thanked Spotify for providing a platform that allows artists to connect with a vast audience.
The O2 concert was attended by industry insiders, fellow musicians, and fans eager to witness this historic moment. Social media platforms buzzed with excitement as fans congratulated Rema on this achievement, celebrating the impact of African music on the global stage.
Premier League Agrees Record-Breaking £6.7Bn Deal with Sky Sports
Sky Sports will air a minimum of 215 Premier League matches a season as part of a new domestic rights agreement which is worth a record £6.7billion.
The broadcaster secured four of the five packages on offer in the Premier League’s latest domestic rights tender which will start in 2025-26, with TNT Sports netting the other package of 52 games.
PA News Agency understands Amazon – who show 20 matches per season under the league’s current deal, elected not to bid for any of the new packages – which run through to the end of the 2028-29 season.
The Premier League said the value of the agreements being announced, which also cover non-live rights, was £6.7billion, the largest sports media rights deal in UK history.
The current live TV deal, which runs through to 2024-25, has been reported to be worth £5billion over the three-year cycle.
Sky’s deal means it will screen up to 100 matches a season more than it currently does, the broadcaster said.
It keeps hold of the key Super Sunday 4.30pm slot and will broadcast all 10 final-day matches for the first time.
TNT’s deal means it retains the 12.30pm Saturday slot and full coverage of two midweek match rounds.
For the first time, all matches outside of those scheduled for 3pm Saturday will be screened live. A debate is ongoing about whether the blackout of TV coverage in the 3pm slot should be lifted for the women’s game.
Match of the Day remains the home for highlights of all 380 Premier League matches for the four seasons of the new cycle.
The Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “We are delighted to announce new deals with Sky Sports and TNT Sports that will extend our partnership for a further four years and see more Premier League matches than ever before shown live from 2025/26 onwards.
“As long-standing and valued partners, Sky Sports and TNT Sports are renowned for consistently delivering world-class coverage and programming.
“We have enjoyed record audiences and attendances in recent seasons, and we know that their continued innovation will drive more people to watch and follow the Premier League.
“We are also extremely pleased to extend our partnership with BBC Sport, which will continue to bring weekly highlights of all Premier League matches to the widest possible audience in the UK.
“Match of the Day has been an institution for generations of football fans in this country and remains incredibly popular with fans of all ages.
“The outcome of this process underlines the strength of the Premier League and is testament to our clubs, players and managers who continue to deliver the world’s most competitive football in full stadiums, and to supporters, who create an unrivalled atmosphere every week.”
TNT Sports have secured Package A, which includes 52 matches with the primary kick-off time being 12.30pm. Within that, they get 18 second picks of matches, 14 fourth picks and all 20 of the fourth and fifth midweek rounds in the season.
Sky has secured B, C, D and E, with Package D being the one featuring the Sunday 4.30pm kick-offs and 18 first picks, along with the final-day action live.
Four packages was the maximum any single broadcaster could buy, and despite the number of live games increasing from 200 to circa 270, the matches were split between fewer packages compared to the previous rights cycle.
It is understood that the make-up of the packages, and the difficulty in exploiting a premium, high-volume model within their Prime subscription service, was the reason for Amazon’s decision not to bid.
AstraZeneca Set to Use AI to optimise Reforestation Programme in Africa
AI deep learning model to monitor tree health, long-term survival and carbon sequestration; Commitment to plant and maintain up to six million trees in Kenya in support of climate action, human health and community resilience.
As part of its flagship AZ Forest programme, AstraZeneca has made a pledge to plant up to six million trees in western Kenya. The new project, announced at COP28, builds on the company’s recently expanded African reforestation initiatives in Ghana and Rwanda. AZ Forest Africa is part of AstraZeneca’s broader commitment to plant and maintain more than 200 million trees across six continents by 2030, in recognition of the strong connection between human and planetary health.
The reforestation in Kenya will span six counties in the west of the country, adjacent to the Rift Valley, covering more than 3,500 hectares of land. The project will be amongst the first to use an advanced AI deep learning model to analyse drone footage and satellite imagery to monitor tree growth and health, while also quantifying levels of carbon sequestration.
Designed using a science-based approach and harnessing new technological innovations, the programme aims to promote long-term tree health, increase biodiversity of flora and fauna, and generate an economic boost for local communities.
The role nature-based solutions can play in addressing the climate-health crisis is a top agenda item at COP28, with the climate summit placing a focus on the progress made since the Glasgow Declaration of COP26 to end deforestation.[4,5] New research has underlined the impact that reforestation and the protection of existing trees can have in tackling climate change, potentially sequestering up to 226 gigatonnes of carbon.
Juliette White, Vice President Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca, said: “The link between planetary and human health is clear.
“Investing in our natural world through tree planting and conservation, and limiting deforestation, are some of the most effective preventative health steps we can take.
“By expanding AZ Forest to Kenya, we are progressing our commitment to deliver reforestation at scale, with a science-led approach that benefits both the environment and local communities.”
AstraZeneca is working with world-leading experts to design and deliver its AZ Forest programme including with Earthbanc and the Green Planet Initiative 2050 Foundation (GPI2050) for its Kenya project. Indigenous and productive tree species will improve soil health and local crop yields, while produce including leaves and honey will benefit the local agroeconomy.
More than 5,000 local farmers and local community members will be engaged in the project, which also aims to support a groundbreaking reforestation ambition from the Kenyan government.
Her Excellency Rachel Ruto First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, said: “Climate change affects us all and tackling it requires concerted action from governments, individuals, and business.
“We welcome AstraZeneca’s approach to reforestation: working with local communities to ensure economic benefits for people that match the positive impact on the planet. This initiative will contribute towards Kenya’s goal to plant 15 billion trees over the next decade.”
Tom Duncan, CEO, Earthbanc, said: “This land regeneration project in Kenya is a very exciting opportunity that we are pleased to support in collaboration with our partners. Earthbanc is committed to bringing private sector climate finance to accelerate and scale reforestation to meet the challenge of climate change.
“The AZ Forest initiative brings significant co-benefits with its focus on circular bioeconomy, sustainable communities, ecosystem health and sustainable markets.
“We are looking forward to this project launch and demonstrating that we can all play a part in the global effort towards planetary regeneration.”
Aside from Kenya, AZ Forest’s global programme which aims to span 100,000 hectares worldwide continues apace. In Ghana, almost three million trees have been planted this year taking the total to over four million since the project began in 2021. The project has engaged 1,200 farmers across 23 communities.
While in Rwanda, 6,000 farming households are signed up to the project, with 16 community nurseries established to grow a range of indigenous and fruit tree species. Planting is set to start in the coming months with a target to plant around 5.8 million trees across 21,000 hectares, in what is one of the largest forest restoration initiatives in Rwanda.
Unveil Your Audio Odyssey With Spotify’s Wrapped Personalized User Experience
It’s that time of the year again when music enthusiasts get to lean on Spotify to dive in and get a revelation of their top listening moments of the year. Spotify Wrapped 2023 is upon us and individuals are ready to embark on their sonic adventure.
This year, Spotify Wrapped introduces listeners to an overview of their music preferences through an access to their personalized 2023 Wrapped experience. Spotify users will be able to exclusively unveil their listening journey on the Spotify mobile app on iOS and Android and also via web view on mobile or Desktop on Spotify.com/Wrapped.
Please make sure your Spotify app is updated to the latest version to access. The experience started rolling out to users globally on November 29 at 2PM WAT/ 3PM SAST/ 4PM EAT.
As you check the receipts on your year in review, only your Wrapped results can reveal what you were really feeling in 2023. Here’s what to look out for:
New data stories bringing you to the heart of their listening: In addition to your top artists, genres, songs, podcasts and minutes listened, we’re adding a few new features to look out for.
Me in 2023 celebrates a streaming habit that defined your listening this year. The experience will reveal one of 12 listening characters that best describes the way you listened on Spotify this year – examples include the Shapeshifter (you’re quick to move from one artist to the next), the Luminary (you play light, upbeat music more than others), or the Alchemist (you create your own playlists more than others do).
Sound Town matches you to a city based on your listening and shared artist affinity. Listening habits are shared in surprising ways across communities around the world, and 2023 Wrapped celebrates that.
Wrapped fan-favorites appear in a refreshed way users haven’t seen before:
Top 5 Genres story shows you how your top five music genres stacked up with a new sandwich-inspired design.
Top 5 Artists lets you see the month your listening peaked for each artist – painting a fuller picture of your entire year and all the moments that made it.
You will also get to hear from one of your top artists directly within your personalized Wrapped via Your Artist Messages. You can then visit the Wrapped feed for video messages from more than 40,000 artists including Taylor Swift, Burna Boy, Bad Bunny, SZA, Dolly Parton and more. See HERE for a video compilation of the artist’s messages.
Wrapped Feed: Right on your Spotify Home screen, the Wrapped feed is the one-stop shop for all things Wrapped, including the best of editorial playlists, merch from your top artists, concerts near you, and more.
Spotify’s AI DJ will guide listeners through their personalized Wrapped – serving up the music you loved this year and sharing commentary about some of your favorite artists, genres, songs and more. The experience will be available for the first week after Wrapped launches.
This year, you can invite your friends to create a Blend and tap the ‘2023 Wrapped Top Songs’ filter to combine all of your top songs from this year into one shared playlist. 2023 Wrapped Integrations
Wrapped on the Pitch with FC Barcelona: As a part of the continued partnership between Spotify and FC Barcelona, fans can find videos from some of their favorite players, including Robert Lewandowski, Alexia Putella and Pedri, guessing each other’s Wrapped. Additionally, 2023 Wrapped will be featured on the LED screens at upcoming matches for the men’s team December 3rd and the women’s team on December 10.
Wrapped themed integrations: Easily access Your Top Songs 2023 by asking Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. You can also find Wrapped stickers on social platforms like WhatsApp and anywhere GIPHY Stickers are integrated.
Additionally, Spotify has also launched its Wrapped creator experience for podcasters and artists. With access to their own individualized Wrapped microsite experience, creators can dive into all the ways in which their fans listened this year.
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