“Most Popular Ethiopian Artist” of 2018 on YouTube


In the past few years, Ethiopian artists are growingly accustomed to releasing their music works on platforms such as Youtube, Spotify, Tidal and CD Baby. Just like any other global artists, Ethiopian artists are increasingly making their music available on digital streaming platforms by breaking the CD tradition.

The year 2018 was also a remarkable year for artists who were releasing their music works on the internet. This is mainly due to measures taken by the government to unblock websites and social media accounts and also the recent reduction of internet tariffs. This article looks at the most trending artists and songs in the year 2018.

According to Youtube Music Charts & Insights, Nhatty Man was the most popular Ethiopian artist in the year 2018. Following the release of his album and the availability of his album on Youtube Nhatty was to lead with 776K total plays. Most of his listeners and viewers outside Ethiopia where from the United States, UAE, Lebanon, and Germany. His album single “Yemejmeriaye” was viewed more than 3.2 million times and it was the most played music from his album.

Bisrat Surafel who also released his first album titled “Atenkuat”, ranked the second with 505K plays. Just like Nhatty Man his hit song “Yebet Sera” was viewed more than 2.8 million times. Unlike Nhatty Man, Bisrat Surafel’s music video clip was released through Minew Shewa Entertainment while Nhatty Man’s released all his works through his own music channel. This mainly impacts the amount of revenue an artist gets from YouTube. Nhatty Man, who currently resides outside Ethiopia was not affected by YouTube policy that restricts video contents uploaded from Ethiopia from being monetized. While many artists like Bisrat have to rely on Youtube Music Channels like Minew Shewa and HOPE MUSIC Channel to monetize their channel. This mainly reduces their earning by 40-60%.

From the top 10 artists that trended in Ethiopia five of them were Amharic musicians including the legendary Aster Aweke and Teddy Afro. Ephrem Amare (Tigrinya), Asgegnew Ashko (Asge) (Welayta) and Selamawit Yohannes (Tigrinya and Amharic) were the three artists who were able to make it make it to the top ten list while performing non-Amharic music.

Another interesting trend that emerges from 2018 Youtube Charts was the rise of Tigrinya Music popularity in a country where Amharic Music has been dominant one for so long. From a total of 20 songs that were listed as popular by YouTube, seven songs were in Tigrinya. Ephrem Amare was able to top the list with his two hit songs “Teshenefiyalew” (Mulualem Takele & Ephrem Amare) and “Sey”. Aside from the rise of talented up-and-coming Tigrinya singers the cultural similarity between Eritreans and Ethiopians is a contributing factor to the rise of views for the artists.