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AZANIA Public reopens for 2021

Posted by radio On January - 8 - 2021 ADD COMMENTS

Johannesburg-based PR & Communications agency Azania Public has reopened for the 2021. Working with the likes of Kelly Khumalo, Shwi Nomtekhala, Boity, Nasty C, Rowlene, J Molley, Ricky Tyer, Major League, Nigeria’s Patoranking, Tems, Fireboy DML and L.A.X, Naima Kay, Nduduzo Makhathini, Simphiwe Dana, Prince Kaybee, Hard Rock Cafe and Nathi Mankayi as well as the Center for Less Good Idea, the female owned and led business is thrilled to be back in action.

The team is also known for its work with the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Universal Music, Blackbrain Pictures, Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Nelson Mandela Foundation,  Ms Noni Gasa with her Design Academy of Fashion, U.S rappers T.I and Megan Thee Stallion.

 

“We are excited to be working again. The last year was challenging and we hope this will be a fruitful year. We have amazing work in the pipeline and hope to achieve all we have set out to achieve this year. We are also thankful for the support of our media colleagues, our clients and partners. 2021 will be great!” commented Bonnie Meslane – Founder & CEO of Azania Public.

 

We are extending our offering to content production, events management and copywriting, creating more opportunities for other young entrepreneurs and unemployed youth. We are also blessed to be mentored by some of the best leaders in business and entertainment. “We are a small group of under 35, women and highly experienced in what we do. It makes sense for us to at this point expand our core offering to the various other things we have passionately and exceptionally done for other people” concluded Ms Meslane.

 

With a diverse and female only team in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the Azania Public team is growing and excited about even the uncertain future.

 

 

Happy new year!

 

 

[Issued by: Azania Public]

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Universal Music Group (UMG) (www.UniversalMusic.com), the world leader in music entertainment, today strengthened its position as the leading music company in Africa by announcing a strategic expansion of its Sub-Saharan Africa leadership team. These appointments underscore UMG’s ongoing commitment to support and grow Africa’s domestic music ecosystems, while also creating new opportunities for African talent to reach new audiences globally.

 

UMG’s holistic approach to expanding operations across the continent, opening new divisions in Nigeria, as well as becoming the first major music company to establish divisions in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and Morocco to complement UMG’s longstanding operations in South Africa. This presence will continue to grow throughout 2021 and beyond, as UMG continues to further extend the company’s ability to support domestic artists across Africa and globally.

 

 

To help lead this expansion, Sipho Dlamini has been promoted to CEO, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, effective immediately. Dlamini will continue to oversee all of UMG’s operations within English-speaking Africa. Since joining UMG in 2016, he has been instrumental in solidifying and growing UMG’s African infrastructure, increasing the visibility of African music around the world and delivering unprecedented artist success in South Africa. During this time, UMG has also led the industry with new initiatives across live music, brand partnerships and the adoption of licensed and legal streaming platforms within Africa.

 

Sipho is a member of UMG’s Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC), which was created last year as a driving force for inclusion and social justice within the global music industry and serves as chair for the TFMC’s Global Committee. In 2019, Dlamini was named in Billboard’s International Music Power list, the first African-based executive to make their list.

In his new role, Dlamini will continue to work closely with Adam Granite, UMG’s EVP, Market Development, to identify further opportunities for artists signed to Universal Music Africa to reach new audiences around the world, utilizing UMG’s unrivalled global network of industry-leading businesses spanning more than 60 countries worldwide.

 

 

Within South Africa, Dlamini has been joined by hugely experienced senior executive Elouise Kelly, who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. She will be based in Johannesburg and will report to Dlamini. Kelly Joins UMG from global advertising and media agency Ogilvy, where she held the position of Managing Director, South Africa. With a proven and award-winning background in branding, marketing, communication and commercial business strategy, she will play an integral role in the further expansion of Universal Music Africa and its operations and label divisions. Prior to working at Ogilvy, Kelly held senior positions at SABC, Top TV, Viacom International Media Networks and M-Net.

 

 

In addition, Chinedu Okeke has been named Managing Director, Universal Music Nigeria and will lead the development and expansion of UMG’s existing operations within Nigeria, and further English-speaking markets in West Africa. He will be based in Lagos, Nigeria and will report to Dlamini. Okeke joins UMG having established himself over the last decade, as a successful business and live-music entrepreneur. He is the founder of Eclipse Live – A Live entertainment company focused on bringing live affordable entertainment to the youth of Africa and Eclipse Brand Agency, working with major clients, artists and commercial partners. He is also the founder and Executive Producer of Nigeria’s legendary Gidi Culture Festival, and a founding Trustee of Echo Music & Arts Foundation, and previously held positions at The Wicklow Group, Canvest Group & AP Moeller Maersk.

 

 

Announcing the changes, Adam Granite said, “I am thrilled to announce these strategic appointments, as we look to further develop our domestic infrastructure and label rosters within Africa. Most integral to achieving our long-term ambitions, is to build a strong leadership team on the ground, with deep foundations in each country to help grow a dynamic ecosystem for all to benefit in the future.

 

 

“Over the past few years, Sipho has shown great leadership, commitment and vision for music in Africa, helping UMG to introduce new talent to audiences around the world and identify opportunities to lead the industry in licensing and supporting new platforms to reach African music fans. Elouise and Chin both bring welcome new skills, proven entrepreneurship and important leadership experience that will only serve to bolster UMG’s position as the market-leader across Africa.”

 

 

Sipho Dlamini said, “There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity, whilst reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming. I am delighted to welcome both Elouise and Chin to the UMG family, their unique skills and experiences will only help to further establish UMG as a bedrock within the African music community, that will continue to put the interests and opportunities for artists first and help elevate African talent to new levels of success at home and abroad.”

 

 

As part of UMG’s strategy, the company is helping African talent reach new audiences internationally. In 2018, UMG became the first major label to licence its catalog to Boomplay, Africa’s largest local streaming platform. Last year, UMG released several acclaimed albums by African artists globally, including:

  • Celia from Nigerian Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage (released in partnership with Motown Records U.S.) and South African rapper Nasty C’sZulu Man With Some Power (in partnership with Def Jam Recordings in the U.S., Island Records U.K. and other Universal labels around the world);
  • Midnight Train from Kenya’s Sauti Sol; and
  • Old Romance, the debut album release from Nigerian singer/producer Tekno, who is signed to Universal Music Nigeria in partnership with Island Records in the U.K. and U.S.

UMG also agreed a strategic partnership between Nigeria’s Aristokrat Records and Universal Music France and launched Def Jam Africa as a standalone label on the continent, with resources across five countries, dedicated to discovering the best in African hip-hop, Afrobeats and Trap music.

 

 

Under the new leadership structure, each territory will continue to focus on domestic A&R and talent development with a unique suite of services available to local talent including marketing, promotion, bespoke brand partnerships, recording facilities and live music promotion and booking through UMG’s ULive Africa division. In Africa, UMG has led the industry, working hand in hand with both domestic and international platforms and Telco’s to help bring the best in global music to music fans across Africa.

 

 

UMG remains committed to helping bolster the wider local ecosystem, with continued focus on building a fair and prosperous market for all through better understanding and management of copyright and royalty distribution, and through the development of strong partnerships with platforms throughout the region which will be integral to introducing African music to a wider audience in years to come.

 

 

All three will work closely with French-speaking operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and markets within the continent, which operate under the leadership of Franck Kacou, Directeur General, Universal Music Africa. UMG is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of Vivendi’s divisions, including CanalOlympia, Olympia Production, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout Africa.

 

 

Tekno’s Old Romance, Tiwa Savage’s Celia, Sauti Soul’s Midnight Train and Nasty C’s Zulu Man With Some Power’ are all available now.

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Cassper Nyovest knows a hit when he sees one. He is usually the one creating them but this time it’s the Samsung and Galaxy fans that are also taking centre stage with the Galaxy S20 FE. Samsung introduced the powerful Galaxy S20 series earlier this year and its innovations became instantly popular with South Africans. However, Samsung decided to make the technology available to even more consumers, so they listened to fan feedback and created the Galaxy S20 FE – a smartphone with Samsung’s leading flagship features at an affordable price. It’s now the talk of 2020 –  a device that includes first-in-category innovations such as a 120Hz display, prograde cameras and immense battery life – that’s also accessible to more people. Cassper Nyovest as a rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and record producer is perfectly positioned to know what fans love so he shared his thoughts on the Galaxy S20 FE.

“So it starts with a mic-check. The Galaxy S20 FE works well with Galaxy Buds Live, which I love, as well as the Galaxy Fit2. I’m always on the move so the massive all-day battery with fast charging is a must. On the first view, it looks premium and I love the 4 bold colours. The 6.5” screen is dynamic and it has that super-smooth scrolling from the S20 so there’s another big plus. When I first tried it out I realised my fans are going to love what the Galaxy Fans chose here. It’s difficult to believe that this phone, which is equipped with prograde, triple-lens camera and 128GB of storage, is so affordable. It’s even got expandable memory so you can download as much as you want. I also look forward to seeing people use the 30X Space Zoom at a concert so they can capture awesome moments as if they in the front row and then edit and share with ease. The Galaxy S20 FE is definitely going to be one of the biggest phones this year. Is it a hit? Yes, it is!”

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Soul Inspired Goes Virtual

Posted by radio On December - 1 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

Kaya FM’s annual Soul Inspired concert, in partnership with SPAR, will be going virtual this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s show will feature an unforgettable performance by Spirit of Praise which will stream on Kaya FM’s website, Facebook Live and YouTube platforms.

 

From its inception four years ago, Soul Inspired has grown to be one of the finest offerings of  gospel, praise and worship for Afropolitans — and this year will be no different. Over the year’s we have raised funds through ticket sales for local charities identified by the station. This year’s concert is free of charge for everyone to enjoy, and we are encouraging listeners to help us continue in the spirit of giving by donating to the New Jerusalem Children’s Home in Midrand.

 

“We are excited to be working with SPAR to bring Soul Inspired back again for our listeners to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. This year has been a difficult one for all, we hope that this performance will be uplifting for Afropolitans far and wide. We believe the proceeds from this event will go a long way, just in time for Christmas.” – Ntombenhle Shezi, PR and Communications Manager, Kaya FM.

“We couldn’t possibly break the tradition and end the year without SPAR and Kaya FM’s Soul Inspired Concert, and this time with artists from Spirit of Praise. We are delighted that we will still be a part of this wonderful celebration, but this time in the homes of our SPAR shoppers and Kaya FM listeners.” –  Kathleen Bailie, Inland Advertising Manager, SPAR.

Event Details

The concert will go live on kayafm.co.za and  the station’s social media platforms from 13h00 on 6th December 2020.

For more information visit kayafm.co.za or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To set up interviews, please contact PR@kayafm.co.za.

Stand a chance to win Spar Vouchers, simply add your details and get a reminder to watch Kaya FM’s Soul Inspired Concert on the day of the event.

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2020 is almost over. It’s been a year to remember – being physically apart for so long, yet somehow finding ways to come together as a resilient community. Before we officially close the books, there’s still time to celebrate the creators behind the music of 2020 that kept us going all 700 months of the year! And Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped is here to do just that.

Today, Spotify is unveiling the top artists, albums, songs and playlists that defined how more than 320 million people around the world listened to and discovered audio. Whether it was to stay informed, sing along or simply tune it all out, people kept listening and creators never missed a beat.

 

So, what artists defined a year unlike any other? Below are the results of Spotify’s full 2020 Wrapped results globally and in South Africa.

 

GLOBAL

  • With more than 3 billion streams this year, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny is Spotify’s most-streamed artist of 2020. Following Bad Bunny is Drake and the third most-streamed artist of the year is J Balvin, followed by the late rapper Juice WRLD and The Weeknd.

 

  • Billie Eilish continues her reign as Spotify’s most-streamed female artist for the second year in a row, followed by Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande in the second and third spots. Coming in as the fourth and fifth most-streamed female artists are Dua Lipa and Halsey.

 

 

 

  • The year’s most popular Spotify editorial playlist is Today’s Top Hits, which has more than 27M followers.

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA

  • International star Drake takes the top spot as Spotify’s most streamed artist of 2020 in South Africa. He is followed by Juice WRLD, with South African Amapiano King Kabza De Small in the third spot. After a phenomenal year for Kabza De Small, the local artist has jumped 37 spots on the overall most-streamed artist list in South Africa since Wrapped 2019.

 

  • Continuing his reign, Kabza De Small is once again the most-streamed local artist of 2020 in South Africa. This comes as no surprise given the continued success of AmaPiano throughout the year. Spotify’s AmaPiano Grooves is the most popular genre playlist in South Africa. DJ Maphorisa, Nasty C, Afrikaans Group Spoegwolf and Joyous Celebration follow as the most streamed local artists for 2020 in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

For even more, check out Spotify’s blog For the Record.  A breakdown of top global and South African results are also included below.

 

Be on the lookout for additional details and exciting new features in the coming days around Spotify’s popular personalised Wrapped and Creator Wrapped experiences, which gives users a deep dive into the music that defined their year.

 

Spotify 2020 Wrapped South Africa Top Lists 

 

Most Streamed Artists in South Africa

  1. Drake
  2. Juice WRLD
  3. Kabza De Small
  4. Khalid
  5. The Weeknd
  6. Travis Scott
  7. Pop Smoke
  8. Post Malone
  9. Billie Eilish
  10. Eminem

 

Most Streamed Female Artists in South Africa

  1. Billie Eilish
  2. Taylor Swift
  3. Beyoncé
  4. Ariana Grande
  5. Halsey
  6. Rihanna
  7. Dua Lipa
  8. Nicki Minaj
  9. Jhené Aiko
  10. Selena Gomez

 

Most Streamed Tracks in South Africa

  1. Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
  2. The Box” by Roddy Ricch
  3. Roses – Imanbek Remix” by Imanbek, SAINt JHN
  4. Dance Monkey” by Tones and I
  5. ROCKSTAR (feat. Roddy Ricch)” by DaBaby, Roddy Ricch
  6. Life Is Good (feat. Drake)” by Drake, Future
  7. Circles” by Post Malone
  8. Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa
  9. Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi
  10. Toosie Slide” by Drake

 

Most Streamed Albums in South Africa

  1. Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon, Pop Smoke
  2. Legends Never Die, Juice WRLD
  3. After Hours,The Weeknd
  4. Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone
  5. Please Excuse Me For Being Anti Social, Roddy Ricch
  6. Dark Lane Demo Tapes, Drake
  7. Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, Lewis Capaldi
  8. Fine Line, Harry Styles
  9. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO GO?, Billie Eilish
  10. No. 6 Collaborations Project, Ed Sheeran

 

Most Streamed South African Artists in South Africa

  1. Kabza De Small
  2. DJ Maphorisa
  3. Nasty C
  4. Spoegwolf
  5. Joyous Celebration
  6. Elaine
  7. Cassper Nyovest
  8. Snotkop
  9. Bok Van Blerk
  10. Appel

 

Most Streamed South African Tracks in South Africa

  1. You’re the One” by Elaine
  2. eMcimbini (Live)” by Aymos, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mas Musiq, Myztro, Samthing Soweto
  3. Tender Love (feat. DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small)” by Sha Sha, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small
  4. Jerusalema (feat.Nomcebo Zikode)” by Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode
  5. Risky” by DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Kammu Dee, Miano, Semi Tee
  6. Xola Moya Wam’ (feat. Master KG)” by Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode
  7. Lorch” by by DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Kammu Dee, Miano, Semi Tee
  8. Into Ngawe” by Ami Faku, Sun-El Musician
  9. Love You Tonight (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Sha Sha & Kabza De Small)” by DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mfr Souls, Sha Sha
  10. Sandton” by Bontle Smith, DJ Maphorisa, Focalistic, Kabza De Small, Kamo Mpela

 

Most Streamed South African Albums in South Africa

  1. I Am The King Of AmaPiano: Sweet & Dust, Kabza De Small
  2. Scorpion Kings Live,  Kabza De Small
  3. The Return Of The Scorpion Kings, Kabza De Small
  4. Zulu Man With Some Power, Nasty C
  5. Isphithiphithi, Samthing Soweto
  6. A.M.N (Any Minute Now), Cassper Nyovest
  7. Umithi, Blaq Diamond
  8. Xola Moya Wam’, Nomcebo Zikode
  9. Scorpion Kings, DJ Maphorisa
  10. Emakhaya, Mlindo The Vocalist

 

Most Streamed South African Female Artists in South Africa

  1. Elaine
  2. Ami Faku
  3. Demi Lee Moore
  4. Sha Sha
  5. Juanita Du Plessis
  6. Nomcebo Zikode
  7. Karen Zoid
  8. Zonke
  9. Makhadzi
  10. Lebo Sekgobela

 

Spotify 2020 Wrapped Global Top Lists: 

 

Most Streamed Artists 

  1. Bad Bunny
  2. Drake
  3. J Balvin
  4. Juice WRLD
  5. The Weeknd

 

Most Streamed Albums 

  1. YHLQMDLG, Bad Bunny
  2. After Hours, The Weeknd
  3. Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone
  4. Fine Line, Harry Styles
  5. Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa

 

Most Streamed Tracks 

  1. Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
  2. Dance Monkey” by Tones and I
  3. The Box” by Roddy Ricch
  4. Roses – Imanbek Remix” by Imanbek and SAINt JHN
  5. Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

 

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Spotify is excited to announce Focalistic as its latest RADAR artist. Focalistic joins Willy Cardiac, Elaine and Nigeria’s Tems as the fourth African artist in the program. This announcement comes ahead of the release of his new project ‘Sghubu Ses Excellent’ on Friday, 4 December.

 

RADAR is Spotify’s global emerging artists program that includes RADAR Africa and is Spotify’s commitment to emerging artists across all stages of their career development.

The Blecke and Ke Star hit maker’s meteoric rise to fame has seen him gain popularity across South Africa’s biggest genres, AmaPiano and Hip Hop. He has taken the most popular style of house music and overlaid it with Sipitori, Pretoria’s vernacular make up of Sesotho, Setswana and Afrikaans slang, to produce some of the country’s most loved tracks.

 

As an artist, Focalistic believes that it is important to relate to listeners through honest storytelling and genuine sentiment, a belief shared by a number of artists in the Hip Hop and AmaPiano communities who produce music as a biography. His latest album Sghubu Ses Excellent touches on matters such as relationships, money and good times.

 

“One thing you will feel when you listen to Focalistic is the essence of the township. By weaving his way between two of the fastest growing street-bred music styles, Foca earns himself a place as one of the new Mzansi story-telling greats. Spotify’s RADAR Africa program will help him deepen his connection to his existing audience as well as extend his reach globally. Several uniquely African genres have gained popularity globally, and AmaPiano’s audience in countries like the US, UK and Germany is on a steady increase. This gives artists in the genre like Focalistic, more opportunity for discovery at an international level, continuing to solidify Spotify as a powerful partner for both emerging and established artists,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager for South Africa.

 

Under the RADAR Africa program, Focalistic will be supported with first-hand editorial and on-platform support as well as bespoke Spotify partnerships to broaden his fanbase.

 

To continue showcasing African talent, Spotify also introduced RADAR Africa, a curated playlist that serves as a content hub to highlight music across a full spectrum of genres, from African artists on the rise across the continent and diaspora and serve as the ultimate destination for artist discovery.

 

Download the Spotify app via the Android or iOS app store or by heading to www.spotify.com – to embed Spotify into a website – right click on any playlist, go to ‘share’ and copy embed code.

 

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Anyone who has experienced Summer in sunny South Africa will tell you that there is nothing quite like it! This year, Spotify is giving listeners a summer experience from the comfort of their own home.

Part of enjoying the season means relaxing and socialising with friends and family and music plays such a big part in how we do this. Recently, Spotify launched a fun immersive experience that will transport users, digitally, to other summer locations with Wish You Were Here. Wish You Were Here gives listeners the opportunity to enjoy some of this year’s favourite tracks overlaid with captivating sounds often associated with summer including crashing coastal waves, a sizzling barbeque, a pool party and more.

 

Summer tracks to choose from in the experience include:

  1. Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
  2. Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)” – Jason Derulo and Jawsh 685
  3. Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles
  4. Rain On Me” – Ariana Grande

 

Local digital creator Thulane Hadebe says some of the  new releases that will top his summer playlist on Spotify includes Sam Smith and Ariana Grande’s albums – Love Goes and Positions. ‘’I have really been enjoying these right now and Rain on Me is one of my favourite tracks from Ariana Grande right now. These will definitely be on my summer playlist. ‘’

 

To experience Wish You Were Here, click through to the microsite and log in to you Spotify account. Then select the song you want to listen to and your location and Spotify will play your mix while to kick back and relax.

 

A summer playlist would not be complete without the inclusion of local hits that South African’s have enjoyed over the past few months.

 

Spotify’s AmaPiano Grooves playlist continues to dominate as does Master KG’s global hit Jerusalema featuring Nomcebo Zikode – which after the phenomenal worldwide success it has enjoyed this year  has surely secured Master KG a spot on summer 2020 playlists.

 

What will you be streaming this Summer?  Head to Spotify and discover your favourite tracks for the season.

 

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Amapiano undoubtedly continues to be one of Africa’s most prolific genres. Rooted in the Kwaito era the genre is seeing exciting cross-regional and diaspora experiments and collaborations, which have sprung up from Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, London and New York signalling this genre is far from over. Rather it seems to be on the cusp of even more diverse and exciting global expressions in the future.

The rise of the genre is evident, with Amapiano hit makers Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa taking the top spots as the Most Streamed Artists in South Africa on Spotify in 2019. Amapiano was also the most streamed local genre on Spotify in South Africa, with a phenomenal 145% increase in global streams in the first half of 2020 to the previous year.

To explore the DNA of the Yanos sound, its impact locally and its international ascent, Spotify recently hosted an Amapiano virtual panel featuring key industry players including pioneers of the genre, artists, deejays and producers. Moderated by music journalist Helen Herimbi, Amapiano Keys featured Sha Sha, Focalistic, Don Laka, Semi Tee, Mfr Souls, Njelic as well as music and culture journalist Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi.

 

Where it all started

Legendary musician, composer and co-founder of Kalawa Jazme, Don Laka, kicked off the session by emphasizing that Amapiano is not a departure from Kwaito, but rather forms another branch of it. While Kwaito was born to ring in a new culture for the youth of the (then) new democracy,  Amapiano has done the same for its generation, giving today’s youth a voice and a sense of belonging that subsequently formed into one of the biggest music communities in South Africa.

 

Amapiano started to dominate the streets from as early as 2016 and has been claimed by several different players in the industry from various townships across South Africa.  While it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly when the sound began to dominate local dance floors, according to Setumo the pivotal moment came when Amapiano received radio airtime.  Nowadays with audio streaming platforms like Spotify amplifying the genre from the township streets where it began to a global audience, the reach is endless.

 

The Rise of the genre

Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi, who has been at the forefront of documenting the genre by immersing himself in its culture, supports the belief that Amapiano is not just a genre but a movement.  A common misconception is that Amapiano took off overnight, however East Rand based musical duo Mfr Souls are testament to the hard work that happened behind the scenes to launch and position the genre to where it is today and the ongoing work to grow it even further. Reminiscing on how they got started back in 2013 demonstrates in part the evolution of the genre – from layering Kwaito tracks with an instrumental sound including piano solos to now featuring more vocals.

 

 

 

Enhanced storytelling with an introduction of vocals 

According to ‘Ke Star’ hit maker Focalistic the introduction of vocals extended the narrative journey for listeners around what he was experiencing when the track was made.   Semi Tee agrees that lyrics are a way to showcase the culture through storytelling. Referring to his popular yet controversial track Labantwana AmaUber’, he explained how the lyrics were meant to tell a story that there is more to life for township youth.  Setumo summed up the idea perfectly by adding that  Amapiano represents real-life elements that form part of the youth’s lives – the socio-economic climate of the country and high unemployment rate that has caused the youth to look for an escape and outlet from their day-to-day existence and ‘’Amapiano is it.”

 

From South Africa to the World

The growth of audio streaming has also been pivotal to the expansion of the genre. Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager, examined how through the power of data, Spotify was able to identify a demand for the tracks that were already popular on the streets but were not yet available for streaming. In response Spotify curated its flagship Amapiano playlist titled ‘AmaPiano Grooves’ – providing a space for artists and producers to connect and drive the genre on a global platform. AmaPiano Grooves was not only the most streamed playlist in South Africa by June 2020, but it transcended borders and was also popular with audiences in the UK and the US amongst others, with Njelic’s hit ‘Shesha’ featuring on the tracklist for the British comedy-drama series, I May Destroy You.

 

British-Ghanian producer Juls, who was first introduced to Amapiano when he heard ‘Love You Tonight’ by Mfr Souls, believes that the reason Amapiano has been able to garner international attention is because of the familiarity of the sound – the drums, percussion and house music to which music lovers gravitate towards.  ‘’The sounds of house music from across the world can be traced back to Africa this can also be a reason why sound has crossed over and been adopted so freely.’’

 

Creating a global movement

There was a time when South African and African music in general was enjoyed almost in isolation. Now with access to a global stage, the influences of Afrobeats and genres such as Amapiano are taking Africa to the world while also creating a space for African artists to influence and be influenced by one another.

 

As the Amapiano genre continues to reach different parts of the world it will need to be supported, as more of a Glocal movement with different collaborations and influences continuing to shape and broaden the genre. Phiona concluded by sharing Spotify’s vision for continued support of African artists and helping to grow Africa-centric sounds to its global audience of over 299 million active users.

 

“We believe in being a true partner to artists. We support artists, amplify their story and connect them to their fans across the globe. This is just the beginning, when we launched Amapiano Grooves last year, we visited the artists and producers who were immersed in the culture to showcase how Spotify could support them. We believe in staying close to the community and maintaining our drive to educate them on how the platform can help them connect and broaden their audience base, driving discovery and collaboration down the line.’’

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Ayoba (https://ayoba.me/) and MusicTime® (https://www.MusicTime.co.za/) are proud to announce their partnership to bring free music listening to ayoba users, with the launch of a new feature in the ayoba app titled MusicTime in ayoba.

 

MusicTime® in ayoba [or MTiA] is now live in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

 

 

Each territory offers users free access to 10 playlists with 20 songs in each. In addition, the app has a new mini player that allows you to listen to music while you chat to your contacts with no interruption. Playlists are curated specifically for each territory, and always include music from the region as well. Users can subscribe [free] to the channel as per all ayoba channels, and numbers are rising quickly as users discover the new feature.

 

 

An important feature of MTiA is the ability to listen to music with no data costs. Ayoba is zero rated for data in most of its markets via its partnership with MTN allowing MTN users to listen to a limited amount of music with no data costs.

The MusicTime® channels also include editorial content, music video clips and artist polls. A major feature will be channels in partnership with artists, such as the newly launched Sark Nation channel, featuring top Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie; currently available across Africa. Many more artist partnerships will be launched in the coming weeks.

 

 

Ayoba has evolved significantly since its launch in 2019 as an instant messaging app. Users can now enjoy content in more than 50 channels covering topics from Coronavirus news to education to cooking tips, football, Formula 1, music news and more. In 2020, ayoba has also added gaming, and offer users free access to top mobile games. In some markets (Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda) the integration with MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) allows users to send and receive money on ayoba.

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Six months after the kick-off of RADAR, Spotify’s emerging artists program, and 2 billion+ streams later, Spotify is launching a global RADAR hub on-platform in order to celebrate a successful half-year of supporting up-and-coming artists from around the world.

The centralised destination will be home to the extensive artist line-up from the RADAR program, their newest releases, 22 region-and-genre-specific RADAR global playlists (these playlists include artists Spotify editors are excited about including and beyond those in the RADAR program) and original exclusive content.

 

Since the March launch of this pinnacle emerging artist program, there have been over 22 global sister programs, including the local RADAR Africa, and 115 RADAR-affiliated emerging artists around the world – from South Africa to Brazil, Germany to New Zealand and more.

 

When RADAR kicked off in March singer and songwriter Elaine was announced as the first South African RADAR artist with rapper Willy Cardiac being the second artist to join the program, locally.

 

Says Ned Monahan, Spotify’s Head of Global Hits, “The launch of the Global RADAR Hub is the perfect illustration of how our editorial teams collaborate to build up-and-coming artists from all over the world.  We hope this will be an easy new way for fans to discover artists from outside of their home countries and for artists to begin to develop a global fan base.

 

Six-Months of RADAR around the World & By the Numbers:

  • 115 artists who have collectively generated:
    • 2 billion+ streams
    • 100 million+ hours of listening
    • 112 million+ listeners across 92 countries; and
    • 8 million+ followers (a 64% increase compared to pre-RADAR)

 

See below what RADAR Africa’s first two chosen artists had to say on their experiences with the program.

 

Elaine

“I am forever grateful to Spotify for allowing my music to be accessible to my supporters around the world. I am beyond excited about being part of RADAR, and I cannot wait to share new music with everyone that’s been a part of this journey with me.”

 

Willy Cardiac

“I am thrilled to be chosen by Spotify to be a part of their RADAR program. All the hard work I have put into my music continues to be recognised and having Spotify support me on my journey will make my music accessible to millions of users around the world, from South Africa all the way to America. There’s no limit to where your music can go.”

 

Spotify’s For The Record blog includes an animated RADAR graphic  and a sizzle video spotlighting artists from around the world that have seen exponential success through their Spotify partnership — including  Alaina Castillo (US),J.I The Prince of N.Y (US), Young T and Bugsey (UK and made a recent cameo on Barack Obama’s summer playlist) and merci, mercy (AU) – can be viewed and embedded HERE and the Hub can be found HERE.

 

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