By Music Africa
Organised in partnership with South African Tourism, the tour, designed around some of Spotify’s most popular amapiano playlists, sought to highlight South African and amapiano culture to content creators from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.
The tour also aimed to impress on the guests the power of collaborations and how streaming is helping to export local music to the world.
The tour started off with Amapiano 101(link is external) detailing the background of the genre and giving guests an opportunity to experience its origins in townships like Mamelodi before exploring other popular amapiano spots in Soweto.
During the session, one of the genre’s leading artists, Focalistic, dropped by at Jack Budha in Mamelodi, one of the birthplaces of amapiano, to share the genre’s origin story.
“We would come here and listen to amapiano sets for three hours,” Focalistic said. We wanted to escape from the noise and do our own thing as Africans, speak in our tongue. Amapiano makes an imprint, it’s emotions. Amapiano is spiritual.”
The Amapiano Grooves(link is external) segment showcased the impact of clubs on the genre. Here the visitors got to hear cultural stories like that of Mogodu Monday, the tradition of celebrating the least popular day of the week with mogodu (tripe) and music. The participants also got the opportunity to meet with local artists in the studio to see where the music happens.
Spotify data show amapiano received close to 2 billion streams last year, representing a 143% year-on-year increase. The genre has garnered a huge following, with more than 240 000 playlists featuring amapiano in the title and over 10 million playlists featuring at least one amapiano track. Interestingly, more than 40% of amapiano streams come from listeners outside South Africa, making it the country’s hottest cultural export.
“Amapiano’s unique sound and infectious beats have captivated audiences around the world and is sure to keep fans dancing for years to come,” Spotify’s sub-Saharan Africa managing director, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, said. “As more artists emerge and push the boundaries of the genre, there is no doubt that amapiano is set to become a mainstay in the global music scene.”
Nigerian artist WurlD, who also attended the first day of the tour, spoke about why amapiano is so popular around the world: “Music is spiritual, amapiano is spiritual. I was a fan, watching from a distance. Music is energy, what people are experiencing with amapiano is the heart and soul of the people of South Africa.”
Spotify also says that listeners love tuning into the genre on weekday afternoons, with peaks on Friday evenings. Amapiano Grooves, Spotify’s biggest amapiano playlist, is most popular among 18 to 24 year olds, with most listeners hailing from South Africa, the UK, US, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Top streamed amapiano tracks on Spotify
- Abo Mvelo (feat. Mellow & Sleazy & M.J)
- Love & Loyalty (Believe)
- Ameno Amapiano Remix (You Wanna Bamba)
- Big Flexa
- Hamba Wena
- WATAWI (feat. Davido, Focalistic & Abidoza)
- Mina Nawe
- Champion Sound
Top streamed amapiano artists on Spotify
- DJ Maphorisa
- Kabza De Small
- Young Stunna
- Mellow & Sleazy
- DBN Gogo
- Costa Titch
- Major League Djz
- Kamo Mphela