When Spotify launched in South Africa in March 2018, new users and music lovers raced onto the platform to stream Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight.” In the five years since, listeners in the region have made millions of playlists spanning nostalgic jazz, pop, hip-hop, rap, home-grown Amapiano, and much more, and have spent billions of hours listening to podcasts. This has led to thousands of artists and creators finding an audience for their craft, with South African artists themselves having released over one million tracks.
Today, we mark this five-year milestone by looking back on the early days of Spotify streaming in South Africa.
Originally, the only South African song featured in the first 10 tracks played in the market was Shekhinah’s “Thirsty.” Now, Canadian rapper Drake takes the top spot. He’s followed by Amapiano artist Kabza de Small in second place, The Weeknd and Juice WRLD in third and fourth, and South African DJ Maphorisa to round out the top five. The combination of global and local talent is further testament to the massive appeal and growth of Amapiano, and South African music in general.
“Spotify provides a global platform for these creators to share their music and podcasts with the world, and our entrance into the market has allowed local artists to grow their audiences and monetize their creativity,” said Jocelyne Muhutu–Remy, Managing Director for Spotify in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Spotify programmes like EQUAL, Fresh Finds, RADAR, and GLOW have also helped to market and support local, emerging, and underrepresented artists.”
Last year, we announced that we would include four South African podcasts in our Africa Podcast Fund. With this initiative, we’re supporting burgeoning podcasters through financial grants, workshops, and networking opportunities, and amplifying their stories. Our goal is to help platform African creators on a global scale and shift the historically restrictive view of stories about the continent.
Celebrate South Africa’s milestone anniversary with the Top 50 tracks being streamed in the country today.