Spotify shares four ways it’s helping the women of amapiano get into the groove

Kamo Mphela. Picture: Supplied

Kamo Mphela. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 26, 2023


Spotify has been making a big splash in South Africa over the past year or so. Early in the week, the global streaming giant hosted media and influencers from across the continent on an amapiano tourism experience.

The experience allowed them to explore the roots of the genre, the power of collaborations and how streaming is helping to export local music to the world.

The tour highlighted South African and amapiano culture for guests from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

As amapiano has taken the world by storm, one unique trend that Spotify recently highlighted was how their data has indicated how the genre has given a voice to young, women musicians.

The streamer highlighted four ways that streaming is helping to elevate the voices of women in the genre:

Women are increasingly taking up space in Amapiano music: “At Spotify we have been championing Amapiano since we first started to see this exciting new genre take shape and one of the things we are most excited about is how women are coming up in the genre,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“From singers and songwriters, to DJs and producers, we are really seeing how this genre and its fans have embraced this female talent.” Boohle, Babalwa M, Kamo Mphela, Sha Sha, Msaki and Lady Du are among the top streamed women amapiano artists over the past 90 days.

Collabs are driving music discovery: Artists like Ami Faku, who refers to her genre of music as “Modern Afro Soul”, Msaki who is most known for her folk sound, and even Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage, all feature in the most streamed amapiano tracks featuring a female artist thanks to collabs that they have done with artists like DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small.

All of the top 5 Amapiano tracks by or featuring female artists are collabs, with Faku’s collab with Aymos and Fatela taking the top spot as the most streamed track over the past 90 days.

She appears again in the number five spot for her feature with DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small on Abalele.

Amapiano women are going global: Spotify data shows that about 43% of all amapiano music is being listened to outside of South Africa, which showcases its massive international appeal.

Collabs are not just driving genre-bending, they’re also driving exports of women artists’ music.

Eleven percent of Amapiano music currently is not being made in South Africa or is being made by artists not hailing from South Africa.

Nigerian artist Asake, for instance, is skillfully combining two of the continent’s biggest genres, Amapiano and Afrobeats.

Gen Z is the core audience for amapiano: Spotify data shows that the top female amapiano artists like Boohle, Babalwa M and Msaki are all most popular among 18-24 year old audiences with the number of streams dropping off in older audience brackets.

When it comes to where people are listening, Makhadzi is the most streamed female artist in Pretoria and Johannesburg, where amapiano has its roots.

She is followed by Babalwa M and Msaki in second and third place.