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Amapiano explodes on TikTok

DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small. Picture: Instagram

DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small. Picture: Instagram

Published Jul 15, 2020


The South African music industry is a constantly evolving melting pot of genres and styles - one such genre that has seen a meteoric rise in popularity is amapiano.

With local listeners embracing amapiano, it’s no surprise that it has also exploded on the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile video, TikTok. I

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n fact, #amapiano has reached over 73 million views on TikTok, and the local music phenomenon has taken the platform by storm with new and established musicians sharing their hottest tracks with the global community.

Amapiano – a genre of electronic dance music that combines melodious piano tunes with drum and bass sounds has been a hit with local listeners and it’s no surprise. 

Each week there is a new amapiano song trending on TikTok and arguably the most popular artists on TikTok includes artists such as DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, DJ Sumbody and Moonchild Sanelly.

Boniswa Sidwaba, TikTok content operations manager, Africa said that music has always been a special part of TikTok's creative DNA, and remains a vehicle for songs and emerging artists to gain exposure and reach a wide and varied audience.

“TikTok continues to help grow the local music industry by supporting African music and genres such as Amapiano. To promote Amapiano specifically, TikTok has a dedicated in-app Amapiano playlist within the sounds page that features new and popular Amapiano music.​ Most recently, we also launched the TikTok Amapiano page on the discover tab which features popular Amapiano music, artists and an interactive in-app game created to challenge TikTok creators to guess the Amapiano song playing," she said.

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In addition to in-app activities, Sidwaba explains that as part of its local strategy, 

"TikTok also works directly with Amapiano artists and local record labels to help promote music on the platform. We do this through TikTok challenges, looking out for songs that have the potential to trend and provide resources to artists to promote their music.

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These resources include adding their songs to TikTok’s playlists, featuring the artists in TikTok banners on the discovery and sound page, and promoting TikTok challenges for their songs." she said. 

Amapiano artists are blowing up on TikTok, one of which is Durbanite, DJ Jashmir, who recently debuted his Amapiano remix of the iPhone ringtone. This sparked the #AmaiPhone challenge which currently has over 6 million views on the app.

Another local artist making waves on TikTok is DJ Maphorisa. Since debuting  "Phoyisa" with Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa has gained massive traction on TikTok, with the track amassing 12.9 million views and counting. Other Amapiano songs doing well on the platform include "Lorch", "Emcimbini","Love You Tonight", "Nana Thula" and "Indaba Kabani".

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Recently, the amapiano song titled "I Don't Know", by upcoming Amapiano artist Xavier, went viral on TikTok all over the world with the #idontknowifiknow challenge which currently sits at 8.4 million views. The song had TikTok users create funny memes to the song’s line “I don’t know if I know but I think I know I don’t know”.

Sidwaba explains that it’s viral-potential like this that encourages other artists to create songs on TikTok, hoping they will do well as a trending TikTok challenge. 

“When a song trends on TikTok, there is a direct correlation with the song doing well on other streaming charts on other platforms. It is safe to say that TikTok is changing the general music industry in Africa, and all over the world.”

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