Amapiano strikes a chord among world music fans

Published Aug 30, 2023


Johannesburg - Global music streaming giant Spotify has revealed that amapiano, the home-grown South African genre, has seen tremendous growth, with over 1.9 billion streams last year alone.

This is noted in Spotify’s annual report, Loud & Clear, which aims to increase transparency in the music industry by sharing data on Spotify’s royalty payments and breaking down the global streaming economy, the players and the process.

In the past few years, South Africa has seen many artists gain more recognition around the globe, creating significant opportunities for creators.

The genre has grown beyond its home borders, with streams outside of sub-Saharan Africa growing by more than 563% on Spotify in the past two years.

Revenues generated by South African artists from Spotify alone last year reached nearly R200 million – three times the amount of four years ago.

“Our continued commitment at Spotify is to ensure that professional artists can make a living from their art. By releasing the revenues that South African artists generated on our platform in 2022, we are not only keeping ourselves accountable but also showing artists that it does pay to put your art out into the world,” said Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Spotify’s managing director for sub-Saharan Africa.

Spotify generates music revenue from two sources: subscription fees from premium listeners and fees from advertisers on music on the free tier.

It is noted that nearly 70% of that revenue is paid back as royalties to rights holders, who then pay the artists and songwriters based on the agreed terms.

These rights holders include record labels, publishers, independent distributors, performance rights organisations and collecting societies.

The UK, US, Netherlands, Germany and Canada are a few of the countries outside sub-Saharan Africa listening to amapiano.

There is also a certain level of democratisation that has occurred in the music industry thanks to music streaming, which enables this kind of growth.

Spotify says its commitment is to ensure that African creators earn from their art by exposing them to over 550 million active users on the platform, resulting in new audiences and more streams for the artists.

Artists deserve clarity about the economics of music streaming.

The music streaming platform also celebrated the breakthrough of female powerhouses. While it is reported that there is still a long way to go, watching female amapiano artists shatter these ceilings shows creators that progress and change are indeed possible.

The Star