YouTube a boon for South African music artists and fans

youtube music logo
YouTube Music has been a boon to local musicians, says Google. Image credit YouTube

Google’s video streaming service, YouTube, is proving a boon for South African musicians, gaining them new fans and acclaim around the world and in their home country.

This emerged from a briefing by Google in Durban on Thursday, 23 May 2019, to update local media on the tech giant’s dedicated music streaming service, YouTube Music, launched locally in March 2019.

YouTube Music has positioned itself to local audiophiles as a one-stop shop for all their favourite music content from music videos and official albums to singles, remixes, live performances, and covers.

“South Africans have always been big on YouTube. Now, with YouTube Music they have access to their favourite artists, plus Smart Search functionality and Recommended Listening, based on what YouTube thinks they’ll enjoy listening to, making it even easier to keep up with their favourites and find new local music,” said Google’s SA Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Mich Atagana.

The new ad-supported version of YouTube Music is free, while YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership, offers background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience for R59.99 a month or R89.99 a month for a Family Plan. Current paid Play Music subscribers get YouTube Music Premium for free.

YouTube Music features a home screen that dynamically adapts to provide recommendations based on what it thinks users will like. It also provides an option for Premium subscribers to automatically download songs they love to their Offline Mixtape.

Users looking to keep track of the latest local and global hits can tee up the ‘Today’s Biggest Hits’ playlist.

Atagana demonstrated the Smart Search feature, showing how users can find any song, even if they can’t remember what it’s called, using descriptions and lyrics suggested by guests at the event. She added that Smart Search “understands” most languages, including indigenous South African languages such as isiZulu and isiXhosa.

Google South Africa communications and public affairs head Mich Atagana. Image supplied by Google SA

She listed a string of trends and insights from YouTube to underline just how big some of the local favourites are.

  1. King Monada’s viral hit “Malwedhe” reached the top 10 on the YouTube Top Songs charts in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. #IdibalaChallenge.
  2. Simmy “Umahlalela” reached 1 million views in under 90 days.
  3. Joyous Celebration was the most played artist on YouTube in South Africa in 2018.
  4. Sho Madjozi saw a nearly 90% increase in average daily views on YouTube the week following her performance at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, live streamed globally on YouTube.
  5. It took just six days for Sjava’s video for “Umama” to reach 500,000 views.
  6. Lady Zamar earned over 15 million views across YouTube in 2018.
  7. Black Coffee earned over 30 million views across YouTube in 2018.
  8. Bok van Blerk, Joyous Celebration and Snotkop have appeared on YouTube’s South Africa Top Artists chart every week since the chart launched in May 2018.
  9. Over 80% of Black Coffee’s views over the last 12 months came from outside of South Africa.
  10. Over 60% of views for Nasty C over the last 12 months came from outside of South Africa.
  11. Simmy’s “Umahlalela” spent 11 straight weeks on the charts, climbing from #74 in its first week to as high as #16.
  12. Black Coffee & David Guetta – Drive feat. Delilah Montagu has amassed over 29m views across YouTube in under seven months
  13. Since launching the chart in May, Joyous Celebration has held the #1 spot on YouTube’s South Africa Top Artists chart in six different weeks.
  14. Lady Zamar “Collide” was the #3 most played song on YouTube in South Africa in 2018.
  15. Mlindo The Vocalist’s “AmaBlesser” was the 11th most played song in South African YouTube in 2018.
  16. Master KG’s “Skeleton Move” was the 13th most played song in South Africa in 2018.

The YouTube Music app is available to download from the Play Store and App Store. Users can also check out the web player at –