SA’s most downloaded songs

2014-05-18 15:00

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2008 DJ Cleo – Hands Up

2009 Big Nuz feat DJ Tira – Umlilo

2010 DJ Cleo – Bhampa Side to Side; Aaaiiiyyy; Hip Hip Hooray

2010 Professor – Jezebel; Imoto

2010 DJ Mzi feat DJ Cleo – Nababantwana

2010 Liquideep – Fairytale; Settle For Less

2010 Black Coffee feat Bucie – Superman

2011 DJ Cleo – Facebook

2011 Mi Casa – These Streets; Heavenly Sent

2011 Big Nuz – Serious

2012 Liquideep – Alone; Still

2013 DJ Cleo feat Teddy Bears – Follow Me

2013 Zahara – Loliwe

2014 Mafikizolo feat Uhuru – Khona

2009 was the year DJ Cleo won his first SA Music Award for biggest-selling download. The song was Hands Up from his album Es’Khaleni Unit 5 (2008).

With a banging House beat and rather cheesy vocoder chorus, it captivated audiences so much that it was the biggest-selling download again in 2010 – and to this day remains his biggest seller.

Even the force that was Durban kwaito, in the shape of Big Nuz featuring DJ Tira, couldn’t outsell Cleo in 2010.

Big Nuz scooped Samas in 2010 for record of the year (Umlilo) and album of the year (Undisputed). Black Coffee took best urban dance album for Homebrewed.

Yet neither could outsell Cleo on downloads.

“Cleo took the marketing to the people through the social media space, through the performance space,” says Linda Maseko from Mentalwave.

He says that 2011 was the first year Cleo faced real competition.

That competition came from Liquideep, who won Samas for album of the year and duo/group of the year after releasing their album Fabrics of the Heart.

Durban kwaito artist Professor also had major hits with Jezebel and Imoto, and lifted several statues including for song of the year.

But it was Cleo collaborating with DJ Mzi on the hit song Nababantwana that won bestselling download, beating competition from Black Coffee’s Superman and Liquideep’s Fairytale.

Fairytale was followed by the single Settle For Less, which was also a big download revenue generator for Liquideep.

Superman did well for Black Coffee in 2010, both locally and internationally. It was number one on Traxsource and number five on Beatport, both international download portals.

The DJ Mzi/DJ Cleo collaboration also beat out competition from Cleo’s own hit songs Bhampa Side to Side, Hip Hip Hooray and Aaaiiiyyy, which he says were big download sellers for him in 2010 and 2011.

At the 2012 Samas, Big Nuz returned, winning for Pound For Pound, while Mi Casa took home record of the year for These Streets.

But again, Cleo took home the biggest-selling download for his song Facebook. This was the year Cleo raked in R1?million through downloads.

“Facebook was my biggest-selling download in a single year, although Hands Up beat it in total sales, but those sales were across 2008 and 2009,” says Cleo.

It was at this stage Liquideep really began to offer the strongest competition yet to Cleo’s reign, with their hit song Alone, which has to date notched up almost four million views on YouTube, while their song Still was the number one song on MTN for downloads in 2012 and was still in the top five last year.

Then the landscape started to change. Folk heroine Zahara entered the picture and everyone wanted Loliwe.

This year has seen Mafikizolo steal the crown, and it seems a new pop era has once again emerged.

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