'Finally, local is lekker,' says RiSA spokesperson as amapiano tops streaming charts

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small
DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small
Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images
  • Taking a look at RiSA's The Official South African Music Chart, spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng lets us know which tracks South Africans have been vibing to.
  • Launched in September 2021, the chart tracks streaming data for singles from Deezer, Apple Music and Spotify.
  • Amapiano reigns supreme on the charts, Lesley notes, adding that while international acts make appearances, they aren't there for long before they are knocked off by local stars.
  • "Amapiano has been doing well for a while, but just this year they solidified their move and have just dominated even more."

In September 2021, RiSA launched The Official South African Music Chart (Tosac) -- "a first, both in scale and magnitude, in the country," according to a press statement.

The chart, which is just three months in, has been tracking the top-selling singles in South Africa, using data from the major streaming platforms -- Deezer, Apple Music and Spotify. 

Speaking to Channel24, RiSA spokesperson Lesley Mofokeng explained how the chart works, and, most interestingly, what trends he has seen in South Africans' music taste. 

How it works

In order to compile the Official South African Music Charts, RiSA has partnered up with music technology company BMAT. 

"They have been in this business for a while, and they understand trends. They track trends; they're in the business of aggregating numbers and figures for the music industry. So they supply us with numbers," Lesley says. 

Right now, the chart solely focuses on singles, releasing fresh data every Thursday. 

"On Thursdays, we announce the top 100 local singles from the aggregation of BMAT. And then there's also [the] top 200 international songs, where you will see South Africans competing with international musicians. Whereas on the local front, it's strictly South African."

Finally, local is lekker

When it comes to what South Africans are listening to, Lesley says amapiano is ruling the airwaves. 

The local genre, described as a hybrid of jazz, deep house, and R&B with South African flavour, has gained momentum over the years, turning amapiano artists into some of the most-streamed stars in SA.

"There's no doubt that [with] amapiano, the reign continues," Lesley tells us. "They dominate the charts, they dominate radio, they dominate the space, really. It's all about amapiano."

Lesley says it's the "good times, the beats and the vibes" of the genre that has drawn the attention of music lovers.

"The genre of amapiano is taking off in a big, big way."

And it's not only South Africans who have noticed the popularity of the "yanos", as it's affectionately known. Articles have popped up in Rolling Stone and Billboard, discussing the future of the mega genre. 

ALSO READ | Amapiano takes Africa and the African Diaspora by storm

So what about international artists? Where do they stand on the local charts?

Lesley says they're no competition for South African acts.

"I'll give you an example -- Adele was on top of the charts for one week. Easy on Me -- when we look worldwide, she has been on top for a few weeks. In South Africa it was just one week. And then was toppled by Young Stunner. There's a guy called Young Stunner who came through and then took over the number one spot."

Since then, the top spot has been taken by another SA act called Busta 929.

"Another example would be Drake, would be Kanye West, they don't stay for long on the charts. And this is proof that South African audiences have matured, and they really do prefer playing local. So finally, local is lekker," says Lesley.

Of course, there are some exceptions, he admits, like Ed Sheeran, who has been on the charts "for a while" as well as Nigerian artist CKay. But overall, Lesley says South African acts are dominating.

Amapiano reigns supreme

While amapiano has been around for years, there seems to be a shift taking place, with the SA-born genre finally taking its place at the top. But why now? What is it about amapiano that has caused it to skyrocket in popularity recently?

"I think this has been the year to consolidate for amapiano. The good run started last year already. As you know, the SAMAs (South African Music Awards) had to introduce the Best Amapiano category. And for the SAMAs to introduce a category we have to have the numbers, we need to have huge interest, huge competition -- that's the only reason why we'd introduce a category. 

"Amapiano has been doing well for a while, but just this year they solidified their move and have just dominated even more."

In terms of which local artists who have gained popularity on the charts, Lesley calls DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small the "reigning kings of popular music in South Africa", noting that the duo has been consistent in producing chart-topping amapiano hits.

"Not only did they win SAMA awards, but they continue to dominate the charts -- I'm talking about DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small. When you look at our charts, you find that they feature at least more than three times, almost on a weekly basis," he says, adding: "This has really been their year."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24