SETH ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY
MORE African hits are reverberating far beyond the continent’s borders, amplified by the African resounding global music reach on YouTube and other streaming services.
Growing smartphone adoption and the penetration of affordable and fast internet in Africa also drive the local consumption of music on YouTube.
From the catchy Afrobeats and the soulful sounds of Afro-soul to the energetic rhythms of Afropop and the traditional melodies of African folk music, the diversity of African music is captivating listeners worldwide, thanks in part to YouTube.
To most African musicians, YouTube has revolutionised how music is consumed, providing a platform even for independent, undiscovered African artists to reach a global audience and gain success without the need for major record labels.
As more people turned to YouTube for entertainment and to watch virtual concerts, subscriber traffic increased, with African music quickly rising among the most-viewed and the most streamed.
Here are some of the most viewed songs by African artists on YouTube as of this writing:
Master KG – Jerusalema –– 539 million
“Jerusalema” is breaking records as the most viewed African music video on YouTube, with an impressive 539 million views. The track, released in November 2019 and received a music video in December, has also become the platform’s most-viewed South African music video.
Magic System ft Choki – Magic in the air –405 million
“Magic in the Air” is a mesmerising hit single released in 2014. With over 404 million views, it’s not just the most-viewed West African music video on YouTube, it’s also the second-most-viewed African music video on the platform. This infectious track is sure to get you moving and singing along.
CKay – Love Nwantiti Remix –– 346 Million
“Love Nwantiti” is a standout track from Ckay’s 8-track E.P. Its addictive rhythms and catchy melodies earned it a remix with Afro-pop star Joeboy and Ghanaian singer Kuami Eugene, which was released in 2020. The revamped version of “Love Nwantiti” became a global sensation thanks to its viral success on TikTok.
Rema – Calm Down – 318 Million
Nigerian superstar Rema’s “Calm Down” has cemented its place as one of the highest-viewed Afrobeats music videos on YouTube, surpassing the impressive 300 million views mark. This hit single has continued to soar to new heights, further solidifying Rema’s status as a world-class artist. He recently teamed up with international pop sensation Selena Gomez on a remix of the club banger, which already has 210 million views.
Burna Boy – On the low –310 Million
“On the Low” by Burna Boy has achieved the impressive feat of accumulating over 300 million views on YouTube, making it one of the few African songs to reach this milestone. The track was released on November 16, 2018, combining Afrobeat and dancehall elements. Produced by Kel P, this mid-tempo love song has been praised for its smooth, infectious sound.
Die Antwoord – Baby On Fire – 266 Million
“BABY’S ON FIRE” has captivated audiences worldwide, accumulating over 266 million views on YouTube and solidifying its place as the second most-watched South African music video on Youtube. The stunning visual was brought to life by the talented team of NINJA and Terence Neale (directors), Alexis Zabe (director of photography), Saki Fokken Bergh (editor), Zef Filmz (producer), and Egg Films (associate producer). The post-production process was expertly handled by Blade, with special touches and titles provided by Pushback. Industry leaders Panavision and Media Film Service supplied gear to produce this music video.
Davido – Fall – 254 Million
“Fall” has achieved tremendous success, with over 200 million views on YouTube and Gold certification in the United States and Canada. The song’s popularity has helped to elevate the Nigerian singer’s international profile and boost sales.
Burna Boy – Ye – 219 Million
Nigerian singer Burna Boy unleashes a fiery and infectious anthem with “Ye,” a standout track from his critically acclaimed third studio album, Outside. Released on August 6, 2018, “Ye” quickly rose to the top of the charts and has become one of the most-watched African songs on YouTube. Its dynamic blend of Afrobeat and hip hop, paired with Burna Boy’s commanding vocals and catchy hooks, make it a must-listen for fans of contemporary African music.
Wizkid – Joro – 218 Million
Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, Nigerian superstar, Wizkid has achieved massive success on YouTube with his hit song, Joro, which has garnered over 200 million views and counting.
Sinanch – Way maker – 217 Million
Sinach’s hit gospel song “Way Maker” has made a huge impact on YouTube, racking up over 200 million views and securing its place as the most-watched African female video of all time and the most-watched Nigerian music video of all time. With its uplifting message and powerful vocals, it’s no surprise that “Way Maker” has resonated with audiences around the globe.”