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Facebook is a brilliant resource for musicians of all kinds. Not only can you connect with thousands of existing fans – essentially for free – but you can also make the most of tools which can help you promote your newest track, publicise your upcoming tour and win new fans, both local and international. And you don’t even need a record deal to do so.
So how are our local singers, songwriters, bands, divas and DJs doing on the world’s biggest social networking platform? On the whole, extremely well. Take a look at the Facebook pages of the following artists and I’m sure you’ll agree.
I have added another set of pages that I feel deserve to be in this list, but don’t yet have the followers to justify it. Many of the current Facebook success stories tend to be pale, male, and either pop rock or full-on pop. I don’t have any issues with, say, The Parlotones, but I struggle to believe that they are so much more popular with the majority of our population than artists like HHP or TKZee.
The top 5
1. Locnville (155K + fans)
This pair of identical twins from Cape Town has shot to fame with a slightly unearthly brand of soft-core electro-hop. They’re starting to gain international attention, which helps explain their unusually large fan base. Even so, they have a suspiciously high number of new accounts as fans, some of which could turn out to be fake.
2. The Parlotones (153K+ fans)
Probably South Africa’s most commercially successful and well marketed band. Their uplifting rock ballads make some a bit queasy, but millions of others love them and flock to their concerts. Frankly I’m surprised they’re not #1.
3. Die Antwoord (125K+ fans)
It’s a testament to the power of social media that a pair of professional weirdos and performance artists like Waddy and Yolandi now command more Facebook fans than the Blue Bulls or Huisgenoot. The Americans are besotted with them, as are many South Africans with a fine appreciation for irony.
4. LIRA (120K+ fans)
Is it silky smooth soul, or afro-pop with jazzy undertones? Either way Lira’s voice has a nation captivated, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely gorgeous either. Her page is well maintained, which helps growth, but like Locnville and Trevor Noah, there seem to be a lot of what look like fake fans (many of whom are fans of all three mentioned pages and nothing else).
5. Black Coffee (100K+ fans)
DJ and producer Black Coffee (real name Nkosinathi Maphumulo) is another grass roots success story on Facebook. Tirelessly working the clubs around the country, he has gathered more fans than many older, more mainstream artists.
The next 20
6. Cobus Potgieter (98K+ fans)
7. Catherine Jones (97K+ fans)
8. Juanita du Plessis (94K+ fans)
9. Prime Circle (90K fans)
10. DJ Fresh (90K+ fans)
11. Jack Parow (85K+ fans)
12. Euphonik DJ (75K+ fans)
13. Steve Hofmeyr (67K+ fans)
14. Die Heuwels Fantasties (61K+ fans)
15. Fokofpolisiekar (54K fans)
16 Straatligkinders (51K + fans)
17. Kurt Darren (48K+ fans)
18. Goldfish (47K+ fans)
19. Bobby Van Jaarsveld (44K+ fans)
20. Glaskas (41K fans)
21. aKING (40K fans)
22. Van Coke Kartel (31K fans)
23. Ray Dylan (26K fans)
24. The Dirty Skirts (17K fans)
25. Bok van Blerk (16K fans)
Some people who should be in this list but aren’t
These are all massively popular local groups, most of whose fans simply aren’t on the internet yet, let alone Facebook. That will change in the next few years, rest assured.
Hip Hop Pantsula (10K fans)
Teargas (9K fans)
Jozi (4K+ fans)
JR (3K fans) “Make the circle bigger!”
Gazelle (3K fans)
TKZee (2K fans)
Skwatta Kamp (1.8K fans)
Simphiwe Dana (1.3K fans)
Gang of Instrumentals (no page)
Lungelo (no page)
One notable exception:
Seether (760K+ fans)
Though technically a South African band, they really became famous once they moved to Los Angeles – hence their enormous fan base. Listing them among the other locals just wouldn’t be comparing apples to apples.
I’ve missed someone, right?
As I’ve said, this isn’t an exact science, so I may have missed someone enormous and awesome. Just let us know below and we’ll update the list.
Thanks to the following people who were invaluable in this search:
Gino Cosme (@ginocosme)
TO Molefe (@TOmolefe)
DJ Fresh (@DJFreshSA)
Wendy Graaf (@WendyGraaf)
Leo Redelinghuys (@leored)