Tanzanian bongo artist Ali Kiba has been awarded by his label, Sony Music Africa, after the video for ‘Aje’ hit 5 million views on YouTube. He received a congratulatory plaque at the label’s headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, ahead of his tour of the country.
Speaking to Tanzania’s Ayo TV, Kiba said he had noted complaints from his fans about “delays” and that he had discussed the matter with Sony Music Africa CEO Sean Watson.
“They have to make sure everything is on point, that there are no delays, that I don’t disappoint my fans,” Kiba, who has been with Sony since May last year, said.
He was referring to the delayed handover of his MTV Base Best African Act 2016 award, which was wrongfully given to Nigeria’s Wizkid in October. Following public outcry from Tanzanians, the organisers admitted that the bongo hitmaker was not rewarded despite receiving the most public votes.
He said the YouTube hits for his single ‘Aje’ were authentic and not “robot hits”, referring to the illegal but rampant practice where musicians fraudulently purchase bots (software robots) to generate clicks on their videos.
The video took a promising trajectory right from the start, scoring 1.5 million views in the first three weeks of its release in May last year. YouTube views are determined by several factors, among them the cost of data, popularity of the artist, uptake of local music and the population of the country.
Nigerian artists command the highest number of hits in Africa, thanks in part to the country’s 173.6 million population. For example, P-Square's 'Personally' reaped 64 million views by May last year.
Although Tanzania's population of 49 million dwarfs in comparison, the country has the lowest cost of data on the continent, according to IT research body Research ICT Africa. This might explain why Tanzanian artists are garnering more YouTube views than those in other East African countries.
Kiba also released a new remix for the single together with a music video done in the style of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out Loud’. Though sleek, the video drew mixed reactions in the YouTube comments section, with some saying it was a “foreign” concept.
Here's Ali Kiba's new video for 'Aje Remix':