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How ‘Jerusalema’ Has Got The World Dancing

With over 120 Million views on YouTube and now, officially, the most Shazamed song in the world, ‘Jerusalema’ by South African DJ and record producer, Master KG featuring Nomcebo Zikode has taken the world by storm as people around the world have now even created a dance challenge with the song.

With over 257 000 global social media mentions on ‘Jerusalema’ since the start of 2020, Meltwater – the global leaders in media intelligence – tracked social media mentions on the song, including the new ‘#JerusalemaDanceChallenge’ to see how the world has been grooving to the hit record.

‘Jerusalema’ made it all the way on airplay!

Jerusalema started life as a rhythmic South African gospel track, so catchy that it spread really quickly to every corner around the world. It is impossible to listen to it without moving. The original song video portrays life in South Africa with a unique energy, strength and rhythm which is purely African. It has helped positioning the continent, which is not often associated with terms like “innovation” and “creativity”, as a global trend.

The song has become so popular that many artists have created their own Jerusalema versions. During last month Daudia, an Italian band, uploaded an acoustic duet cover which already has more than a thousand views on Youtube. A remix collaboration with Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afrobeat star, helped the song enter global charts and reached number 1 in 10 countries (including South Africa, France, Romania, Portugal, and Italy). This collaboration has not only brought both singers together but also their home countries after a diplomatic spat back in 2019. Colombian songstress Greeicy and Venezuelan rapper Micro TDH have also given a Latin touch to the track which already has more than 4 million views on Youtube.

In the United States, for example, the song’s Latin version has had more impact than the original one. During the last week , the original version of Jerusalema has only had 32 plays in the country, being the top three cities with the highest number of plays Houston (11), New York (4) and Hammond (2), whereas Greeicy and Micro TDH version currently is one of the top music tendencies in the USA.

Airplay data via WARMMUSIC

Social Media Mentions on the song ‘Jerusalema’

Released on 29 November 2019, the upbeat gospel-inspired house song gained positive responses from South Africans following its music video release in December. Between 1 January and 9 July 2020, there were just under 22 000 social media mentions on the song, with Nigeria being the top country to contribute to these global social media mentions, due to a remix of the song that featured Nigerian singer, Burna Boy. Following Nigeria in leading global social media mentions of the song were the United States of America and South Africa respectively as the song began to pick up popularity and the music video began to go viral online.

Once ‘Jerusalema’ made its way to online streaming services on 10 July 2020, global social media mentions on the song spiked immensely, with the data recording over 236 000 mentions related to the ‘Jerusalema’ hit song between 10 July and 10 September 2020. In this time period, South Africa has dominated social media mentions (39.47%) with Nigeria, the United States of America, Kenya and France rounding up the Top 5 countries mentioning the song on social media.

During the month of May, ‘Jerusalema’ had a total global social media reach of 182 Million people. This was due to the announcement of the 2008 South African film, ‘Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema’ being made available for streaming on Netflix in countries including South Africa, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

This led to more social media interest in ‘Jerusalema’ the song, which made its way to Pan-African radio stations such as Continental Radio Station and Classic 105 Kenya, before becoming available on online streaming services on 10 July 2020 and reaching a global social media reach of 664 Million people during the month of July.

Throughout the year, the ‘Jerusalema’ song has generally been positively received from global audiences. In February 2020, the song received a 95% positive response and sentiment from global social media users, with South Africans particularly enjoying the song and naming it as one of their favourite songs from the December 2019 holiday period.

September has also been a month that ‘Jerusalema’ was well received from global social media, especially after this tweet from Shazam announcing the song as “the most Shazamed song in the world.”

Some of the negative responses that the song has received include online users preferring the original song composition over the remix with Burna Boy as well as engagement on this tweet from South African musician, Cassper Nyovest, about the song having “more hype than the Samas [South African Music Awards]”.

Some of the trending themes on ‘Jerusalema’ include:

  • ‘world’ which refers to the song now becoming the most Shazamed song in the world

  • ‘million views’ which refers to the the song getting over 100 Million views on YouTube

  • ‘epic achievement’, ‘global success’ and ‘international success’  which refers to the song becoming a hit song across the globe and was featured in footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent Instagram video, which has received over 19 Million views

How the World is Grooving to the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge

With the overall song garnering the international success that it has, a dance challenge emerged when a group of friends in Angola recorded a candid clip of their choreography to the song. The dance challenge was picked up in Portugal as Master KG went to the country to promote his album with the song.

South Africa has been the number one country to contribute to mentions on the hashtag, with Kenya, Zimbabwe, the United States of America and Nigeria rounding up the Top 5 countries mentioning the hashtag on social media.

Since July 2020, when the song was made available on online streaming services, the ‘#JerusalemaDanceChallenge’ hashtag also picked up on social media and gained global traction. July 2020 saw a total social media reach of over 166 Million people, 237 Million people during August 2020, and 123 Million during September so far.

Some of the trending themes that emerged from the hashtag include:

  • ‘Health workers’ and ‘Beautiful Hle’ which refers to this tweet from Master KG sharing a video of healthcare workers in France taking part in the dance challenge.

  • ‘Naivas Moi avenue’ and ‘special guest appearance’ which refers to this tweet from the Naivas supermarket in Kenya store showing their employees taking part in the challenge

  • ‘social media users’ and ‘positivity’ which refers to this tweet that Al Jazeera English shared about the global positive impact that the dance challenge has.

The ‘Jerusalema’ hit song has seen incredible global success as it charts on popular music platforms such as iTunes and Billboard in various countries around the world.

In a time that sees the world adjusting to a new normal in light of the current global pandemic, the song, and the accompanying challenge, has brought much needed light to many and is sure to continue adding joy thanks to its infectious beat and dance challenge that everyone far and wide have joined in on.

Source: Data gathered by Meltwater between 1 January and 10 September 2020.

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