Spotify revisits Jerusalema’s rise to global prominence – 1 year later!

As the countdown to Jerusalema's one year anniversary in November slowly approaches, Spotify looks back on the progress and popularity of the global runaway song - which for many people may seem like an overnight hit. But interestingly - to many's surprise its success was not immediate!

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Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode’s hit song ‘Jerusalema‘ has taken the world by storm with fans all the way from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France, to the US joining in on the internet craze and dancing their sorrows away during these difficult times of coronavirus. 

And while for many people it may appear to be an overnight hit, the song’s global success was not immediate, having first appeared on Spotify in November 2019. 

With its origin traced back from to the bountiful South Africa’s province of Limpopo, it wasn’t long before a group of Angolan teenagers decided to take ownership of the song – in February 2020 – and recorded themselves listening to the song and, one by one, getting into step in a traditional line dance, with plates of food in hand.

The video took off, and suddenly people all around southern Africa were recording their own versions of the #JerusalemaChallenge.

As plenty of countries across the world, including South Africa started imposing lockdowns weeks later due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the song too went viral, with Europeans and Americans alike posting videos of their own versions of line dances. 

According to Spotify, the track’s steady rise is nothing short of phenomenal, having recorded over 48 000% growth in streams between November 2019 and October 2020. It has since become an unprecedented digital hit amassing close to 200 million YouTube views to date.

“Jerusalema is not just any song,” Master KG explained to Spotify’s blog For the Record. “It’s a comforting song with a message that we can all relate to. The song came at the time when the world was facing a global pandemic, so it helped restore faith. It’s a song that people will remember for many years to come, a song that will be remembered for uniting the world.”  

Between the ever-increasing streams on Spotify and the countless, global #JerusalemaChallenge videos, it’s very likely the track will remain a symbol of hope, unity, and togetherness for some time to come.

For more about the success of Jerusalema in numbers, check out the latest For the Record blog.