The power of a song

A new retail playlist drops with inBroadcasting, a division of HaveYouHeard agency.

Neuroscience confirms audio connects to us on an emotional level that is missing from other media. The power of a song to affect mood or the right voice tone, has a tangible impact on us all.

“Neuroscience and behavioural economics, too, are allowing us to track shopper behaviour in real-time for the first time. In combination with digital retail radio, this allows us to adjust playlists, tempo, feel, genres and voice types to test the impact of audio on a shopper’s behaviour and figure out how to keep them in the store for longer, or contribute to sales or brand sentiment.” This is the view of veteran DJ and digital broadcasting entrepreneur, Jon Savage, who heads up inBroadcast, a division of HaveYouHeard, which is innovating the broadcast media and branded content spaces. Savage launched TFG’s Sportscene digital radio into the biggest of its kind. The statistics show that unique listeners topped 84,000 in November last year and grew to over 277,000 by the end of December 2020. Important, too, is that each of these unique listeners spent an average of half an hour online listening in.

“My recent discussions with Spotify, Apple and Google have made it clear that we are in the middle of a digital audio revolution, and this is setting the stage for a powerful new role for audio in culture and in consumers lives as the facilitator of passive engagement. They confirm there is a significant and rapid explosion of podcasting across the globe. Increased demand for our inBroadcasting retail radio technology confirms digital retail radio is hot on its heels,” says Savage. “And, we’re able to extend in-store radio into retail mobile apps, thereby keeping customers engaging for longer, interacting with online brand shopping, and increasing sales.”

inBroadcast can develop playlists for any brand. To showcase their versatility, inBroadcast has partnered with Retailing Africa to introduce playlists of the best music across the African continent, that millions of consumers are listening to right now. Savage is of the opinion that tired old traditional Christmas playlists do more harm than good to retail budgets; and those retailers need to play music their customers want to listen to. The playlist is drawn from data on Spotify, Deezer, Boomplay, TikTok and YouTube. The unique playlist will be updated regularly by Savage for Retailing Africa’s B2B readers. Have a listen; and read why Savage has chosen this playlist for this week:

1. Love Ntwantiti (ah ah ah) – CKay ft Joeboy & Kuami Eugene

This song has been around for a little while, but it has now transcended being a song and has turned into a full scale cultural phenomenon, with it even becoming a South African TikTok trend, complete with its own creator-driven TikTok remixes. Even the remixes of this song are smashing charts all over. Audiences just LOVE this song. You cannot go wrong having one of the mixes of this song playing in store.

2. Great Heart – Karen Zoid & Johnny Clegg

We lost Johnny Clegg not too long ago and Karen Zoid managed to even set up a tribute for the man while he was still alive. This song represents everything that is great about South Africa, and Great heart is a staple of the feel-good South African spirit so, rather than the original, why not play this collaboration to put people in the Christmas spirit. It’s so cool when you hear Johnny laugh on this track.

3. High – Adekunle Gold ft Davido

Two of the most loved artists on the continent collaborate on this global smash hit that is being recognised globally and is bringing African music to the world. The tempo is relaxed and the vocals are smooth as silk, and the repetitive melodies make it a perfect song for in store, as well as a far-reaching beloved song. Your audience will know that you guys know what’s cooking if they hear this on your in-store playlist.

4. Way 2 Sexy – Drake (feat Future & Youngthug)

This crosses all genres, appealing to a much wider variety of audiences across demographic and age lines. It samples (and essentially parodies) the classic Right Said Fred song, Too Sexy, which is a great entry point for all audience types. This could explain why Drake’s new album is the MOST STREAMED ALBUM OF ALL TIME, with its opening week garnering more than 700 million streams worldwide. Everyone, according to the data, loves Drake. Please remember to use the clean or radio version of this song.

5. A New World – Wouter Kellerman

Here is a little curve ball amidst all the Amapiano and Hiphop, for the slightly more mature albums. Wouter Kellerman is a South Africa flute player who plays new age relaxing flute music. It is extremely soothing and will work in wellness environments and keep audiences relaxed. I recommend getting his entire new album Pangea. What makes this a special find is that, not only is it extremely delightful in calm environments, Wouter has just been nominated for a GRAMMY for this album.

6. Crazy Tings – Tems

Tems is representing girl power to the mountain tops. If your store has a slant towards young females, playing Tems shows that you care about what they care about. She has broken through a massively male-dominated industry and is absolutely slaying the charts all over the world, not to mention all over Africa.

7. Umoya – Skwatta Kamp

Over Christmas time, shoppers love classics. Skwatta Kamp are credited with basically inventing South African hip-hop. They changed the game and have the nostalgic love of the 35+ year audience and the respect of the 20-30 year-olds. What makes this a powerful choice for this December is, not only that this song was one of the game-changers of hip hop, but Skwatta Kamp just announced their come-back after a decade of splitting up and are about to drop a new album.

8. Mmapula – Busta929

Busta929 have broken out as a global fan favourite for Amapiano stars and are carrying the torch proudly. Mmapula could be their biggest song to date, and we’ve spent the past four months deeply studying the music streaming habits across the continent. This song manages to top audience fan favourites all over Africa and especially here at home. From a sonic perspective, the song manages to straddle a perfect line of groovy enough; to being able to play on repeat in stores without it sounding repetitive; and is also uptempo enough to keep shoppers energy levels. You’ll notice a lot of foot-tapping, but it is not too invasive melodically. Also, people across the age groups just love this song.

9. Strangers by Nature – Adele

Everyone plays Adele in their stores because she is perfectly placed in terms of mood and pitch. She is undeniable and slashes through every chart from every demographic across all regions of South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. But people get bored of hearing her big hit 50 million times per day in every store they walk in to. So, treat them to one of the lesser-known songs on the album and you will capture their attention. Also, this song kind of sounds like a traditional Christmas song!

10. Sithi Shwi – Young Stunna, Big Zulu, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small)

Ever wondered what might happen if you put all the most beloved SA artists together on one track? Well you don’t have to, here it is. Each of these artists have been smashing the Africa Top40 for months on end, and listener habits in the 16-28 year old category in South Africa show that they are obsessed with these artists individually and together.

Listen on Spotify.

*More: The right music in store can boost sales.


Main image credit:


– Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every Wednesday • Subscribe here.