URBAN Groover Rockford Josphat has broken the local YouTube record after his latest video song “Uchandifunga” smashed 1 million views in just four days, but some Zimbabweans are infuriated.
That should make the 35-year-old musician, known just as Roki, the first Zimbabwean artiste to grab such a milestone without the collaboration of an international artiste. YouTube is the second most visited website daily the whole world, after Google. Views on YouTube monetized accounts equate to money, and Roki will soon be smiling all the way to the bank.
Roki released the song last week after a long sabbatical from the microphone during which many had already written his music career done and dusted. However, while there appears to be little dispute as to how good the song is, there is mystery as to how the song garnered about 1,000,000 views in the last few hours.
This has led many to suspect the views had been bought or generated by bots. Some have gone as far as accusing self-styled prophet Passion Java of being behind the scheme to generate extra views for Roki.
“I don’t dispute that Roki released a good song, but I’m shocked as hell as to how he just amassed 1,000,000 views in three hours for a song that was released days ago,” said Tongo Maodza, speaking to hourlyhits.
“I watched the song just three hours ago and it had 208,000 views. Then hours later, boom! Guy has a million plus views. There’s no such magic!”
Maodza is not the only one to suspect the views were cooked or generated by bots. Many others testified to having checked the views a few hours before the number miraculously shot to over a million.
In February 2019, Winky D and Gemma Griffiths released “MuGarden” on Valentine’s Day. The song was an instant hit but could only manage a million views on the 13th day after release.
“Uchandifunga” is number 3 on the YouTube trending list, with Jah Prayzah’s “Svovi” and “Murder” commanding the top spots. Some music watchers have accused Passion Java’s music recording company of buying views for Roki to push his profile up. This was after Java shared links to the video, but there is doubt Java could be such an influencer to generate close to a million views in a few hours.
Pasison Java Records has only 83,000 subscribers.
It is perfectly possible and legal to buy YouTube views, but it’s very hard to jump from even 200,000 to 300,000 overnight using that approach, and for various reasons. YouTube will block accounts that fake their own views, but there are established firms that sell YouTube views on bunches of 1000, 2000 etc. With each view costing between US$0,10 and US$0,30, you can see why it is tough to push even 100,000 views that way.
Also, while Zimbabweans tend to obsess over views, views are not the only metric that matters for YouTube to recommend a video. There are stats such as engagement: comments, likes, dislikes and subscription that also help push the views upwards. However, all these are organic pushes and it is unimaginable that Roki’s hit song could have smashed the record that way.
The truth is, we are bamboozled just like everybody else as to where he got those 1,000,000 views from. Just like we are also shocked as to where he came from after living the past five years under a rock, literally. As with everything around the Chidzoka hitmaker, controversy and mystery hold sway.
Born in Madagascar, Roki was raised in the Waterfalls suburb of Harare and is regarded by many as Urban Grooves’ best talent that was never fully explored. He rose to fame in the early 2000s with hit songs such as “Seiko”. □