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No, Kenyan band Sauti Sol didn’t lose a million YouTube subscribers after accusing presidential candidate Odinga of copyright breach

The afro-pop band Sauti Sol’s YouTube subscribers fell from 2 million to 950,000 in under an hour after it called out Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his election coalition for copyright infringement, claim messages circulating on Facebook.

In May 2022, the band issued a statement saying Odinga and the Azimio la Umoja coalition had used its song Extravaganza on the campaign trail, in “clear violation of copyright”.

A typical version of the claim reads: “Sauti Sol loses followers and subscribers From 2M subscribers to 905k on their You Tube channel in less than an hour. Baba's Supporters never dissapoint.”

“Baba”, Kiswahili for father, is Odinga’s nickname

But did Sauti Sol’s YouTube channel really lose over a million subscribers after the band accused Odinga of copyright theft? We checked.


Sauti Sol didn’t have 2 million subscribers

News stories posted screenshots of a loss of 2,000 subscribers in a day, from 905,000 to 903,000 subscribers. 

But YouTube analytics show that the band gained 8,100 subscribers in the 30 days after Sauti Sol’s statement. Other YouTube analytics data shows steady growth in subscribers. 

The band has 2.2 million followers on Instagram  and 1.1 million on Twitter. But it did not have 2 million subscribers on YouTube, and so could not have lost over a million. The publicly available screenshots show it lost 2,000 subscribers in a day, but then gained more. It currently has 917,000 subscribers. 

None of Sauti Sol’s social media platforms indicate that the band lost over a million followers in an hour.

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