This guy may be the most successful South African musician on earth. Depending on how you define it.
He may not be rich, he hasn’t sold many albums, he’s just started his first band, and he’s hardly played live at all.
None of that matters though.
Cobus Potgieter from Bloemfontein began posting videos of himself playing the drums in 2006. The reception on Youtube was positive, so he kept doing it.
Today his Youtube channel has a subscriber base of more than 450 000 and he has amassed views in the hundreds of millions. His 145 million views currently is more than double fellow SA exports Die Antwoord’s Zef Recordz channel.
Cobus moved to LA, where he perfected his model. It is video drum tutorials, professionally lit, filmed and recorded of Cobus doing drum covers of contemporary rock acts. This Avenged Sevenfold cover has seven million views so far…
His tutorial platform cobusmethod.com teaches aspiring drummers to play 100% by ear. (Cobus himself has never received a drum lesson and cannot read music). The site markets DVD sets describing the method.
He recently parlayed that success into his My YouTube Band Project, where he auditioned band members and solicited Kickstarter donations for an album. The result is Ventura Lights, a five-piece making shimmering, high-octane rock not unlike Foo Fighters, Stone Sour or Alterbridge. But not quite like them either.
Cobus describes passion as his driving motivation. “People can’t help but react to passion… to seeing someone doing what they’re supposed to be doing, passionately.”
It must be that passion that has made Cobus Potgieter one of the most popular drummers in the world and an international phenomenon with his very own online audience of millions.
If you define success as becoming rich, then perhaps Cobus Potgieter isn’t successful. But if you define it as living your dream, achieving global recognition and doing things no one in your field has done before, then Cobus Potgieter is one of the most successful South African musicians of all time.
We will watch the next phase of his career with interest.