RISE OF THE AFRICAN MUSIC INDUSTRY
The world is going gaga over the up and coming African genre Afrobeats, signaling the rise of African music. Tune in to African playlists on streaming platforms and you will encounter the sounds, languages, and rhythms of the continent, mixing English with Swahili, Yoruba or Zulu to create unique, never heard before music whose popularity has been increasing exponentially over the past few years. Layered music smoothly blends into bold, soulful voices expressing the stories, hopes, dreams, and history of those on the continent. From Afropop, Bongo Flava and Amapiano in the South to Afro Dancehall from Nigeria, the sheer range of genres is astounding. International music labels are signing artists from across the continent as they have recognized Africa’s potential as a musical mecca.
According to IFPI, the global contribution of the African music industry was not very significant. This is beginning to change with its increasing digital presence enabling the recording industry to effectively reach a large number of consumers across the globe, aided by international music streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Tidal and Youtube enabling cross-continental access to content. Other locally established services include Boomplay in Tanzania and Mdundo in Kenya.
Airwaves are now dominated by the songs of local artists compared to the 2000s when only international artists used to get airplay. African producers are going a step further by becoming artists themselves and producing their own music. A very good example is the hit song “Diana” by Tekno Miles and Kenyan Beat King Magix Enga. Doing this helps them by making their creative contributions more relevant and also shows us that African artists are making music which resonates with the local flavor and language of the region.
The African music industry is also making a conscious effort to ensure their music and artists are uplifted. The All Africa Music Awards, established by the International AFRIMA Committee is one such initiative, taken in collaboration with the African Union. It aims to reward and celebrate musical works, talents, and creativity around the continent while promoting African cultural heritage. Aside from AFRIMA, Coke Studio Africa brings together a diverse number of prominent African artists, coming together to produce exciting new performances and combine various genres of music from across Africa. The first of its kind in the region, the show, sponsored by Coca Cola, unites artists from different parts of Africa to co-create African fusion music, bringing yet another flavor to the table.
Africa has established itself as a promising hub for new artists and music. African artists are certainly taking their music to the global level with artists like Wizkid and Davido collaborating with the likes of Chris Brown and Drake. Another good example is the album ‘The Lion King’ by Beyonce, which featured African artists Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, and Wizkid. The album was a tribute to the diversity and the rich history of the continent.