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The Music Markets: Africa Edition
October 17, 2022

The Music Markets: Africa Edition

Whether you’re an independent musician, a producer, or an A&R rep—market research is critical to growing your business. Of course, sitting through reports can be tedious and monotonous, but we’ll save you from that during this article:

In this edition of music markets, we look at one of the fastest-growing and most exciting global markets: Africa. The African continent has a rich history of creating excellent music. Nevertheless, Africa has struggled to develop its incredible music into a prosperous, creative African music industry. 

With the rise in streaming, this is rapidly changing. 

Let’s take a deeper look at the African music market and how you can benefit from distributing your music there. Let’s start with streaming:

Music Streaming In Africa 

The streaming industry is booming in Africa—which is phenomenal news; after all, Africa is home to almost 1.4 billion people. However, it gets better: Dataxis predicts that Africa’s streaming market will be worth $314.6 million by 2026. Sure, it’s a long way behind the North American and European markets, but it’s heading in the right direction. The market value in 2021 was only $92.8 million, so there may be vast growth ahead.  

According to the FPI, Sub-Saharan Africa generated $70.1 million in revenue in 2021; that’s significant because it’s the first time we’ve had an official figure from that region. Furthermore, it was a 9.6 percent increase from the previous year. Nevertheless, despite the good news, Dataxis has some potentially bad news for the African music industry.

They suspect Africa’s poor internet infrastructure may hamper the growth of streaming. In addition, they note that most of Africa’s streaming revenue comes from a few nations: Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and Algeria. Although there could be vast demand for streaming throughout the continent, poor infrastructure hinders that. 

Various streaming platforms have witnessed the potential for the African market. Yet, one steaming platform—which isn’t Western—is leading the pack. The Chinese-controlled streaming service, Boomplay, is beating both Apple and Spotify in capturing Africa’s streaming users. Spotify dominates the global streaming industry, but not in Africa. 

Still, whatever the outcome in the coming years—Africa has a growing and vibrant streaming industry that opens the continent up for many musicians and music companies. 

Live Music In Africa

Live events are an excellent way for musicians to make money from their craft, but how does Africa stand for live events? As you probably expect, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated Africa’s live music scene. According to the World Economic Forum, the pandemic cost the music industry $10 billion in sponsorships. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, African musicians would mainly earn money from live shows. Unfortunately, a high level of local piracy prevented many African musicians from a decent income.

Africa is home to many popular yearly music festivals—including Tanzania’s Sauti za Busara, Zimbabwe’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) and the Vic Falls Carnival, and South Africa’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival and Eswatini’s Bushfire. 

Some of the main cities for live music in Africa are Lagos, Nairobi, Dakar, Accra, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Johannesburg is the top live music destination because of its English-speaking population and six decades of jazz, kwaito, and house music history. 

However, one of the biggest problems for African nations is the lack of suitable venues. Compared to Europe and North America, Africa doesn't have big or safe enough venues for some of their most prominent artists—such as Nigeria’s Naira Marley. Subsequently, this could inhibit the development potential of Africa’s live music scene as the market develops. Nonetheless, Africa’s live music scene is growing again after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Rise of African Musicians

When people say Africa is rising, they often refer to the economy and trade. However, you could also use this term for African musicians and the African music market. As a result, the world’s major music labels—including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group—have their eyes fixed on the African music scene.

These record companies have signed top artists like Tiwa Savage, Davido, Tenko, Nasty C, Bongo Flava, and Sauti Sol. In March 2021, the Universal Music Group signed the Gospel Choir (the famous South African musical group.) In addition, collaborations with African musicians have grown. For example, Ghanian Kwesi Arthur gained a massive international presence when he collaborated with acclaimed and notorious British rapper Stormzy. 

Another prevalent African musician is Black Coffee. He has grown from strength to strength in the global music market and collaborated with Drake, Pharrell Williams, and David Guetta. He’s also celebrating a Grammy Award for the Dance/Electronic Album for his seventh studio record.

For sure, there’s still a long way to go. Africa has a vast continent of rich musical history and talent. The lack of vibrant music industry has meant African music has largely remained an alternative sound worldwide. After many years, however, this is changing; that’s why major record labels are watching Africa with hawk-eye vision. 

The Growth of African Music Genres 

Various music genres are growing in the African music industry; a prime example is Amapiano, which is a mixture of log-drum basslines, soulful piano melodies, and deep house. In South Africa, Amapiano is more than a music genre: it’s also a lifestyle. It’s the first time a local genre dominates the radio instead of international songs. 

On TikTok, the #amapiano hashtag has over 570 million views. As a result, the genre is transcending borders—especially in Africa. Amapiano has changed how the African record business works. Instead of looking for a record label, amapiano artists use social media marketing. Other growing African music genres include Afrobeats, Mbalax, Ethio Jazz, and Electro Chaabi. 

When you combine the growth of African music with the boom in successful African musicians, the future looks bright for the African music industry. 

The Launch of African Music Business Shows 

Recently, Muziki Africa at FAME Week Africa launched in August in Cape Town. The live music event aims to connect Africa to the world through music. It’s the first business-to-business marketplace for Africa that focuses on the core music business, the tech sector, and brands and agencies. It’s a huge step forward for the African music market, and an excellent event for your music business to attend. 

Final Thoughts 

The African music market is developing, vast, and promising for music businesses. The sharp increase in major music companies entering Africa should provide confidence that the continent has a strong future within the global music industry.

If you want to expand your business into the African music industry, you can help organize your music business with Reprtoir’s software suite. It can help you streamline your operations and boost revenue through asset, catalog, and royalty management software.

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