Why African Music Finally Has The World’s Ear

Why African Music Finally Has The World’s Ear

By Phoebe Parke |From CNN

We are consuming more music than ever before, and from a wider range of sources.

Global music sales rose by 3.2% in 2015, and income from streaming now accounts for 43% of digital revenue, according to a new IFPI report.

Emerging markets in Africa, in particular, are becoming more profitable. UK-based record company Beggars Group, for example, reports that 20% of its revenue comes from emerging markets. It is now licensing music for the first time in Nigeria, Uganda and Angola, according to the IFPI report.

“Bits of the world that you don’t see regularly as record markets are much bigger for us in the streaming world than the download or physical world,” says Beggars Group founder and chairman, Martin Mills in the report.

South Africa, for example, saw overall digital revenue in music double in 2013, according to IFPI’s 2014 report.

How streaming has widened exposure

Streaming is becoming more popular globally — it rose 93% in 2015, according to IFPI.

As smartphone penetration in Africa increases — it went from 2% in 2010 to 11% in 2013 — streaming services are gaining ground, giving the music made on the African continent more opportunity to find a global audience.

In South Africa, it is estimated that 40% to 50% of digital income now comes from iTunes, according to IFPI’s 2016 report.

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“This is an amazing time for African music,” Nigerian Afrobeats artist Mr Eazi tells CNN.

“Because of the internet Africans are exposed to the rest of the world without traveling. Afrobeat is now urbanized, the internet has made everything well-packaged.

“Now you see A-listers all around the world, like Drake and Nas, sampling African music; I’ve even heard Japanese music with African drums. It’s invading pop culture and it’s a marvelous time for African music.”

Another A-lister who may have been influenced by African music is Alicia Keys, after releasing her single In Common, she had people wondering if it was, in fact, an Afrobeats song.

Africa music rising

As the internet serves African music to the rest of the world, an appetite is developing for this market.

It is estimated that the South African entertainment and media industry will generate R175.4 billion ($122 billion) in revenue next year. Total exports from Africa’s entertainment sector currently bring in roughly $480 million a year, according to Politifact.

Read more at CNN