Although Kenya has one of the most diverse music scenes on the continent, it has an immense, but unfortunately still not completely realized potential.
Nigeria leading the music industry in Africa
The time for Nigerian artists to rule the world has come
And even though Kenya has big names in the music scene, some of which got international recognition, from rappers such as Khaligraph Jones, and Nyashinski, through an Afro-pop band such as Sauti Sol, to stars such as Fena Gitu, Nigeria is still the biggest music market in Africa.
Nigeria has always been a leader when it comes to successful musicians coming from the African continent.
The country was never short of musicians who gained global recognition. Even though in recent years, the African country with the most globally successful artists was South Africa, there are signs that this can change.
The time for Nigerian artists to rule the world has come.
Nigeria in the Lead
Nigeria has an incredibly strong musical history, we need only mention the magnificent Fela Kuti, but, often, a fully structured industry necessary to support the artists, was lacking.
Things started to change in recent years, and the well-established Nigerian music companies such as Chocolate City and Now Music, are today joined by an army of music professionals, executives, and artists all trying to rejuvenate the Nigerian music industry and make it into a global phenomenon.
And the country was not called the Heart of African Music without a good reason. It is the home of some of the most advanced recording studios on the continent.
And a home of some of the best known Nigerian artists that achieved global recognition today like Wizkid, Timaya, Don Jazzy, D'banj, Burna Boy (whose songs are even showing up in GTA Radio: The Cayo Perico Heist), and many, many others.
Besides gaming, and many other industries that are currently growing in Africa, the rise of Nigerian music is fueled by the country’s (and African in general) population getting younger.
This is reflected in the local economy in many ways, from an increase in the usage of smartphones to the normalisation of online gaming gambling, and the music industry is no exception - it is driven by the trends popular among the youth.
South Africa Showing the Way
But, when it comes to African artists conquering the world stage, no one was more successful than the musicians coming from South Africa.
In many ways, South Africa is paving the way for the Nigerian music industry, and the success of artists such as Black Coffee, Die Antwoord, Jack and Parrow is a source of great inspiration for Nigerian artists.
The South African music industry is just one example of industries in the country being shaped by the dominant role that the youth plays in the country’s economy. South Africa is well-known for its rich gaming industry, where besides video game companies like Celestial Games and Clockwork Acorn, there’s also been a surge in online casino game creation.
Considering that a large chunk of players are new to the industry, there’s a tangential demand for affiliate websites like casinos.co.za, which let customers familiarize themselves with online casinos content.
This website, for example, includes guides for playing casino games for real money and reviews the reliability of different payment methods, among other things.
And so, with an increasingly more tech-savvy and eager-to-learn population, along with constantly improving technologies, it’s just a matter of time when South African music, video game industry, and online casinos will intertwine in a productive union.
Paradoxically, even though South African music was the most globally successful music coming from Africa, this success also made it more isolated from the rest of the continent.
There are signs that this will change. With the participation of some of the world's largest music companies, Africa can become a more musically integrated continent.
And what lies ahead for African music, can the best be seen from the words of Temi Adeniji a Nigerian-born music industry executive.
When she was nine years old, she left her homeland and went to the US. After graduating from Princeton University and earning a law degree from Columbia, she built a successful career and eventually became the Director of International Strategy & Operations at Warner Music Group.
Temi was later promoted to SVP of International Strategy & Operations, and finally this September she will move back to Africa, to Johannesburg, and assume her new position as Managing Director of Warner Music South Africa and SVP, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa.
She never lost contact with Nigeria and has in the past worked closely with Chocolate City production. Her appointment and move back to Africa illustrate the great potential the continent has. As Temi Adeniji explained herself:
“For too long, Africa has been an afterthought for the global music industry. I want to build a sustainable business in Africa that can be seen as a standard-bearer.
"Part of what I want to accomplish in this role is to place Africa at the center of the conversation. And that means more artists from Africa taking their place on the global stage and expanding our offering across this fast-growing continent.”
Nigeria was always full of musical talent worthy of success on the world stage. But today this talent is accompanied by adequate infrastructure and attention from the biggest production companies in the world.
It seems that finally, all the necessary ingredients for the country to conquer the global music industry are coming together.
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