Midem Music Pulse – Strategies to Boost the Careers of African Music Artists

Despite their incredible influence over lots of music styles all over the world, African countries only represent 2% of the world music market. However, with the highest youth population and a rapid adoption of mobile media, the digital revolution has given a new opportunity to export more local artists. The African music markets, with their diversity and cultural wealth, now possess a huge potential of development.

Midem Music Pulse helps you understand the main challenges and key trends shaping the future of the international music business via exclusive content from the Midem conference programme.

Every month, Midem conference team offers you a curated eye on Midem conference programme, to discover insightful business tips, key facts and global strategies on vibrant topics of the music industry.

Discover 5 exclusive music strategies to grow your career as an African music artist!

WP Africa

1. Focus on the long run and on your musical education

“Music is not for fame, fortune, and all those things we believe it is. Music is probably more tedious than any other profession. Music inspires every other profession. It’s very important for the composer to understand that he or she […] have to study it properly, learn musical instruments, show dexterity, improvisation, and take Afro music to heights that are unbelievable. […] And institutions will address how to get your ready for your future. You have to always have an open mind to learn.”Femi Kuti, Singer, New Afrika Shrine (Nigeria)

This quote is excerpted from Femi Kuti’s keynote at Midem 2019. Being one of the greatest African musicians of all time,  he has been named Midem 2019 Artist Ambassador after welcoming at The Shrine, the heart and soul of Nigeria’s music scene, Midem’s second edition in Lagos. As one of the most influential African music artists today, he shares his vision on empowering the new generation of Nigerian artists and music executives, shedding the light on his own initiatives to structure and professionalise the local music industry and facilitate access to education and training.

2. Make sure to understand digital and the opportunities it creates

“For independent artists, there’s a work of education that needs to be done, especially around working with digital and getting your metadata right, and we all need to work together on this. It’s important to work with trusted aggregators who can push your content like TuneCore or Africori, they have masses of data that can help you target your fans and show you where focusing on” Phil Choi, Head of International Partnerships, Boomplay (Africa)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “Creating a Common Narrative to Put African Talent on the Global Music Map” conference. Driven by a music-hungry fan base that is young and mobile-friendly, the continent’s music consumption is fast-growing and reaching global audiences thanks to streaming. Despite different local realities from one market to the next, there is a common will to unite among contemporary African artists and music professionals to build sustainable music ecosystems and to create a common narrative to put African talent on the global music map.

3. Independence is freedom, but it is though

“Independence, it looks fun from the outside, but a lot of work goes into it. You have to spend a lot of your own money. At the end of the day, before investors come in, you have to be able to show them that you can put numbers on a board by yourself.”Maleek Berry, Artist & Founder, Berry’s Room (Nigeria)

4. Know your value as an artist and when to sign a deal

“The only time you should sign a deal is when you don’t need one. Because when that time comes, it will mean you have built your brand up, your market value, just like a product. You know, labels see you as an asset, so you have to be a cash cow for them for you to be attractive.”Maleek Berry, Artist & Founder, Berry’s Room (Nigeria)

These two quotes are excerpted from Midem 2019 “Behind Today’s Nigerian Sounds: a Talk with Maleek Berry” session. Ambassador of the Midem African Forum 2019, he is one of the most famous African singers and one of the leading figures of the Afrobeats movement, he is taking the world by storm. Having produced for some of the most exciting artists today, from Davido to Wizkid, Jidenna and Ycee, he discusses his experience and international development. He shares his vision on the growth of the African music industries and the opportunities and challenges faced by African music artists in the continent and beyond.

5. Build a trusted team and be thorough with your business

“Get your fees, get your publishing, get your lawyer, do your paperwork, because you never know which record is going to be a hit.”Efe Ogbeni, Founder, Regime Music Societe & Co-Founder, Stealth Management (USA/Africa/UK)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “The Growth & Impact of African Culture & Music Around the World” conference. With the global growth of digital and streaming around the world, African culture and music is reaching new audiences every day, who want to see them perform live. Efe Ogbeni, manager of global superstars Davido and Tiwa Savage, discusses with one of music’s most influential lawyers, Joel Katz, how the growth of the African music industry, both locally and internationally, will impact the music business as a whole.


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