Midem launched this year its first ever high-potential markets programme. Developed to assist music industry professionalisation in emerging regions, the programme began in Africa, with a four-stage roadshow taking in South Africa, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Congo. Each stage consisted of panels, networking and brainstorming sessions, press conferences and concerts. In a nutshell:


The first stage of the Midem African Forum took place in Johannesburg, South Africa (April 4).Midemlab JohannesburgKey needs identified were:

Empower artists & music professionals through education: need to go back to basics and learn about how the industry works – e.g. how to negotiate & sign contracts – & make this knowledge accessible to all

Facilitate the mobility across Africa & the world: strengthen the live circuit & facilitate touring, reduce transport costs and visa processes

Protect & promote value chain & authors’ rights: educate artists & rights owners to better understand their rights & grow long term revenue

Facilitate payment & access to legal music: understand local markets’ specificities, develop sustainable legal business models, facilitate consumer access to music

Acknowledge artists’ changing role & importance of the independents in Africa: DIY, entrepreneurship and independence are essential.

The Johannesburg stage saw some outstanding panel discussions, including this one with Soulistic Music:

The Midem team then moved on to the Forum’s second stage, in Lagos, Nigeria (April 6).Midem Africa LagosKey needs identified were:

Defining a vision & building a sustainable Nigerian music industry: promoting cohesion within the music ecosystem & collaborations among professionals, facilitate skill transfers & connections, creating local & pan-African trade associations & lobby bodies.

Building long-term artist development strategies & educating artists & professionals on the music business (contracts, copyright, A&R, entrepreneurship, resilience, etc.)

Growing infrastructures: physical (touring circuits, recording, digital, etc.), but also the ecosystem around the artists & their teams, structure revenue streams through capacity building & tech development to ensure fair revenue to the whole value chain (from the authors to the performers)

WP Africa

Talented artists Toby Grey and Steve Osagie took part in this stage of the Midem African Forum!


Next up was an inspiring third stage of the Midem African Forum, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (April 9).Midem Africa AbidjanPre-crisis, this country was once the most structured market in Africa. In order to restructure, it now needs to do the following, the forum established:

Go back to basics: define the role of all players in the value chain (from the artist to the promoter, manager, publisher, label, etc.) by educating artists & music pros on the realities of the business, drawing inspiration from best practices around the world, growing collaborations & platforms to access knowledge.

Understand authors’ rights & monetisation streams: fight against piracy, build awareness among political & institutional authorities on the value of copyright, ensure the new revenue streams are shared fairly among right-owners, build a commercial framework to ensure monetisation of music.

Create trade bodies: federate all players around common goals & challenges to promote & protect them in negotiations with governments, international companies coming into the Ivorian market, digital players, etc.

Develop artist development strategies & international visibility: ensuring Ivorian rich pool of talent is visible, making the most out of social media & structuring A&R & a career vision before looking at export strategies.

The Midem team was delighted to meet Mr Maurice Kouakou, Ivorian Minister for Culture & Francophonie, in Abidjan.


The fourth and final stage of the Forum took place in in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (April 12). Midem Africa BrazzavilleKey needs identified were:

Music creates value: it’s essential for local authorities to support artists & the music industry as vectors of economical growth & soft power, as well as consolidate a structure that will allow them to thrive & avoid a loss of cultural richness

Developing artists’ careers: need to focus on defining a vision, building fanbases & touring locally/regionally, understanding the power & reach of the diaspora, the relevancy of signing to a major or an indie label, before looking at export opportunities.

Making the most out of the existing systems: Central & West Africa has its own economical system (i.e. touring thanks to brand partnerships) & distribution channels (essentially telcos), which are based on innovatively adapting to the realities of the market.

Promoting artists’ rights, fair share of the value of music & monetisation: facilitating access to information & education for artists & music professionals, understanding copyright & the benefits of a structured local & pan-African music industry & maintaining legislations up-to-date.

The Midem team had an inspiring meeting with Mr Dieudonné Moyongo, Congo’s Minister of Culture, in Brazzaville!


Of course, it doesn’t stop there: the Midem African Forum will continue at Midem in Cannes, June 5-8. See you there! More information here…

The Midem African Forum was organised in association with La culture avec La Copie Privée, Sacem & TRACE Africa

About Author

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

Leave A Reply