Launched in 2018 as part of the High-Potential Markets Programme, The Midem African Forum’s ambition is to assist with the development and internationalisation of the African music markets. The African Music Forum consists of a series of conferences, workshops and showcases, which took place this year in Dakar (Senegal), Douala (Cameroon) & Lagos (Nigeria), in association with TRACE Africa.


The first stage of the Midem African Forum took place in Dakar, Senegal (April 9)

Key needs identified were:

– Reinforce the value chain
Senegal is a country of culture and for its creators to thrive, it is essential for them to come together, collaborate, share information to build a common vision as to where its industry should evolve towards, giving each profession its rightful place in the value chain, providing the right amount of funding and training to secure a strong ecosystem across the value chain – from the producers and technicians to the managers, labels and artists.

– The monetisation of music
The objective here is to understand the music industry as an economy and music listeners as consumers, and thus the need to understand music consumption habits and adapt strategies to those consumers: a strong mobile penetration, a mobile consumption of music and a low access to banks. Additionally, two main monetisation streams were identified: digital and live music. needing to be fully engaged with and developed by the artists (to reach new local, regional and international audiences) and their entourage (to create dedicated content, digital marketing strategies) all the while securing efficient digital distribution networks with the less intermediaries possible. The second being more established as the local live music industry is strong and already allows artists to tour and thrive.

WP Africa

Creator’s rights & the remuneration of artists
With the rise of digital, artists and their entourage need to become conscious of the value of their music and to get familiar with questions of copyright and their rights so as to ensure the right collection of their royalties (from declaring the correct metadata to building the publishing ecosystem, strengthening collecting societies and fighting versus piracy).

Training & the structuring of the Senegalese music industry
There is a will to grow the training of artists and music professionals so as to move towards an industry of “entrepreneurs” who are able to grow the understanding of the music industry, to analyse the state of the Senegalese music business, to collect data, to build databases of music and professionals, to create events/occasions for the community to meet, discuss key challenges and address them.

More tweets from this stage here & here.


The second stage took place in Douala, Cameroon (April 12)

Key needs identified were:

Building an organised music industry 
Structuring the way business is done, clarifying the roles & responsibilities of the different players within the value chain, strengthening distribution channels & infrastructures to allow creativity to thrive

Giving artists & creative their true value through training & regulation
Promote knowledge-sharing, ensure the artist and their entourage know their music’s value, their rights and how the business works, so as to protect creation & secure transparent monetisation streams

Artist mobility & music distribution 
Live remains the essential distribution & monetisation stream but access to neighbouring & international markets is complex because of difficulties to travel (visa, lack of funding gaps, payment issues) & poor understanding of how these other markets work; adapting new digital tools to local realities & consumption habits, as well as finding local solutions to access & distribute music legally.

More tweets from this stage here & here.


The final stage took place in Lagos, Nigeria (April 15)

The key needs identified were:

Embracing tech & digital to reach local/regional/global audiences
Use tech to monetise music locally & internationally; take advantage of Nigeria & Africa’s young, connected & mobile population to reach a bigger share in the global music industry; create local tools that serve local talent beyond mainstream acts; develop digital strategies with an emphasis on data management to create opportunities; capitalise on internet & globalisation

Structuring further the Nigerian music industry
Grow the local music ecosystem; demonstrate the viability, profitability & value of the music business for governments to facilitate regulation & structuring of the industry, as well for banks to invest; strengthen local infrastructures for creativity to thrive; build innovative business models adapted to local realities

Educating artists & music professionals
Capacity building (tech & business expertise/artistry & performance/content creation/professionalisation); look at international standards & aiming at reaching them; facilitate connections; create music academies to train the artists, technicians & executives of tomorrow.

More tweets from this stage here, here & here.

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.