Ahead of Midem Africa, discover some exclusive content from Midem Music Industry Insights:

Local African music’s impact can be felt in the US, the world’s biggest music market by revenues.

South Africa-based Thabiso Khati highlights Babes Wodumo’s contribution to the official soundtrack of Black Panther, Hollywood’s multi-billion-dollar Marvel superhero blockbuster movie. Famous for her local hits in the South African famed gqom genre, she has been nominated for the popular US music-business prize, the BET Awards.

Singer-songwriter/rapper Sho Madjozi, another South African star who melds gqom with hip hop, has been snapped up by Sony Music Entertainments Epic Records.

For Khati, a former Universal Music Group Africa director who launched his own artist-management firm The T-Effect in January 2020, their achievements confirm the still untapped potential of Africa.

“Africa is like going into a resource-filled land that has not been mined. But what is missing there is the know-how to mine the resources. Once you are able to bring the expertise, you are going to open an endless pool of revenue.”

That outlook is permeating the US, argues Tuma Basa, Director, Black Music & Culture at YouTube, Google’s mega video-sharing platform with 2 billion-plus registered users worldwide.

The Nigerian diaspora in the US and the children of African immigrants are introducing made-in-Africa music to other Americans, while US DJs are infusing afrobeats into their performances, he states.

Nigerian superstar and Grammy winner Burna Boy has collaborated with US producer/entrepreneur P Diddy; Tiwa Savage has appeared on a leading US TV chat show, The Tonight Show with Starring Jimmy Fallon; young New Yorkers cannot get enough of the Afrowave productions from Afro B, the British DJ of Ivorian descent; and the parents of Kanye West’s manager Abou “Bu” Thiam (a former Vice President of A&R  at Def Jam) and his brother, rap star/music entrepreneur Akon, are from Senegal.

YouTube itself is riding the Afro wave, having launched the YouTube Music in Nigeria this year.


“African music has entered the American palette,” Basa adds. “From YouTube’s perspective, a lot of the consumption is by children of African immigrants and their friends. These are children that have assimilated in the US; they are African Americans. This is the generation of the American Dream 2.0.”

Download the “The Globalisation of Local Genres – a Digital-Age Phenomenon” report to learn more about the globalisation of local music and discover that, in the 21st century, a global hit can truly come from anywhere >>>

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International journalist Juliana Koranteng is the London-based editor-in-chief of MediaTainment Finance - http://mediatainmentfinance.com - a business journal that keeps track of investments in the global media, entertainment and creative industries

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