From insightful sessions and workshops to excellent performances, get ready!

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1. Hear from some of Africa’s top artists

Mr Eazi is one of the top Afrobeats artists with a growing audience stretching well beyond his home country and continent. But he’s also making strenuous efforts to help the young African musicians behind him find success too, through his emPawa Africa talent incubator. In his Midem Africa keynote, he’ll be talking about globalising Afrobeats and empowering the next generation.

You’ll also be able to hear from Focalistic, the South African musician at the centre of the ‘Amapiano’ scene that has been making waves across the world, who will be in discussion at the event, presented by Africori. Another rising star from Africa (and a protégé of Mr Eazi) will be present for the Rising Stars of Nigeria: A Talk with Joeboy session, talking about his success so far.

You can also look forward to the combined wisdom of DJ Kampire and Nyege Nyege co-founder Derek Debru in their Behind the Scenes: The East African Underground session, presented by SoundCloud, which will offer a glimpse at the next generation of innovative artists from that part of the continent.


2. Get practical information with workshops and masterclasses

A strong theme at Midem Africa will be sessions focusing on practical knowledge and skills to grow your audience and/or business in Africa. Among the picks is the session on Nigeria, a growing market not to be missed with Horus Music, including speakers from Audiomack and TikTok. Another workshop on Distribution & Publishing: when worlds collide will be presented by Songtrust and FUGA, with a deep dive into key royalty streams in the digital age. Distribution will also be the focus for The Orchard’s Music Distribution in a Global Marketplace session, zeroing in on the African music landscape.

Further workshops include IDOL presents ART by Serge Ibaka, focusing on a specific project for the label services company; How to promote efficiently your project with innovative digital solutions with Klox Entertainment; Sheer Publishing and CD Baby’s session answering the question How do you get your music used in television, film and advertising?; and a SACEM-presented session explaining everything you need to know about collective management and digital rights in Africa.

Plus, with Spotify having expanded to dozens of African countries earlier this year, that streaming service will be offering a masterclass on its tools for artists, managers, songwriters and labels.


3. Understand how African music is travelling across the world

Africa’s music industries and digital ecosystems are thriving, and that is providing a platform for African artists to grow their audiences across the world. If you want to understand how those audiences are growing – and the demand for African music – MRC Data’s session on Africa’s Role in a Global Music Marketplace will be essential viewing. It will offer the latest stats on music trends in Africa itself, but also on fandom for its key genres globally in 2021.

Warner Music Group’s The Music Industry in Africa Today & Tomorrow keynote will also provide plenty of food for thought about how a global major label is approaching the African market: both in terms of its local strategy, and its plans to help artists find new audiences globally. Meanwhile, former Spotify exec Suhel Nafar – now working at pioneering music company EMPIRE – will be sharing his thoughts on The Afro Arab Sound, Supporting Creators & Making an Impact.


4. Supercharge your ambitions with Midem Africa’s Business Accelerators

Building on the practical skills offered in the workshops, Midem Africa will also have an excellent lineup of Business Accelerator sessions, designed to help turn music industry ambitions into reality. The How to Monetise your Music panel, in association with SmartistU and Synchtank, includes speakers from Patreon, PRS for Music and Downtown Music. Another, on Why Entourage is Key to Success, is presented by Women in Music, showing artists how to build a team around them. Speakers from Chocolate City Music, Talent Africa Group and Terazo New Media will be on hand to give advice.

Meanwhile, there are Business Accelerator sessions on How to Promote your Music, in association with Fanbase Academy and OkayAfrica, and How to Leverage Business Opportunities with Bridges for Music and Pulse. Overall it’s a toolkit that should give viewers some useful ideas for how to step things up for their music activities in the coming year.


5. Midem Africa’s deep dive into the Jerusalema phenomenon

One of the breakout African music tracks in recent years was ‘Jerusalema’ by Master KG featuring Nomcebo. Coming from South Africa, the single went viral in 2020, complete with the #JerusalemaChallenge catching fire on apps like TikTok, and topped the charts in a number of European countries. But how did it happen? Midem and Telma are presenting a case study of the phenomenon, where the key participants – including Nomcebo Zikode – will talk about how ‘Jerusalema’ took the world by storm.

WP Africa

6. Exhilarating concert performances

Midem Africa may be taking place online, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on music performances – even if we’re dancing at our desks rather than in physical venues. Among the artists strutting their stuff in the Midem Africa exclusive showcases: Bez Idakula, FOKN Bois, HHY & The Kampala Unit; Jay Mitta feat Anti-Vairas & MC Kidene; Mike Kayihura; Mpho Sebina; Rouge Wedi; Siti and the Band Zanzibar; Wamwiduka Band and Willy Cardiac.

The event will also see a concert, Les révélations des Jeux de la Francophonie, with a wonderful lineup of francophone women artists: CelenaSophia from Belgium, Fanie Fayar from Congo and Moonaya from Senegal.

Some of the most exciting emerging artists from Africa will also be showing off their talent at the Digital Emerging Artists Showcases, presented by Hitlab. Identified by the company’s AI-powered talent-spotting tech, four artists will be performing for the Midem Africa audience. Finally, to cap things off, Midem Africa’s closing party comes courtesy of Abidjan’s La Sunday, with Ivorian star Widgunz among the featured artists.


7. Meeting people is easy, even online!

Midem Africa is not just about conference sessions and music performances, of course. Networking is also a key facet of the event, with official sessions designed to help likeminded people meet and discuss their plans. Those session topics include making the most out of your catalogue; touring in Africa; market your music; and streaming and artist services companies. Plus with more than 12,000 Midem international delegates registered on the platform, you’ll be able to organise your own meetings too, forging new connections even without in-person proximity.

About Author

Stuart Dredge is a freelance journalist, and a regular contributor to Music Ally, The Observer and more... including midemblog :)

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