Not only has Africa’s music industry continued to grow at a steady and consistent rate, but it has also become one of the the top rated music industries in the world. From battling issues of piracy to gaining international recognition, African artistes now serve as the foundation upon which many music businesses are built. Digital transformation has played a very vital role in the industry’s success.
Recently, two of Africa’s most popular musicians won the world’s most prestigious music award, the Grammy Awards. Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, also known as Burna Boy won an award in the Global Music Album category for his album Twice As Tall, while Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun-Wizkid won a joint award in the Best Music Video category for Brown Skin Girl. This makes them the first Nigerians to have ever won a Grammy.
In a chat with Lead Digital Strategist and Talent Business Consultant, Joseph Eshio Oghanyan we discussed the impact of digital transformation on Africa’s music industry and what the future holds for the continent.
Ventures Africa (VA): The music industry is an interesting field to work in. Briefly tell us about yourself and what you do as a Talent Consultant.
Joseph Eshio Oghanyan (JEO): I am Joseph Eshio Oghanyan, a Lead Digital Strategist and a Talent Business Consultant.
As a Talent Business Consultant, my job is to properly guide music artists on ways to get better results in their careers. I also work on Digital presence for them across the board.
VA: What is your stance on the digital transformation of African music?
JEO: The transformation of our African Music has been tremendous, I remember listening to tapes and having a walkman as a device. I honestly feel we have not even scratched the surface of what Digital can do for our content here in Africa.
The best part is we are moving to a more advanced Digital space where the field will be leveled and our content will get to more parts of the world.
VA: Not everyone is aware of the potential digital platforms provide for African music. Can you explain briefly the importance of having songs on streaming platforms?
JEO: There are several reasons why your songs should be on content streaming platforms.
1 – You generate money from streams.
2 – There’s visibility on your brand and your music.
3 – Your content will create more opportunities in terms of endorsements, record deals, etc.
4 – When your content does well, it introduces fans from all different parts of the world then you can tour the world and put smiles on their faces.
5 – It solidifies your stance in the music scene.
The opportunities are endless.
VA: In your experience on the job, what digital platforms are the best to build a larger fan base?
JEO: To build a larger fanbase, I strongly recommend you create a landing page (website) for your brand. It serves as a hub for all your streaming platforms.
Picture this, you have fans on iTunes, Audiomack, Spotify, Youtube Music, Deezer, Boomplay, Tidal, to name a few.
Your fans stream your music and it ends there. BUT imagine you create a website where you can reach out to them on a personal basis, giving them updates and plans. This way you will convert passive fans to active fans.
VA: How has music as a business affected the passion put into it?
JEO: Music as a Business looks out for how talents will grow, make more money and reach out to a new audience. This reality creates a certain level of pressure for talents to go after popular demand and not sounds they really want to create.
There are levels to this and the music business can still cater for their passion. There are millions of listeners from different parts of the world, there is a fan waiting to hear your truth. I advise music artists to create sounds they can sustain and evolve with.
VA: In your opinion, what role do you think digital transformation played in the success of Wizkid and Burna Boy at the Grammy Awards?
JEO: The growth of the music industry and Digital Media contributed to establishing a global presence for both artists. Both brands have over the years solidified their sounds and persona making it a no-brainer when they were nominated and announced winners eventually.
Trust me, this is just the start for our industry, there are lots of winners here.
VA: What are the biggest challenges music businesses still face when trying to go into the digital space?
JEO: One of the major challenges they face is getting numbers on their streaming platforms and digital accounts. Most of the time, they settle for vanity metrics just to keep up with the business.
Getting their content to reach their intended audience is a challenge.
VA: Five years from now, what do you think will be the biggest digital trend in the African music industry?
JEO: I believe we’ll have our own streaming platforms, social media apps and our own music awards like The Headies will be on the global stage. Content penetration will lead to international collaboration making it easier for a level playing field.
The world is watching.
VA: What are the opportunities the digital market opens to both startups and established music businesses?
JEO: The fact that content from any talent can get to fans from all parts of the world is just amazing. We’ve all been presented with equal opportunities to do more with digital.
The strategy behind the business is what makes the difference. Before you release, plan backward.
VA: As a final take away, the African music industry is going digital, what resources or platforms do you advise our audience to invest in?
JEO: I advise we look into investing and building platforms to monetize our content. Create our own eco-system that allows content creators to win regardless.
I’ve got a few projects that’ll solve these problems and I know there is a lot of work to do, I am on the journey.
As said earlier on, the opportunists are endless only for those who see and take it. There are several cases of African artistes whose success in the music industry solely comes from the digital footprint they created for themselves as a brand.
The African music industry is growing at a fast pace, and digitization is playing a prominent role in the growth. For music businesses and artistes, digital transformation cannot be downplayed in pushing both their craft and business to the international market.