2021 has been an incredible and record-breaking year for the African music industry and we would all agree that African music has never been so popular around the world. After a global lockdown and a 2020 pandemic, we have seen the rise of musical talent across the continent, with renewed dynamism to set the tone for an active year.
The rise of modern technology, especially decent access to internet services and gadgets, has made Africa united in music. The Afrobeats, Congolese zouk and South African Amapiano, to name a few, have been the pinnacle of entertainment attention and musical success in Africa, and the world is taking note.
We are set to enter 2022, which means another year of opportunities for the music industry to show its strength after two years of taking on new challenges, transforming digital and exploring new ways. to coexist with the pandemic.
2021 in retrospect
African music streams and content reached an all-time high in 2021 across all streaming platforms. We saw Wizkid and Tems make history with Essence becoming the first Nigerian song to beat the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, as well as this record becoming Afrobeats’ first platinum record. CKay reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artist Chart due to his single Love Nwantiti. Olamide’s UY Scuti also hit 40 million streams in one month on Audiomack.
We’ve watched major digital streaming platforms including Audiomack, Apple, Spotify and Boomplay to name a few, expanding their catalogs with new record label licensing deals across multiple African territories. Additionally, we have seen several major record labels close deals with local record labels and music streaming companies as they strategically position themselves for a share of the growing music revenue in Africa.
In addition, several music companies and record labels have hired prominent African music executives and opened offices on the continent, while making deals. Earlier this year in the United States, Def Jam hired Nigerian Music Director Tunji Balogun to become their next CEO. With the growth of Afrobeats inside and outside the continent, we have seen more and more artists decide to take more control of their careers and sign with top distribution companies to become independent artists. .
With the world opening up this year, we’ve seen several African artists create larger-than-life performances around the world, such as Burna Boy headlining the Hollywood Bowl, Wizkid sold the 02 Arena in London and Burna Boy and Wizkid headlining the very first Lost. At the Riddim Afrobeats Festival in Sacramento, California.
With the boom in Afrobeats music and performance in the United States in 2021, Live Nation recently partnered with Duke Concepts to produce Afrobeats-focused tours nationwide in 2022. On that momentum, the African music community advance and more resources are allocated to the continent. in 2022, I do not see a decline for African music in the near future.
Outlook for 2022
2022 is set to be the most important year for the African music industry. With the growth of streams and the number of emerging artists going bankrupt in 2021, I see no limit to the impact the African music industry will have on a global scale. The new year is shaping up to be very promising musically speaking and it is important to ask: what awaits the music industry for the year to come?
- Increase in market share: The first big thing I predict in 2022 for the African music industry is that it will have the highest market share it has ever had in the world. The global explosion of the Afrobeats genre in particular has seen international superstars join forces with some of Africa’s most exciting artists and I see more international pop collaborations that will produce more chart-topping singles / albums and more records. of platinum from the mainland. We watched this with Justin Bieber, Wizkid and Tems and now we just got a new record from Fire Boy and Ed Sheeran. Additionally, we will see an increase in the number of African female artists topping the charts in 2022 as well as more female collaborations with international artists. Another key trend that I foresee that will help the African music market share to increase is an increase in African music syncs globally in games, TV shows and movies. Regarding the rise of African musical genres, we will see a strong rise in Amapiano’s power in the United States in 2022.
- Local investment by global players: The second thing I predict is that we will see more international record labels, touring companies, media and technology companies investing more resources such as capital and content on the continent. We will see these companies acquire or partner with local companies to expand their reach in the market, which will provide a more solid infrastructure for the entire African music community. We will see more and more companies establishing larger offices on the continent and hiring the best local executives to navigate the market. With these investments, we’ll see more original content from artists, bigger tours and festivals, more artists bringing their music to the world, and new ways for artists to connect directly with their fans.
- Increased revenue beyond recorded music: The third thing I predict is that the African music industry will generate more revenue than ever before outside of recorded music. African artists are untapped brands of the Fortune 500. We will see an increase in all touring African artists, more international partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, more NFT collaborations, and more artists creating and owning their own products versus partnering with another company. In 2022, Burna Boy will be the first African artist to headline New York’s Madison Square Garden. As New York is the media and brand capital of the world, this concert shows the world that African music is here, we have a large following, and if you want to be part of the influence to impact future generations, you must be in business with us.
With this momentum experienced by the African music community, as well as the increase in resources channeled to the continent in 2022 by various industry players, I do not see a decline for African music in the near future. On the contrary, 2022 promises to be a lot more exciting and we should prepare ourselves to experience the best of the African music industry.
Jason Johnson is Vice President of Marketing and Branding, Audiomack Africa