Music Week Africa (MWA) - a pan-African, week-long series of events designed to explore and promote all aspects of the music industry’s diverse ecosystem - was launched recently in Lagos by Audu Maikori, former president of Nigerian record label Chocolate City. Scheduled for March 2016, the annual event aims to explore the facets of the music industry, enable individuals and companies involved in the industry to establish networks, encourage investment and educate policy makers about the industry.
The African music landscape has grown significantly in the past few years, and the industry has the potential to do much more. MWA will bring together key stakeholders to start the conversation about enabling sustainable growth in the entertainment industry across the continent. It will be made up of exhibitions, product launches, workshops, investor clinics, product launches, country showcases and more. Not to be confused with the African Music Week (AMW) in Canada, Music Week Africa is a first-of-its-kind international conference that explores the entire music landscape for Africa.
Maikori said the first edition, themed "The African music business is now open for business”, is targeted at three of the continent’s big players in the music industry: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Nigeria’s entertainment and media market is one of the fastest-growing in the world. By 2019, it is expected to be more than twice as big as it is now, with estimated total revenue of over US$8billion. South Africa’s entertainment and media market, meanwhile, continues its rapid growth and is set to reach over $12billion by 2019, while Kenya’s entertainment and media market is set to surpass $3billion in 2019.
The creative, business, supporting technology, music policies, trends and growth sectors are all covered by various players in the music space across Africa. Music Week Africa has already collaborated with over 20 partners, including local and international content providers, copyright bodies, policy makers, NGOs and production houses - all underlining the importance of the entertainment industry as a key driver of economic growth and development and the need for collaboration amongst key stakeholders in the industry.
Speaking at the recent launch, MWA founder Audu Maikori said: “The impact on digital marketing, promotion sales, performances and publicity is changing the way artists ,brands as well as record labels are conducting business all across the world. Africa is no different, the creatives, business of entertainment, supporting technology, music policies, trends and growth sectors are all covered by respective players in the music space across various countries in Africa and need to work together to put African entertainment businesses on a competitive level playing field and become fully integrated into the global economy.”
Raoul Sawhney, MWA's Finance & Technology Director, said: “It is only now, aided by digital technology, that Africa’s insurmountable influence on world music is getting recognition and traction. The industry is primed for growth and MWA’s role is to provide robust knowledge of the music industry and well as create a platform that highlights the inherent opportunity and value across the African entertainment business. The combination of music, arts and entertainment and the adoption of technology now make Africa the next frontier for new talent and sound. The conditions are right, now, and the African entertainment industry is officially open for business.”
Lee Kasumba, MWA's Director; added: "There is a need for an international conference that will connect the African music ecosystem through a series of events, discussions and policy engagements to drive industry growth."
Present at the launch were Professor Pat Utomi (Chairman of the board of MWA), Henry Bassey (Team Lead/Director of MWA), Deji Awokoya (Megaletrics), Tony Ibeziako (Nigerian Stock Exchange), Ojoma Ochai (British Council Nigeria), Colette Otosesho (Viacom Nigeria) and representatives from media outfits.