September 2015 theme: The media

The media in its various forms (print, broadcast and online) has a vital role to play in spreading awareness of music and influencing public tastes. From songs played on radio charts and music videos on TV and online, to written interviews or profiles of artists and news of upcoming gigs published in newspapers and magazines, the music and media industries work hand in hand. With the rise of the internet, the importance of the media has only grown, to the point where one can first learn about an artist, then listen to a song, watch a video, and then even buy music, all on one’s mobile phone or computer.


Some parts of Africa are still synonymous with a lack of media freedom, however. While much has changed in recent years compared to the decades following independence, the African media is still sometimes restricted by government intervention or other corporate interests, which might influence what types of music are promoted and which artists are ‘silenced’. In the past few weeks, protests have erupted against the dominance of foreign music on local airwaves in countries like Gambia and Kenya, shining a spotlight on the role of the media in the music industry, and sparking widespread debate. Understanding the role of the media in music, both historical and contemporary, is therefore important in understanding and appreciating African music. For this reason, we have chosen the media as our theme for the month of September.

We have commissioned numerous overview texts on the subject, written by respected media experts from all over Africa, with plenty more to come as our coverage of the continent grows. These texts typically provide some historical background before giving details of the current status of the print, broadcast and online media in their respective countries – vital information for anyone wanting to understand the context in which today’s African music is created, disseminated and consumed.


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