International Companies Are Taking Note of Africa's Music, Artists

    25 July 2022

    International media and music companies want to sell products from Africa's music market.

    African music is increasingly popular on the internet and on smartphones in places far outside of Africa.

    Companies are noticing a worldwide interest in African music. The company Universal Music Group launched Virgin Music Africa Label & Artist Services in June. It aims to support independent African music recording companies, often called labels, and artists.

    FILE - Singer Youssou N'Dour performs during the Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas festival in New York June 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo)
    FILE - Singer Youssou N'Dour performs during the Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas festival in New York June 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo)

    The service will digitize music catalogues, or collections of songs coming from the same owner, that are no longer available to buyers. The company aims to expand into the growing market for African sounds.

    The interest from international companies is growing as African artists become the main performers at international music events like festivals and concerts. Festivals include Afro Nation in Portugal and Africolor in France. African musical forms such as Afrobeat, Rhumba, and Amapiano are topping popular music lists, known as charts.

    Franck-Alcide Kacou is managing director of Universal Music Africa and the new Virgin Music Africa Label. He said it has over 15,000 music titles — or songs. Kacou added that it has 50 partner labels and around 100 artists from 25 countries.

    The artists include Senegal's M'balax maestro Youssou Ndour, Congo's Lokua Kanza, Magic System from Ivory Coast and Cabo Snoop from Angola.

    Kacou said that the service will digitize and make available African music currently in music media like vinyl, cassette, or CD. The aim is to reach younger listeners.

    Kacou told Reuters that "It's a real opportunity for countries that are also experiencing this digital transformation."

    He said the service will support independent labels who are looking for a wider network.

    Kacou said finding a producer in Africa and making cultural works available is a "real challenge" for many artists. He added that most artists do not receive a fair amount of money for their musical works.

    I'm Anna Mateo.

    Loucoumane Coulibaly reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.


    Words in This Story

    digital – adj. using or characterized by computer technology

    opportunity – n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

    transformation – n. a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance or form

    challenge – n. a difficult task or problem: something that is hard to do