Digital music forecasts for Africa: 6 things that are likely to happen in 2017

For the digital music ecosystem to grow in Africa, the continent needs a faster smartphone penetration rate and possibly a drop in data prices. Alternatively, data-providing companies can come up with models that have data plans that could allow music-lovers to access digital music from African artists for free. The African music industry is still relatively small if compared to the music industries in the West.

We have compiled a list of six-forecasts of what is likely to happen in digital music in Africa.

  1. More artists are going to see the need for being digital savvy. The internet opens up a world of information and further confirms the fact that we’re in the information age. With that being said, we predict a rise in the number independent artists and smarter artists that know how to leverage the power of the internet.
  2. Social media is going to be a driving force for the push in digital music in Africa. Africa has about 146 million Facebook users. Facebook is the biggest social network in Africa and it will play a vital role in assisting artists and record labels in distributing their music.
  3. A slow but necessary shift from digital downloads to streaming. There has been a global drop in digital downloads as the world moves towards streaming where the algorithm rules and curates playlists for music lovers online. The paid streaming space is currently dominated by Spotify, but there are African alternatives like Simfy Africa and Spinlet, just to name a few.
  4. African record labels are going to forced to be more lean. Let’s face it, the internet moves faster than us. Moments are created and shared online every minute and with the massive amounts of content being published online, how does one know when to publish content? For record labels to ensure that they don’t lose money and they actually make some money in the tough digital climate, they have to be lean. More African record labels are going to start realise that they need to be more organised, have processes and systems.
  5. More African artists are going to start using Bandcamp and iTunes to monetize their music. The need to monetize the content that artists create is growingly rapidly. With drop in physical copy sales, independent artists and record labels are looking for new ways to distribute their music.
  6. More artist-led movements which don’t have a middleman. These days, all you need to make music is a laptop and a few other pieces of equipment and you’re good to go. Building a decent website that is going to act as your digital showroom is not that expensive and quite fairly affordable for artists. We’re going to see more artists that know how to build teams that can handle PR, physical and digital music distribution and digital marketing. 2017 is going to be the year of artist-led movements.

Africa is developing at an incredibly fast pace with countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa leading some of these developments. When speaking of digital music, you can look forward to seeing the 6 forecasts listed above as 2017 progresses.

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About Author

Nkululeko Nkosi Creative entrepreneur, self-starter and writer are some of the words you can use to describe me. Inspired by the grit, rawness and passion you often find in underground and alternative culture. Based in the greatest city in Africa, Johannesburg.


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