Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
Social media has made it super easy for African artistes to showcase their talents to the world which is great improvement from the past whereby it was literally like a battleground for musicians and their live bands competing against each other to get their socially conscious music across to the audience. Afrobeat has more opportunities now to find global audiences thanks to the internet so artists can begin to make income from audio streaming. Nigerian artistes are securing international collaborations as they have started thinking beyond the Nigerian and African markets. Everyone from self-appointed (Ibile) local rappers or home-grown musicians are now looking towards internet as a means to interconnect and promote their music to the widest audience which gives them increased recognition for their work.
Born in 1938, Fela Kuti is without a doubt, the proponent of Afrobeat and he sang throughout the sixties and seventies with his band “Africa ‘70” before it changed to Egypt ‘80. His music was a drive against corruption, political injustice and social criticism thereby paving a way for social change without caring about the consequence. He strived to promote Afrobeat to the world. As penetration of smartphones rises in Nigeria, users are exposed to streaming, downloading and different ways of accessing music materials from anywhere with an internet connection.
Users no longer depend on CDs, radio or cassettes to consume music. Music lovers are increasingly spending more time on online music since nearly all tracks and videos are uploaded on the internet. According to a UK-based record company, Beggars Group, 20% of its revenue stems from new and emerging markets. For the first time, it is licensing music in Nigeria, Uganda and Angola according to the IFPI report. Now Afrobeat artists collaborate with other famous artistes from around the world. Dapo Oyebanjo more commonly known as D’banj launched his single, ‘Mr Endowed’ that featured Snoop Dog following which, American hip-hop icon, Kanye West signed him up. Kanye also made an appearance in D’banj’s ‘Oliver Twist’ video(2012).
Wizkid is another factor responsible for the change of Afrobeat on the international scene. The Ojuelegba songster featured on Drake’s single, ‘One Dance’ which included Afrobeat sounds. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 15 different countries, including the U.S, UK and Canada in 2016. Wizkid has collaborated with other international artistes such as Swiss Beatz, Future, Chris Brown, Wale, Trey Songz, French Montana, Justine Skye, Vybz Kartel, Tyga, Tinie Tempah and Skepta to name a few. Tiwa Savage, Mavin record songstress, signed a new deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in the US on July 28, 2016. She joins other popular artistes like Rihanna, J. Cole, Big Sean, Emeli Sande, Angie Martinez, DJ Khaled and Shakira who are current artists signed to the entertainment company. Read More