The growing spread of technology and online means of entertainment has led to a lot of change in a number of industries globally, but perhaps none more so than in Africa. The African music and movie industries, along with other performing arts sectors, have seen huge boosts due to the entry of global players into local markets, and this has been largely made possible due to technology.
Three of the world’s largest record companies have entered Africa in the last four years. Warner Music Group, Sony Music and Universal Music Group have all set up African ventures in this time period, which has also led to more collaboration between African artists and international performers, as the demand for African music grows all over the world. African music genres, such as Afrobeats and African hip hop, have played a major role in the growth of African music and artists globally. The biggest example of this can be seen in the case of Wizkid, the Nigerian Afrobeats singer, who collaborated with Drake and British singer Kyla for the song ‘One Dance’ in 2016. That song became the first to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify, thus becoming the most streamed song on the platform, which it held for almost one year, and it was also in 1st place on Apple Music’s Top 25 charts. This shows the growth and reach that African music has been able to command over the last few years.
The events of this year have also played a big role in the popularity of these products and services. Online forms of entertainment have perhaps never been so popular and sought after, with many traditional brick and mortar industries going online as well. One of the biggest examples of this is the casino sector, where many operators now have websites which offer casino games for bitcoin, as one option. Such casinos which offer cryptocurrency options for payment have become very popular, as have more traditional casino websites, all due to the fact that land-based casinos are closed and so customers have been looking for alternatives for their usual entertainment options.
In terms of African music, other artists such as Nasty C, Davido, Mr Eazi and Burna Boy have all been doing well, with Burna Boy’s album ‘African Giant’ being nominated for Best World Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards recently. It is a similar story for other entertainment mediums as well, where Netflix is now available in all 54 African countries, for example. It even acquired the rights for Lionheart, a Nigerian film, back in 2018, making it the first original film from the Nigerian film industry to be included on Netflix’s library. The Nigerian film industry accounts for nearly 1.5% of the country’s GDP, and it is worth more than $7 billion. Projections by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggest that the export revenue from Nigeria’s film industry will reach $1 billion this year, with the spread of digital streaming cited as one of the big drivers of that growth. Netflix has been growing in Africa, with the premier of its first African series, Queen Sono, in February 2020. The six-episode series was written and directed by Kagiso Lediga, a South African comedian.
This growth is set to continue, with the increased penetration of internet on the continent. According to reports, 23% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), or nearly 240 million people, are regular internet users, which shows the scope for growth in just that region alone. Estimates are that an additional 167 million mobile subscribers will be added in the region by 2025, while the contribution of the internet to the overall GDP of Africa will grow by at least 6% by 2025, adding $300 billion, or 10% of the continent’s GDP.