African Start Up

How to make it in Africa’s music industry

Story highlights

Experts offer advice on how to make it in music industry

Top tips include knowing audience and listening to fans

CNN  — 

Be it the Afrobeats of Nigeria’s Wizkid or the melodic pop of Kenyan songstress Dela, Africa’s diverse popular music scene is making noise across the continent and around the world like never before.

But what’s the secret to making it big in this vibrant, expanding industry both on the stage and behind the scenes? Money? Loyal fans? Or key knowledge of individual national markets and the trends that shape them?

Music business moguls Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo – founder and Chief Operating Officer of Nigerian record label Chocolatecity Music respectively – as well as industry experts and members of our audience shared their thoughts during a Twitter chat with CNN Africa.

Below is a selection of the advice offered up via the #AMM hashtag.

What are the three most important keys to success in the African music industry?

According to Okeugo, local knowledge and researching individual markets is key.

Meanwhile, Maikori stressed the importance of fostering a reliable team and maintaining motivation.

Read more: How South Africa became the center of the house music world

What is the one thing people often do wrong when starting a music-related business?

A big mistake many people make is not being strategic with what they are trying to achieve, according to Maikori and Okeugo.

Ensuring the honesty and originality of the music is also an important factor here.

This point was further emphasized by writer and music fan Hannah Ajala.

The MAPP Africa team – who manage a mobile app that promotes music, art, people and places in Africa and the diaspora – felt that fame and money distracted talented people from being successful.

What advice would you give to someone just starting a business in the African music industry?

Key advice here centered on the importance of differentiating between local markets and being aware of trends in different locales across the continent.

On top of this, Okuego highlighted the importance of not just limiting ambitions to audiences in Africa.

While Accenture consultant and music lover Nubi Kay stressed the importance of investing in your fans.

Read more: D’banj: How tragedy shaped the career of selfless star of Afrobeats

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned working in the music industry?

The importance of being passionate about what you do came up several times in answers to this question. Without passion, most felt that the hard work required wouldn’t be manageable.

What do you think will be different about the music industry in 10 years’ time?

A bright future for African music, believes Okeugo.

Others predicted fans would have more say over the way music is created and that technology would evolve to make this happen.

Meanwhile, African musician Nuru predicted brand partnerships with artists would become more common.

Read more: Dance until you break: Exploring Mozambique’s ‘Marrabenta’