The entertainment industry in Africa, especially music and movie, present enormous investment opportunities.
However, it’s still difficult to make investors understand why they need to focus attention also on the entertainment industry on the continent. Mostly, foreign investors looking to invest in Africa are mainly looking at sectors like agriculture and agro-processing, mining, energy, technology, construction, etc.
“Many investors and financial institutions don’t understand the business of music and as a result, are unable to properly fund musicians,” award-winning Nigerian musician, Mr. Eazi, says in 2020 as he launched a $20 million fund to invest in Africa’s stars of the future.
Of course, there are few foreign investors now tapping into the entertainment industry in Africa and investing in this sector.
Between March 2020 and December 2022, I worked with an entertainment news website, which has Instagram, Facebook and Twitter handles on which my Whatsapp contact was placed. And on a daily basis, I was receiving loads of messages from young artists from all over Africa who wanted help to either promote their music, record new songs or shoot music videos for their new songs. I received loads of demos from underground artists from Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, etc., with all of them asking for one thing, investment support to advance their careers. Not only music, but I was also being contacted by young men and women who were looking for opportunities to become actors and actresses, asking whether we could invest in their talents or manage them.
My working experience in the entertainment space over the period, made me realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of young people roaming the streets across the continent; whom when given the opportunity and necessary investment support, could become the future stars of Africa in particular, and the world in general.
Historically, Africa as a continent has experienced less interest as a market-pool for the global music and movie industries. But in recent years, the narrative has changed. The rise of Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tems, Davido, Rema, Ghana’s Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Black Sherrif, King Promise, and Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz, among others, on the global music scene, has contributed immensely to changing the narrative and rewriting the African music story at the world stage.
Afrobeats, a new music genre originating from Ghana and Nigeria in 2010, described as the ‘new oil of Africa’ because of its potential to generate wealth for the continent and its young music talents, has sold the continent’s music industry to the rest of the world. Music today, is rewriting the destinies of several African youth. Young people from poor backgrounds like Ghana’s music trio Fameye, Quamina MP and Kofi Mole, are today hitting the limelight and becoming breadwinners for their families, and contributing their quota to the continent’s development.
And it is not only music that is rewriting the story of African youth, moving them from grass to grace, but the entire entertainment industry, is affording many more young people the opportunity to excel in life, thanks to advancement in technology, especially the introduction of streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ShowMax etc., which are providing opportunities for entertainers in Africa to sell their crafts to a global market.
Touching on the huge impact the advancement in technology is having on marketing African music and movie to the rest of the world, Jonathan Jules, Senior Director of international marketing with EMPIRE, says “In the age of TikTok and Triller, we’re seeing 12, 13-year-old white girls in Yorkshire dancing to Afrobeats. There was always a love for it.”
EMPIRE, an American music company known for their work with artists such as T-Pain, Cardi B, and Kendrick Lamar, are already spending massively on African musicians.
But there is still room for Africans in the diaspora and people from around the world to consider exploiting investment opportunities in the entertainment industry in Africa.There are opportunities to invest in underground artists to expand their music careers. There are opportunities to invest in setting up modern recording studios, to set up management firms to manage artists. There are opportunities to set up movie production houses, to finance the production of authentic afro-centric movies for the global market.
Reasons to invest in the continent’s creative folks
Across Africa today, music streaming platforms are on the increase. According to the GSMA which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, the number of smartphone connections in Africa reached 302 million in 2018; this will rise to nearly 700 million by 2025, an adoption rate of 66%. Widespread smartphone usage across Africa will increase revenue per stream, platform subscriptions and music video views.
It has to be noted that investing in growing the music and movie industries in underdeveloped African countries can give people hope and an opportunity to pull them out of poverty. It has been stated in the past that a significant number of musicians, actors and actresses do not reach their goals because they lack the proper team or funding to continue careers. It is therefore imperative to state that proving funding to improve the development of the entertainment industry will give communities a chance to prosper.
Music and film are key driving factors to economic growth and development. A well developed entertainment sector can create a multitude of jobs from , directors, dancers, managers, set designers, publicists, among others.
Investing in managing musicians, actors and actresses can result in other business activities, including brand deals. Musicians, actors and actresses could stand the chance of partnering with product companies, clothing companies, social media, among others, to promote themselves and other businesses.
In conclusion, I must state that investing in the creative arts industry in Africa is not risk-free. There are young talents with no clear business plan, no clear vision as to where they want to take their craft, and lack the right strategies to properly position and market themselves. But aside that, the industry is still worth investing in because examples abounds that investing in the industry has the potential to pay off. The likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Tems, Ayra Starr, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Gambo, Diamond Platnumz, and Rayvanny, are all testaments to the fact that investment in the entertainment industry in Africa is a worthwhile financial decision.
(Writer’s email: [email protected])