Nigerian rap superstar, MI Abaga, to give a keynote speech at the 2019 Africa Tech Summit, Kigali

  Ten companies from across the continent have been selected to pitch on stage
  • MI Abaga, the Nigerian rapper and CEO of record label Chocolate City, will give a keynote address at the 2019 Africa Tech Summit, Kigali
  • Entertainment and music are vital parts of several African cultures and economies, and will both feature prominently as themes at this year’s summit
  • The Africa Tech Summit Kigali will uncover the ongoing relationship with media and entertainment and the rise of technology on the continent

Entertainment and music are vital parts of several African cultures and economies, and will both feature prominently as themes at this year’s summit.

Digital platforms like Boomplay Music, Songa and Econet Group will also be a part of the conversations about the digital entertainment business over two days on February 14th-15th at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

In 2018, PwC’s ‘Entertainment and media outlook: 2018 - 2022: An African perspective’ report revealed that South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania will add $12.4 billion in E&M revenue from 2017 to 2022, at a combined CAGR of 11.9%. The growth of internet access is expanding the range of E&M opportunities available in Africa and telcos is said to be the key growth drivers in revenue. Additionally, Africa's high population and gradually increasing disposable income suggest there will be an increase in potential E&M consumers.

This shows that the entertainment and media industry provides a lucrative opportunity for investment. Global telecoms provider, Econet Wireless, through its subsidiary brand Econet Media, recently announced that it was reviewing its business strategy and service offerings to align with the changes in the digital and satellite sector.

The switch to digital streaming has led to the rise of African music streaming services such as Nigeria’s Boomplay Music, which offers streaming and downloading services to its 31 million users and 17 million monthly active users.

African legal downloading music sites are on the rise in Africa, thus providing another avenue for artists and record labels to generate revenue from their content. In 2017, Senegalese-American singer Akon purchased 50% of Africa’s first home-grown streaming platform for legal music downloads, Musik Bi. The Senegalese company, launched with a mission of promoting African artists and ensuring they are paid fairly. Their partnership with mobile operators enables music consumers to legally download music using their mobile phone credit.

Telcos and their many millions of customers are lucrative outlets for artists, and the MTN Music Plus service has become one of the largest revenue generators for Nigerian artists, in particular.

Another revenue generation streaming service is Songa, founded by Kenya’s Safaricom and launched in 2018. Limited to Safaricom's millions of subscribers, the app enables users to get local and international songs directly on their Android mobile phone, thus providing an additional revenue stream to Kenyan artists and increasing their earnings. Songa is not Safaricom's first involvement in the music industry; the company also launched Skiza Tunes, a ringback tone service that pays artists whenever a Safaricom subscriber chooses to use their song as a ringback tone.

A major challenge facing the music and entertainment across Africa is piracy. Whilst streaming platforms provide consumers easy access to music, it has also become a breeding ground for piracy. Whilst there are no concrete solutions to combat piracy. The situation is so widespread, that the New York Times exposed the Nigerian pirate music industry in 2017. For some artists looking to gain notoriety, having their music pirated isn’t a concern, as they just want their music & name to be “out there”; for others, who have overheads and entourages to pay for, the piracy industry is stifling their earnings.

The Africa Tech Summit Kigali will uncover the ongoing relationship with media and entertainment and the rise of technology on the continent. The summit holds over two days on February 14th-15th at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

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