Updated Aug 9, 2018

The African music industry is gaining global interest

Nigerian musician Tiwa Savage during an announcement about the Global Citizen Festival on July 09, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Masi Losi/Sowetan/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Los Angeles–based Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company, opened a new office in Nigeria in July, in the hopes that the next "Despacito" might come from Africa. Since January, Universal also acquired a Kenyan record label and expanded its live music business, while Spotify launched in South Africa in March.

The big picture: Africa is the youngest continent in the world, with 70% of people under the age of 30, and Nigeria is the most populous nation on the continent with a population of 180 million. Using social media, from YouTube to Twitter, African musicians are gaining continental and global recognition. Industry giants are taking notice.

Internet access and the spread of mobile technology continue to increase digital music consumption. In Sub-Saharan Africa, unique mobile subscriber penetration reached 44% by the end of 2017, up from just 25% at the start of the decade. In 2016, streaming revenue grew by 334.2% in South Africa. African youth are also supporting a growing live music business.

The exploding popularity of African artists has prompted a rise in transatlantic musical collaborations. Nigerian artist Tiwa Savage’s collaboration with Fantasia, for example, earned a Grammy nomination in 2010, and WizKid’s feature on Drake’s “One Dance” led to a multi-album worldwide deal with RCA Records of Sony Music International.

Yes, but: Because of weak legal protections for intellectual property and widespread piracy, capturing value in Africa’s less-developed music markets is challenging. With the shift to streaming business models, the ability to effectively license audio, performance rights, songwriting and branding is increasingly important.

The bottom line: Nigeria is no longer a source for just oil in the global market. The creative industries contribute over $7 billion to Nigerian GDP, with the music industry alone expected to be worth $73 million in the next few years. Accordingly, U.S. entertainment companies will be increasingly active in Nigeria, and in African markets more generally.

Aubrey Hruby is a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council's Africa Center.

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.