International companies take note of African music and artists

International media and music companies want to sell products from the African music market.

African music is increasingly popular on the Internet and on smartphones in places far from Africa.

Companies are noticing global interest in African music. Universal Music Group launched Virgin Music Africa Label & Artist Services in June. It aims to support independent African music recording companies, often called labels, and artists.

The service will digitize music catalogs or song collections from the same owner that are no longer available to buyers. The company aims to expand into the growing African sounds market.

Interest from international companies is growing as African artists become the main performers at international music events such as festivals and concerts. Festivals include Afro Nation in Portugal and Africolor in France. African musical forms such as Afrobeat, Rhumba and Amapiano top popular music lists, known as charts.

Franck-Alcide Kacou is managing director of Universal Music Africa and the new label Virgin Music Africa. He said he had over 15,000 music tracks – or songs. Kacou added that it has 50 partner labels and around 100 artists from 25 countries.

Franck-Alcide Kacou, managing director of Universal Music Africa and Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in Africa, displays Virgin Music Africa’s African catalog on a computer screen in his office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 29 June 2022. (REUTERS/Luc Gnago )

Artists include Senegalese M’balax maestro Youssou Ndour, Congolese Lokua Kanza, Magic System from Ivory Coast and Cabo Snoop from Angola.

Kacou said the service will digitize and make available African music currently on musical media like vinyl, cassette or CD. The aim is to reach young listeners.

Kacou told Reuters that “it’s a real opportunity for countries that also know this digital transformation.”

He said the service would support independent labels that are looking for a wider network.

Kacou said finding a producer in Africa and making cultural works available is a “real challengefor many artists. He added that most artists do not receive a fair amount of money for their musical works.

I am Anna Mateo.

Loucoumane Coulibaly reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

digital – adj. using or characterized by computer technology

opportunity – nm a time frame or situation in which something can be done

transformation – nm a complete or major change in the appearance or form of someone or something

challenge – nm a difficult task or problem: something difficult to do

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