The African music industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years due to a variety of factors, including collaborations with local and international artists, music streaming, and social media. However, only a select number of artists are enjoying this success, and many talented creators are still struggling to break through. This is why Spotify has launched Spotify Talks Africa, a video series that brings the continent’s music industry stakeholders together in conversation. 

Spotify Talks Africa is a forum for featured panelists to discuss the issues that the African music industry faces and the solutions needed to drive success among creatives. Central to this is how music streaming platforms like Spotify can contribute to this growth. The panelists are all from the industry. They include artists, producers, artist managers, and members of the Spotify Sub-Saharan Africa team, who talk about how streaming is used in the industry. 

Slated to be released quarterly, each video episode is themed around specific issues in the industry, ranging from how music streaming is keeping legacy acts alive to the lived experiences of women in music. 

In the first episode, Kenyan media personality Mariam Bishar talks with John Katana Harrison, the leader of the legendary band Them Mushrooms, Wangechi, a Kenyan rapper who just came back from a three-year break, and Monica Kemoli-Savanne, Spotify’s Artist & Label Partnerships Manager for East Africa. Their robust discussion touches on the exportation of music to new audiences, music royalties, the tools needed to grow as an artist, and the role technology play in all of this. 

Speaking on how streaming has changed the music industry, John Katana Harrison says “I think it’s a great thing, we are surprised now where people are listening to our music. It’s brought in a new avenue where music can be taken anywhere within the country and beyond.” 

“That’s why you do collaborations because then you hit the artist’s fanbase,” says Wangechi on the importance of collaborations. 

“I encourage artists to tap into their backend through Spotify for Artists and build their strategies around that data. You can see the demographic of who is listening to your music from age to gender and location,” adds Monica.

The industry is poised for even more growth and if Them Mushrooms are anything to go by, relevance and longevity can go hand in hand. Them Mushrooms’ participation in Spotify Talks is a part of a series of activities by Spotify to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary.

To watch the full conversation, go to spotifytalksafrica.byspotify.com

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