- Tech Safari
- African content is taking over the globe 🌍
African content is taking over the globe 🌍
It's showtime for African Creators ✨
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Today we’re diving into Africa’s Creator Economy. This was a super fun article to write.
So fun that (with the help of the Safari Club) I made an accompanying Afrobeats playlist to listen to.
But before we kick off!
Our last event of the year is next Wednesday in Nairobi and there’s a bunch happening:
Alright! It’s time to dive into Africa’s Creator Economy.
Hit ‘play’ on that playlist ▶️
Content is the new gold, and creators are digging.
And across Africa, this plane is taking off
African content is taking over the world right now.
And it’s kickstarting a vibrant creator army across the continent.
This army has writers, filmmakers, music artists, YouTubers, and anyone who creates and shares stuff online (cough cough yours truly).
And all these guys are pumping into African economies.
Take Nigeria, which is currently Africa’s biggest digital market.
And who do we thank for this?
Smartphones and the Internet 🤳🏾
By 2030, this could reach 87%.
The internet and smartphone combo has unlocked a new channel for content across Africa: Social media.
And local opportunity is massive: over 300 million people under 30 who consume music and content.
African creators are all over platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. And they’re using them for three things:
To tell the African story
To build their brands
And make money doing it
Take TikTok for example.
It's become the new hit factory for African tunes, thanks to viral dance challenges keeping everyone on their feet.
It's become the new hit factory for African tunes - thanks to dance challenges keeping creators and tiktok-ers on their feet.
And South Africa’s hitmaker Tyla knows a thing or two about going viral.
Her song 'Water' blew up on TikTok in August - when Tyla started a dance challenge and did the whole water-pouring thing to match the lyrics.
TikTok users turned the viral ‘Water Challenge’ into some sort of movement.
Last month, the #TylaWater and #TylaWaterChallenge tags hit 448.6 million views.
And voila - the song copped her a Grammy nomination just three years into her music career, at the age of 21.
It’s not just TikTok though.
YouTube is another big boss of African content.
Wode Maya: Africa’s biggest YouTuber
Last year, this guy became Ghana’s first YouTuber to hit 1 million subscribers.
But in 2017, he was studying aircraft engineering in China.
And facing racial discrimination, he began creating videos to share his experiences as an African living in China.
One of his viral videos shows him on a public train, noticeably avoided by other passengers.
Following his dad's advice, he started creating content in Chinese to show off the sides of Africa that people rarely see.
Wode Maya returned to Ghana and hopped on a $5,000 tour around Africa.
He started with Rwanda.
And when he did this video of him eating while sitting in a (clean) gutter in Kigali, his channel blew up.
In just a month, he gained over 50,000 new subscribers.
And today, he's well past a million.
YouTube pays him a cool $20,000 to $50,000 a month.
And last year, he won the online creator of the year award.
It's a lot for a journey that began with just a phone.
Creators like Wode Maya are killing it by sharing untold African stories.
They're showing that content creation can be a real career path for Africa’s booming population.
And it’s not just Africa’s YouTube content selling. Africa has another huge cultural export:
Just a decade back, African music didn’t quite have global momentum.
At best, we had Shakira telling us It’s Time for Africa in a song called Waka Waka..
But in 2023, Afrobeats, born in the heart of West Africa, is dominating dancefloors.
One would think most Afrobeats streams come from West Africa - but Spotify tells us that the US and the UK actually out streams Nigeria.
Afrobeats is having a big, global moment right now.
And Western music stars want in on the fun.
A remix of Rema's ‘Calm Down’ featuring Selena Gomez has become one of the hottest Afrobeats tracks ever.
It's stacked 698 million views.
And Rema has gone from strength to strength, performing at the Qatar World Cup, Ballon d'Or, and touring the globe.
And these African artists aren’t just getting famous; they're stacking some serious cash too.
One artist has shown us the heights of Africa’s creator economy. Lets look at the business behind:
Burna Boy: The African Giant
Ever since he dropped his 2019 album dubbed ‘African Giant’, that name has stuck.
And frankly, he's not only a giant in music but quite the towering figure too.
Since starting his music career in 2010, he’s released seven albums with some serious bangers: ‘Last Last’, Alone, ‘Plenty’, ‘City Boys,’ and ‘On The Low’.
So where’s the money at?
According to Google, Burna Boy's net worth is around $26 million. But in this interview, he admits the estimation is way off.
And we can see some signs.
His best-performing song Last Last, has sold more than 1 million copies in the US alone.
But Afrobeats artists like him don’t work alone.
Beyond the artists and producers, Africa's music scene has created a whole bunch of jobs.
Like graphic designers, mixing engineers, marketers, entertainment lawyers, and accountants.
It’s significant. And the local opportunity is huge.
In September, I was at the Kauffman Fellows VC Summit in Nairobi. And you know who pulled up?
Mr Eazi, one of Nigeria's biggest music sensations and an investor in Africa’s creator economy.
He summed up Africa’s creator potential perfectly: as a valued export commodity.
And the local opportunity is huge: in Africa, there are 300 million people under the age of 30 who consume this music and content.
But the message isn’t getting through.
In 2019, African entertainment companies got a mere $22 million, a tiny 1.1% of the investment in African startups.
As the funding winter eases though, we're hoping more funding goes to African creator companies and the creators themselves.
Which African creators do you think deserve a shout out? Let me know on LinkedIn here.
And did you like the playlist? Let me know 🎼
And that's a wrap for this week!
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