Africa’s Music Industry on Display in Nairobi


The state of the music industry in Africa will come into focus when some of the industry’s major players converge in Nairobi next week.

For three days, top international artists, producers, concert promoters and journalists from more than 50 countries will be in Nairobi for the second edition of the Music In Africa Conference for Collaboration, Exchange and Showcases, ACCES 2018.

“ACCES stands out as the only event of its kind that is able to move to a different Africa city every year,” explains Eddie Hatitye, director of Music In Africa Foundation.

“It is the only music industry event that has a specific focus on the entire African continent and not just a region,” he adds.

Hatitye who is based in Johannesburg says that the profile of the ACCES delegation is high profile and experienced and eager to create synergies in the host country.


The event that runs from November 15 to 17 at the Kenya National Theatre and other venues around the city, features exhibitions, performances, training workshops, panel discussions, networking sessions and visits to major music industry hubs.

The first edition of ACCES last November brought together almost 500 musicians, producers, record executives and other industry professionals to Dakar, Senegal.

Senegalese icon, Baaba Maal, one of the best-known musicians the continent delivered the keynote address at last year’s ACCES. Kenyan artist, Eric Wainaina, will perform that role at this year’s event.

“Kenya is a supremely rich melting pot of many music styles across the region and Africa as a whole,” says Hatitye in response to why his organisation settled on the choice of Nairobi as the venue.

He says the organisers were also attracted by the rapidly growing urban music scene in Nairobi that brings together a fusion of traditional formats together with contemporary styles, from electronic music to hip-hop.

“All this makes for a perfect venue for ACCES. We are confident that delegates from across the globe will find it enjoyable to navigate into Kenya and its music scene,” says Hatitye.

The event starts with an opening night of performances at the main theatre showcasing the best in contemporary Kenyan music headlined by Winyo, Eric Wainaina, Maia von Lekow and Johnstone Mukabi.

The management of artists has transformed in a global and cross-border industry, giving birth to a new generation of music entrepreneurs.

British music industry executive, Rikki Stein, who was the manager of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti from 1983 to the musician’s death in 1997, will be reflecting on his long experience to discuss these changes in music management. Stein, who has arranged and presented concerts and tours for artists around the world, will be speaking in Nairobi alongside Cameroonian musician and entrepreneur Blick Bassy.

The panel discussions will be based on some of the critical opportunities and challenges in the music industry in Africa.

Why, for instance, are the continent’s royalty collections reportedly less than one per cent of the global collections? How has the rapidly growing digital market added to the challenges facing copyright holders.

Edward Sigei, executive director Kenya Copyright Board and Nothando Migogo CEO Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) will be in a panel that shares ideas on how musicians and other creators can promote and protect their rights to ensure fair remuneration in a globalised world.

Streaming is now the most popular medium for consuming music globally and African entrepreneurs have developed their home-grown platforms to rival international players like Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music.

The penetration of smart phones in Africa is also presenting the continent’s musicians greater opportunities to reach a global audience.

Shyqo Koinange who is the head of music of the popular Kenyan Mdundo music service, David Alexander of Sheer Publishing and Gillian Ezra from Deezer (South Africa) will discuss the streaming industry in Africa.

A separate presentation by Yoel Kenan founder and CEO of Africori (South Africa) will identify a multitude of options that are now available to artists and labels on global music distribution and available business models for African artists.

Two of Kenya’s leading producers/sound engineers, Eric Musyoka of Decimal Records and Tim Rimbui will combine their talents and experience with Nick Loder from the UK for a workshop on music production essentials.

The closing night will be performances by Ugandan singer Suzan Kerunen, Siti and the Band from Zanzibar, Nigerian saxophonist Seun Olota and Kenyan performer Makadem.