Over the past 3 years, music trends have greatly shifted to mirror the globalisation of culture, business and people. A movement propelled by the internet; cultural practices of almost every country are discoverable and platforms like YouTube allow a young music or dance lover in the most remote part of England or America to have a birds-eye-view of the most popular artist, music or dance style from a remote part of say Nigeria or South Africa.
However this has not seemingly had an effect on what music circulates in the two most important music industry charts (USA – Billboard 100 & UK – Top40 Chart). There have been a few number ones by artists of african heritage but the tracks that make are westernised in production and style, which raises the question, ‘Is there room for African music in these charts?’.
As a producer who has worked on Global chart hits I look forward to bringing our cultural heritage to the western charts as I feel its important to have a representation of where we come from in the music the world at large listens to. I felt particularly good to see an African rock the western charts with a sound and flavour from the motherland in the form of D’Banj – Oliver Twist & Fuze ODG – Antenna in the western charts.
There is a long list of artist in Africa making musical strides; from P-Square, Banky W, WizKid, Iyanya, Timaya, Tiwa Savage, Sarkodie and many more that I have not mentioned by name, but they are yet to penetrate the western market and circulate in the western charts and 3 key reasons they are yet to do so spring to mind:
Global Production Practices
There are strong similarities in the recording, mixing and mastering styles in African music. For instance melodic lines are repetitive, verses are often catchier than choruses, there is often a heavy use of auto tune and each new release pays homage to the last making it seem like the artist is trying to garner the same success using the same sound. When trying to penetrate the western market is important to keep an eye on what their practices are and see what can be learnt and adapted.
Official Chart Company Standards
The OCC regulates and enforces certain standards from master length, quality and press style. Without meeting this standard your song is not eligible for the western charts. Often African management companies and record label neglect to consider these standards when working on a project.
It is important to implement a number of different elements into your communication strategy and marketing strategy in order to raise the profile of your artist’s project and your artist’s brand as a whole. From key collaborations with top artists and producers to a strong social media marketing campaign. It all plays a major part in the success of your artist and project
I will delve more into these elements and blog about how to penetrate the western market and give insight on what record labels and management companies in Africa can capitalize on with on their project.
Till next time,
Make your sound count