Paris, 22 May 2018 – As part of Midem’s new High-Potential Markets Programme, the first four-day Midem African Forum will take place during next month’s music industry event, putting the spotlight on the continent’s vibrant musical potential. The Midem African Forum is organised in association with the French rights collection agency SACEM, and TRACE, the leading pan-African music media network.

Ahead of the main event in June, the Midem African Forum recently held a series of industry events across four African countries – Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, and Republic of the Congo – to support the structuring of the continent’s music industry, stimulate discussions between African and international music stakeholders, and develop sustainable business models for African labels and artists in order to boost African music on a local and international scale.

The series of one-day events included conferences, workshops and showcases attended by over 400 industry professionals representing labels, mobile operators, streaming platforms, publishers, artists, media, and institutions. Several politicians also attended, including three culture ministers. Four Closing Concerts were also organised after each meeting, involving 50 performing artists and some 2,000 concert attendees.

During the four days of Midem, the African Forum will include a series of conferences, high-speed business meetings, and workshops with the objective of allowing stakeholders to work together on structuring the music markets in sub-Saharan African.

Headlining the conference programme, Black Coffee, artist and founder of South Africa’s Gongbox, will deliver a keynote speech. One of the most prominent electronic record producers and DJs on the continent, Black Coffee will shed light on Africa’s bourgeoning music scene, as well as share his experience as an artist-entrepreneur. Black Coffee recently launched his own Johannesburg-based record label, Soulistic Music, while developing his own music streaming service dedicated to African talent, Gongbox. Black Coffee is also this year’s Ambassador for the Midem Artist Accelerator talent booster programme. Among the 11 MAA finalists are four acts from Africa: AKA (South Africa), R’n’B/hip-hop/urban; BEZ (Nigeria), world music; BIGSTAR (South Africa), R’n’B/hip-hop/urban; and T$HEGO (South Africa), R’n’B/hip-hop/urban.

Another highlight will be a talk with Yemi Alade, Nigeria’s Queen of Afropop. Ambassador of the Midem African Forum, Alade is a multi-award winning international hit-maker, artist and fashion designer, and represents the new generation of artists shaping the African music scene and bringing its sounds to the world. Her single “Johnny” has generated more than 88 million views on YouTube, becoming the most streamed music video from Nigeria. Alade will share her views on what it takes for African talent to reach global audiences today, and how her crossover success has set a precedent for artists around the world.

“African music is among the world’s most influential, yet only accounts for 2% of the global market. Our African tour taking in Johannesburg, Lagos, Abidjan and Brazzaville, provided a snapshot of what is happening in those markets. Africa is an artistic volcano. There have been occasional eruptions when major artists have broken through on the international stage, but there could be so much more. African music, in all its amazing diversity, still has incredible potential to reach international audiences and we want Midem to support that potential,” said Alexandre Deniot, Director of Midem.

Jean-Noël Tronc, CEO of SACEM, said: “As one of the world’s leading authors’ rights organizations, SACEM is proud to count many African creators among its members. The African tour in April confirmed the undeniable potential and vitality of African creators. We aim to ensure the fairest remuneration for our African members by sharing our expertise and developing innovative and strategic partnerships, of which the African Forum with Midem and Trace is a stellar example. It is a wonderful occasion to promote African talent and for open discussion about the issues and challenges African creators face today.”

“One of the greatest musical revolutions of our time is taking place before our eyes right now in Africa, and it is spreading around the world. It’s not a simple revolution of sounds with Afrobeat, Afropop, and Afrohouse. It’s a revolution that also teaches us about the history of African societies, as musical revolutions are intrinsically linked to social evolutions. TRACE’s mission is to nurture, cherish and celebrate afro-urban music and culture around the world, so this year’s Midem, with its African focus, is the perfect platform for us,” said Olivier Laouchez, CEO of TRACE.

Other topics to be addressed during the Midem African Forum include:

  • Independence and artist development in Africa, a session to explore the generation of independent artists and entrepreneurs driving the business, featuring speakers Blick Bassy, Artist (Cameroon), Toya Delazy, Artist & Founder, Delazy Entertainment (South Africa) and Philo, CEO & Co-Founder, Bomayé Musik (Congo/France)
  • Connectivity, access & music distribution, a panel discussion on how Africa paves the way to a mobile-first consumer model, with speakers Martin Møller Nielsen, CEO, Mdundo (Kenya), and Ben Oldfield, VP, France, Benelux & West Africa, The Orchard (UK)
  • International artist collaboration: case study on Africa Express, a platform that has built a huge reputation through unique pairings of African and European talent, which will be discussed by Lauren Roth de Wolf, Manager, Africa Express (UK)

On Thursday 7 June, the Midem African Forum will host a closed-door Think Tank, the aim of which is to gather the key African and international players in the same room to discuss the main issues and challenges faced by the African music industry to find solutions and opportunities to help structure African music markets.

Midem, home of the global music community, takes place in Cannes, France, from 5-8 June.

Click HERE for more information about the Midem African Forum 2018

About Midem – Home of the Global Music Community, Midem is the world’s leading music event which brings together, connects, serves and supports the global music community to exchange, create, play, forge relationships and shape the future of music. With a rich 4-day programme of conferences, competitions, networking events and live performances, music makers, cutting-edge technology companies, brands & talent come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections.
Midem is part of Reed MIDEM, a global leader in the organisation of international professional markets in music, television and digital content industries (MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, MIPJUNIOR, MIP China and MIP Cancun) and real estate sectors (MIPIM, MIPIM PropTech and MAPIC).
Reed MIDEM is a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.