Nigeria's music scene becomes a cultural export

Thu Jul 7, 2016 7:22am EDT
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By Alexis Akwagyiram

LAGOS (Reuters) - Each night as darkness descends on Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, sweat-drenched young men and women descend on the megacity's numerous nightclubs to dance to the latest hit songs.

Much like the famous "Nollywood" film industry, music is now big business in Africa's most populous nation.

The music industry's revenue from music sales was $56 million in 2015 and is forecast to grow to $88 million in 2019, auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) reported last year.

It said the country's entertainment and media industry had an estimated total revenue of $4.8 billion in 2015 and is likely to grow to some $8.1 billion in 2019, making it "the fastest-expanding major market globally".

As in many Nigerian cities, music is inescapable in Lagos, whose 21 million inhabitants can hear popular songs in the form of mobile phone ringtones or blaring out of speakers on the private transit buses, known as danfos, that are ubiquitous.

For a Reuters photo essay, click:

Artists who sing and rap over electronic backing tracks, in a genre known as Afrobeats, have seen their popularity in Nigeria spill over into record sales and sold-out concerts across Africa and in both Britain and the United States.

In May, Wizkid -- one of Nigeria's most popular artists -- reached the top of the U.S. singles chart in a collaboration with Canadian rapper Drake.   Continued...

Singer Temi Dollface poses for a picture in the compound where she works from, in the Ikeja district of Lagos, Nigeria, May 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Joe Penney