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Fuse ODG Speaks On The Future Of Africa's Music Industry

Fuse ODG and his manager, Andre Hackett, discuss the future of Africa's music industry at Georgetown University's Africa Business Conference

Fuse ODG and Andre Hackett speak on the music panel at Georgetown University's Africa Business Conference. Photo courtesy of GTABC.


Georgetown University held its first Africa Business Conference this month, where students, professionals and businesspeople came to discuss and exchange ideas about the growth of the private sector across the African continent.

The music industry on the continent continues to experience rapid growth while its consumers are hungry for more. Despite the challenges of physical and digital piracy, the Nigerian music industry, for example, produces 550 albums a year. And by the end of 2016, stakeholders project the industry could reach $1 billion.

Abiola Oke, CEO of Okayafrica, sat down as moderator with British-Ghanaian 'Afrobeats' star Fuse ODG and his manager and co-founder of ODG RecordsAndre Hackett, to discuss the future of the industry. When asked how artists can turn their millions of YouTube views and Spotify streams into tangible revenue and other lucrative opportunities, the T.I.N.A. ["This Is New Africa"] duo both agreed that artists who have the privilege to do so outside of the continent have a duty to return and share the knowledge.

“My mission is to invest in Africa with the knowledge that I’ve gained musically,” Fuse ODG said. “I’ve already been in touch with musicians and talking to them about how we can change the music system in Ghana and the music system in Nigeria so we can benefit the artist.”

He also noted how much respect he has for the artists who continue to make music purely for the love of music.

“But they deserve to be in a great position where they’ll be comfortable enough to keep making good music,” he added. “I think it’s a process that starts with us.”

Hackett shared with attendees that during their last trip to Ghana, the time spent with up and coming artists and managers was time well spent.

“Once you’re there, we learn from them and they learn from us in terms of marketing and building things out,” Hackett said. “We ended up distributing a lot of the artists’ music for them. Just by that, we actually helped them to make money.”

Efforts such as Akon bringing Nigerian superstars 2face Idibia, Wizkid and P-Square to Konvict Music and Jay Z moving his cousin to Nigeria in search of new talent last year show that Fuse ODG and Hackett may be onto something.

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From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

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