January is usually a slow month for music releases. Artists are planning calendars and directions for their music. As the first month of 2024 ends, more artists are back in the field. So what can we expect in 2024?
We asked some industry players to share their views on Afrobeats’ growth last year and what they’ll like to see in the industry this year.
Adeayo Akinbiyi, music writer and journalist (PulseNg)
My favourite thing about the industry last year was its continuous growth. We’ve always wanted to see Afrobeats grow and propel universally, and we sustained that through the works of our artists on the global front. Asake and Rema come to mind here.
The breakout of new stars like Shallipopi is also a sign of the industry’s sustainability, especially during this period when many, including the U.S. market, are finding it hard to break out artists.
In 2024, I predict continuous growth for the Afrobeats movement; more artists on international stages, new breakout stars, and street-pop music will keep expanding and influencing the soundscape.
I also hope to see more street artists operating on the same level as other pop stars. There’s a strong street marker underlying our music, and I want it to manifest in 2024. I hope for more female stars because we didn’t see any last year.
We’ve always discussed structure as part of Afrobeats’ lack. In 2024, I hope more attention will be on how we build and operate locally. Labels, stars and stakeholders should leverage their powers and funding to build locally. They should collaborate with the government and private sector to build entertainment infrastructures and ecosystems.
Of course, more funding and grants must come into the system and impact burgeoning creators and media guys who are amplifying the music, documenting the culture and taking it to the consumers. We need to empower people who’ll document the sonics of our country, those making them and how they’re impacting people and the nation as a whole.
Tope Agbeyo, Comms. & PR expert (Mavin)
Subgenres like emo-afrobeats and afro-rave got more expansive last year. The successes of Omah Lay, Shallipopi and Odumodublvck will incentivise people with niché sounds to go for originality —no need to try to be like anyone. In 2023, I observed that people willingly listened to what they liked without minding the sonic leanings. I believe that the capacity of the average Nigerian listener to have a palate for different sounds is one of our most significant assets. The streaming audience is not large enough to support niche listenership. We thrive because we don’t have just one artist we like. I’m glad last year proved that again.
The live shows were mostly a mess, though. We must work on that in 2024 — from the infrastructure to promoters to organisers to artists to engineers, event planners and designers. Everything needs so much work. Live concert-goers deserve so much more. I mean, Afronation even had to dip. That’s a bad look.
No music market is genuinely sustainable without a healthy live scene, so I expect that the stakeholders involved will do better this year. We can’t afford to disappoint so many people year after year.
Dami Ajayi, Culture/music writer & poet
The Elele single, a minor resurgence of Oritsefemi featuring Qdot, was my favourite thing in Afrobeats last year. Street music generally, I want folks to pay more attention to the audience of street pop; they need pampering.
I also want respect for journalists, and for journalists to pay more attention to the music and less to the lifestyle and grimy gossip. I’d like to see producers get their day in the sun with publishing rights and cheques because expectations are sandcastles and a step beyond dreaming.
Lola Oyedele, Entertainment & IP lawyer
I love that many women — Qing Madi, Bloody Civilian, SGawd, and so on — blew up in the music industry last year. We also had so much music to listen to across different genres, and many Afrobeats artists sold out venues in different countries. The globalisation of Afrobeats is exciting. The things that we used to dream about are happening very regularly.
This year, I’m rooting for professionals. We’ve always been behind the scenes working tirelessly to make the stars shine.
I’m rooting primarily for women because we need to change the 7:1 ratio of women to men in the entertainment industry, and I can tell you the girlies are on fire.
2024 is also the year we need to get some things right: build at home and from home. Be a global sensation and develop a sustainable industry accommodating all creators and professionals. I expect that the government will also take the creative industry seriously and make stringent laws to protect intellectual property.
We need more spaces for shows — not just in Lagos, but other parts of Nigeria. I don’t want it to be a story of reggae and different genres that the West listens to and drops after they have milked the value out of them. Afrobeats should continue to grow. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Chike San — Indie music producer, singer
In 2023, our pop music enjoyed acceptance worldwide. In 2024, I’d like to see more innovation, creativity and experimentation because it’s clear the audience is open to hearing new sounds due to the range of music Nigerians gravitated towards.
That said, Another thing is I think we need to chill on seeking external validation and chasing acceptance from the West. I understand it’s what’s best for business, but we can do that without soiling ourselves.