Conference, 12-14 September 2023, University of Lagos, Nigeria
‘Love Nwantiti’, a song by the Nigerian artiste CKay, became a global hit in 2021, through the platform TikTok and followed by Top 10 placements in the charts on all continents. It became the most popular African song of all times and exemplifies the growing global influence of African cultural production. There is a growing awareness of Africa as a global exporter of film, music, fashion, and dance styles (Krings and Simmert 2020). Not long ago a global audience still had difficulties to acquire Afrobeats songs by legal means, but now growing numbers of songs are produced that are available on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Viral Charts of Spotify and Apple Music. Digitization has contributed to this development in many ways. Digital technology, streaming platforms, and social media transform production, circulation, and consumption of music. They increase the production of songs, enable their unlimited circulation, and diversify practices of ‘musicking’ (Small 1998).
The conference intends to discuss these developments related to the global mainstreaming of African popular music, by tackling three closely connected sets of questions: 1. What is the impact of social media and digital platforms on practices of musicking, i.e. how do musicians and fans make use of their affordances, employ text, image and sound when they create their posts? 2. In which way has the Nigerian music scene inspired musicians in other African and non-African countries, for example, in the form of transnational cooperations, and vice versa? 3. Who profits most from the new digital technologies: do they empower African artists, and female artists in particular, in their economic participation and in the overcoming of postcolonial power imbalances? What is the role and gain of global entertainment and technology companies?
Organized by: Matthias Krings (Mainz University), Patrik Oloko (University of Lagos), Ute Röschenthaler (Mainz University), Artemis Saleh (Mainz University), Tom Simmert (Mainz University)