YouTube is already the most significant digital platform for Afrobeats artists looking to build their global audiences. Now the service has teamed up with Nigerian artist Mr Eazi and his emPawa Africa incubator to provide direct support for 10 emerging artists from Nigeria.
The scheme will see those artists supported in recording music, making videos and getting mentorship. YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen announced the plans with Mr Eazi at the Google for Nigeria conference yesterday.
“This partnership with YouTube is very exciting as it will take emPawa and its artists to a whole new level. We’ve already achieved great success with our own resources, so there’s no telling how far these artists will go with the backing of such a global company,” said Mr Eazi – the success he refers to is the 100 artists from 11 African countries who emPawa Africa has already supported with digital-skills training.
“It’s critical to develop the next generation of talent – and there is so much talent exploding out of Nigeria and the African continent right now. Africa is setting the tempo all around the globe,” added Cohen.
YouTube is keen to emphasise the global role it’s already playing for African artists, too: the company says that of the 25 most-watched sub-Saharan African artists on YouTube, more than 70% of their views are coming from outside Africa. In its announcement of the emPawa partnership in Nigeria, YouTube also promised that it will be “working with a number of key partners locally and will share more in the coming months”.