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YouTube Music Gives Financial Grants to Two Nigerian Firms

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YouTube Music

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Two Nigerian companies have been given financial grants by YouTube Music to support African creative voices and boost the continent’s creative economy.

The two firms given the support were Briteswan and iManage Africa Entertainment Limited and in addition, they will receive capacity development training and advisory.

The assistance was given to the duo to help them scale up their initiatives to develop music creatives on the continent.

This move is set to directly impact an estimated 300 participants in initiatives led by these organisations.

Briteswan, through its The Audiogirl initiative, seeks to economically empower women by closing the gender gap in the music creation segment, while the Music Business Academy for Africa (MBA) initiative of iManage Africa is dedicated to developing a more informed and empowered workforce for the African music and entertainment industry.

YouTube’s Head of Music, Sub-Saharan Africa, Addy Awofisayo, while commenting on the support, stated that, “We are committed to exporting African music to listeners across the world and want to continue to play our part in the development of the continent’s rapidly growing creative economy especially with respect to music.”

Access to the internet has opened up opportunities for African creatives to display their talents to a global audience, thereby, creating jobs that can boost national economies.

In Nigeria, the creative industry accounted for roughly N730 billion (roughly $1.8 billion) of Nigeria’s GDP in 2020.

Through this initiative, YouTube will enable the two organisations to scale their ongoing work to help more young African creatives learn and acquire the skills to improve their craft and export their music to the world.

“The rise of Nigeria’s globally celebrated musical artists points to the opportunities that exist in the creative economy. As we work towards the post-COVID-19 recovery of industries, it is important to be intentional about unearthing brimming talent and potential among creatives – many of whom are young people.

“YouTube Music’s dedication to the growth of music creatives in the region is well-timed and commended,” the Minister of Youths and Sports Development,” Mr Sunday Dare, stated.

Over the past few years, YouTube has helped spotlight African culture and export it to global audiences. Burna Boy who won the Grammy’s Global Music Award in 2021 with his album, ‘Twice as Tall’ and who has now been nominated for the third time for a Grammy Award, was spotlighted by YouTube as an Artist on the Rise in 2018.

In 2019, YouTube announced an initiative to support Nigerian artists in collaboration with Mr Eazi’s empawa Africa to support 10 local artists to develop their craft. Tems and Bella Shmurda were also selected to be part of YouTube Music’s international artist development program, Foundry in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

YouTube Music also deepened investments in Black communities by opening applications to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022, aimed at enabling Black artists, songwriters and producers worldwide to commercialise their work. Eight African artists, songwriters and producers were admitted to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022.

“We see the support given to the two Nigerian pan-African organizations as a partnership for the advancement of music creatives in Africa who in-turn will be key players that contribute positively towards the emerging creative sector in the continent”, Awofisayo concludes.

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Q4 2021: Nollywood Records 1.9% Rise in Movie Production

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Nollywood

By Adedapo Adesanya

A total of 382 movies was produced by the Nigerian film industry, otherwise known as Nollywood, in the last quarter of  2021, up from 375 in the third quarter, indicating a 1.9 per cent growth quarter-on-quarter.

This was disclosed by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in a statement signed by Mr Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director/CEO of the board.

According to him, the figure was made available by the Department of Film Censorship and Classification of the board in its fourth-quarter report for the year, which captured all films submitted to the board from across the country.

Mr Thomas said that Lagos State had the highest number of movies produced for the period with 181, while Onitsha followed with 96 movies and Abuja with 87 movies.

The analysis by locations further showed that Kano had seven, while Port Harcourt and Jos recorded three respectively and Benin had five movies for the period under review.

“The report is for onward submission to the relevant Federal Government authority for compilation of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter (Q4), 2021.

“We are happy that the industry is picking up again, having survived the harsh impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on every sector of our economy, including the creative sector and the motion picture industry in particular.

“We introduced virtual censorship platforms to keep the industry running so as not to jeopardise the business interest of stakeholders, and that has become an integral part of our operations,” he said.

NFVCB is a federal government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria. The board is empowered by law to classify all films and videos whether imported or produced locally.

It is also the duty of the board to register all films and videos outlets across the country and to keep a register of such registered outlets, among other functions.

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Ghana’s Amaarae Joins Spotify EQUAL Music Programme

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Ghanaian star Amaarae

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The prestigious Spotify EQUAL Music Programme has announced Ghanaian breakout star, Amaarae, as the January Artist of the Month.

The red-gold-green nation’s global sensation is the cover of Spotify’s EQUAL Africa playlist, which compiles music from “the fiercest African women making waves”.

Spotify EQUAL is a pledge to amplify the voices of women in the music industry, as only 25 per cent of artistes on the charts are female, according to a study by Spotify-funded USC Annenberg.

The EQUAL programme spans seven categories, which include the EQUAL Artists of the Month and the EQUAL local playlists, where Amaarae represents the January 2022 selection.

“I’m incredibly proud to be EQUAL’s Artist of the Month in recognition of all the barriers my creative work looks to break. It’s a win for Ghanaian and African female creators,” Amaarae enthused.

New York-born Ama Serwah Genfi is creating R&B, Soul, and Afropop fusions that have global appeal. Amaarae, who is a strong advocate of gender equality, is fast achieving fame.

The rise of The Angel You Don’t Know album maker on Spotify is phenomenal, with more than 10 million monthly listeners, and over 116 million streams for her Sad Girlz Luv Money remix alone.

With this viral hit, which features Kali Uchis and Moliy and which debuted at #80 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 2021, Amaarae became the second Ghanaian to break into the Billboard charts – 50 years after Ghanaian-English Afro rock band Osibisa first paved the way.

Today, the entertainer known to her social media fans as Fountain Baby follows in the footsteps of fellow Ghanaian female star Gyakie who, with her selection in April last year, became the first African woman to partner with Spotify for EQUAL.

Other African artistes to have been featured on EQUAL include Kenya’s SSARU and Muthoni Drummer Queen, Nigeria’s Ayra Starr, and South Africa’s DBN Gogo.

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Showbiz

Entries Open for Second ALAT Food Challenge

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ALAT Food Challenge

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Food lovers in Nigeria now have the opportunity to apply for the second edition of the ALAT Food Challenge sponsored by Wema Bank Plc.

According to the Head of Marketing Communications and Investor Relations at Wema Bank, Ms Funmilayo Falola, the company’s drive-in organising another edition of the ALAT Food Challenge was to “lift the spirits of Nigerians, especially following a difficult year.”

“It was exciting to see how Nigerians reacted to the first contest and we hope that we can replicate that joy on a much bigger scale with this edition,” she added.

On Monday, January 17, 2022, ALAT by Wema confirmed that the challenge will even improve on the successes of the previous edition and will leverage the excitement of the new year season.

The challenge will give young Nigerians another opportunity to express their excitement following an eventful year. The partnership with popular social media food influencer, Ayo the creator of the food eating show – Nigerians vs Food, will continue this season.

This challenge, which will feature two episodes, is open to all interested persons between the ages of 18 to 35 and requires all challengers to sign up on the ALAT app (via Play Store or App Store) using the referral code ‘FOOD’. Following a successful registration, challengers are expected to visit the bank’s verified social media channels to complete the process.

ALAT has built a customer base of over 600,000 customers in the past four years, investing over N2 billion in various youth-oriented initiatives such as Talk Series, SociaLiga, GameOn Turf Football Competition, Social Media Week, and many more since its launch.

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