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Sony Music Entertainment Africa opportunities and challenges – MD Sean Watson

The music industry is undergoing a huge transformation driven by technology, data, and analytics, Sony Music Africa has been doing a lot of work lately amid the burgeoning African music industry.

The music company continues to add new emerging African artists and has recently signed  Gyakie, 25K, Emotionz DJ, Ferre Gola, R.O.Z, and Abby Chams to its roster.

“When I took over from my predecessor in 2011 as managing director, the primary long-term goal from the outset of my tenure was to develop Sony Music’s business in sub-Saharan Africa outside of our then single operation in South Africa”, Sean Watson Sony Music Entertainment Africa managing director was quoted saying by Music Africa in an interview.

Sean Watson, Sony Music Entertainment Africa managing director.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, the music company has expanded its operations in other African regions including West and East Africa.

The managing director stresses that Sony Music Entertainment Africa’s efforts in Africa have been driven by the great people that work on the continent.

Sony Music opens office in West Africa
Photo: office snapshots

The company set up operations in West Africa back in 2014 by signing Davido and Wizkid to ground-breaking deals in partnership with some of Sony Music’s UK and US labels in 2016. It followed suit in East Africa by signing Rose MuhandoRedsan, and Alikiba.

Alikiba tweeting and wishing a Happy birthday to “one of the most mega game changers in Africa Sony Music Entertainment,” Managing Director Sean Watson

The company has recently moved into new offices in Johannesburg which has “an innovative and creative design” says Mr. Watson. Sony Music Entertainment Africa also just acquired magnificent new office space in Lagos that the managing director says will be just as fantastic to work in as its new Johannesburg space, South Africa.  

The Music Africa reporter Ano Shumba notes that a rapidly growing Sony Music West Africa operation in Lagos, Nigeria, boasts a healthy roster of recording artists that includes MayorkunGyakie, Dice Ailes, SARZ, Davido, and Wizkid.

Davido signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment in 2014. Source: Premium Times Nigeria

Music streaming services are evolving and growing in Africa and competition continues to increase thus allowing African artists to integrate more firmly with the worldwide music market. This opportunity gives birth to deals that are flowing from all over the planet.

Asked about the kind of challenges Sony Music Entertainment Africa is facing, Mr. Waston explains that an absence of robust music industry data in many African markets continues to restrict growth in some ways.

However, the managing director says that Sony Music’s investment in data and analytics tools provides the company and its artist with a lot more data than is commonly available.

Sony Music Entertainment Africa has a wide variety of talent to sign in Africa but some of the factors need to be fulfilled by an artist.

“A healthy mix of talent, momentum, and relevance,” says the managing director.

Mr. Watson pointed out that there’s no single solution and each signing they undertake has a different combination of the aforementioned metrics, all of which combine uniquely to make each deal the music company does fit for both the company and the artist.

He also adds that there are an array of talent indicators, from vocal ability to writing, performance, and innovation.

 

 

 

 

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