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Sauti Sol’s record label launches ‘Press Play’ to empower musicians

Sauti Sol’s record label, Sol Generation, has unveiled an ambitious plan to empower and equip over 300 musicians from the region with the essential skills needed to nurture their talent and thrive in the ever-expanding world of African music.

This groundbreaking initiative, aptly named “Press Play,” represents an Artists’ Development Program (ADP) designed to take emerging Eastern African artists on a transformative journey from aspiring musicians to accomplished professionals.

The program is multifaceted, focusing on skill development, brand building, and access to both physical and digital markets.

Nanjero, Chief Executive Officer of Sol Generation, emphasized the potential of Eastern African music on the global stage despite its current underutilization.

He noted that the region’s vibrant creativity and growing middle-class present a golden opportunity for artists to cultivate larger local audiences and customer bases for their artistic creations.

“The goal is to enhance the technical expertise of various stakeholders in the creative economy, intensify the standard and quality of Eastern African music, and foster a robust ecosystem,” Nanjero explained.

Artists selected for the program underwent a meticulous ADP-based selection process and will undergo a comprehensive six-month development program.

This curriculum encompasses crucial aspects such as songwriting, brand development, marketing, financial management, and effective music distribution methods.

Nanjero highlighted the significant role of female musicians in the project, stating that:

“The program, funded by the Ignite Culture Fund and curated by the British Council and Heva Fund, mainly targets female musicians and will culminate in the production of an EP for the top four musicians.”

The far-reaching impact of this initiative extends beyond the artists themselves, as it is expected to benefit the entire creative industry ecosystem.

Hundreds of job opportunities will emerge, both directly and indirectly, encompassing roles such as engineers, coaches, stylists, PR practitioners, content creators, dancers, beat makers, and set designers, among others.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) Global Music Report 2023, Sub-Saharan Africa emerged as the fastest-growing market region in 2022, experiencing a remarkable 34.7 percent surge in music sales.

This growth was notably driven by the burgeoning music market in South Africa, which witnessed sales rising by over 30 percent year-on-year.

Directors of Sol Generation and members of Sauti Sol expressed their vision for “Press Play” to elevate Eastern African musicians to a dominant position in key African and global music markets.

They acknowledged the shift in global music influence, with African sounds gaining prominence, particularly Nigerian, South African, and Ghanaian music.

Dataxis, a research firm, projected substantial growth in Africa’s annual music streaming revenues, from $92.9 million in 2021 to an estimated $314.6 million by 2026.

However, they cautioned that internet penetration rates would be a significant determinant of this growth, highlighting that “streaming cannot go faster than infrastructure.”

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