Afrobeats – celebrity, entrepreneurship and pop music in Nigeria
In the wake of recent developments in media and technology, the means of music production and recording have become available to an unprecedented number of people in many parts of the world. In the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos, being a musician has become a promising career prospect for a large number of youths. For about a decade, digitally produced pop music from Lagos has dominated the sound of the country and even large parts of the continent, where it is increasingly marketed under the catch-all term “Afrobeats”. The change in status of local pop music, which is perceived as a recent phenomenon, also applies to individual artistes (singers and rappers), some of which – due to changing media economies – have become the continent’s most influential celebrities. Considering musical and non-musical activities in constant interaction, the project follows various actors of the Lagos recording industry to studio sessions, concerts and promotional activities, examining the practices of contemporary artistes in particular. Based on the hypothesis that they are acting as cultural entrepreneurs, I investigate how they build their celebrity persona, cultivate their brands, negotiate alterity and navigate gender differences, economic inequalities and political fields of tension.