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Ghana's Okropong in a tour playing traditional rhythms
Ghana's Okropong in a tour playing traditional rhythms | © Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr
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How Ghana's Aftown Music Brings Artists and Fans Together

Picture of Kwame Aidoo
Updated: 27 March 2018
The existing music marketplace in Africa is undergoing shapeshifting advancement with the establishment of Aftown’s online outlet. Read on to find out how the continent is on the verge of catching up with the ever evolving global music industry.

Background

By utilizing the internet, Aftown has enabled a genuinely efficient system “where music fans can buy songs directly from African artists”. Aftown saw the potential of driving sales in connection to the high consumption of African music both on the continent and worldwide, and as such mapped the missing link between fans and the content they are interested in. We talked to the team at Aftown, who explained the whys and why nots regarding access to African digital audio music.

Ghana’s Okropong in a tour playing traditional rhythms
Ghana’s Okropong in a tour playing traditional rhythms | © Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr

A Q&A with the Aftown team

What drove your initial interest to start an African music store online?

It’s simply our love for music. Our zeal to support and grow the African music industry through technology. That drove us to start Aftown.

There’s this common misconception that there is no money to be made off of releasing music anymore – what do you say to that?

Music is the most consumed product in Africa, and if the right systems are put in place, the music industry will become one of the most profitable industries in the continent.

With the emergence of technology, has the music industry been affected more positively than otherwise?

Technology has always had both good and bad influences. We believe it can be used for greater good in the music industry and help in making the industry profitable.

How does Aftown work out how much money the artist will receive per download?

It’s simple – we give the artist what they deserve. Aftown is all about the African artist. In terms of numbers, the artist gets 70% of every download and stream.

Jojo Abot at Apollo Theatre
Jojo Abot at Apollo Theatre | © Steven Pisano / Flickr

What are some of the challenges you face and what keeps you going?

In the world we live in, there’d definitely be challenges in any business, but the focus is on the goal and that keeps us going. Aftown is a community; a community which includes the artists, the team and most importantly, the subscribers. Working together to reach our ultimate goal surpasses any challenge.

Looking at the culture of bootlegging and free streaming, what does Aftown do to stand out?

Our loyalty and our structured system is what makes us stand out. There are several music sales and streaming platforms, but none was tailored specifically for Africans by Africans.

Are the musician’s union, radio, big and indie labels supportive with respect to showcasing African music enough to get listeners wanting to purchase music online?

Yes, we have support from several stakeholders in the industry. We must say, the reception from the industry has been very positive.