Recording Academy pushes for global expansion after new African contract

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Credit: @Tyllaaaaaaa

The Recording Academy, the company behind the infamous music show the GRAMMYs, has revealed new plans to support music artists in Africa and the Middle East. 

In a press release, the Academy announced it had reached agreements with various Ministeries of Cultures and important stakeholders in Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. 

The main focus of this strategy aims to create more educational resources and cross-cultural learning that celebrates the music history tied to these regions. It will also help improve knowledge concerning intellectual property, as the organisation seeks to strengthen its presence within the rapidly expanding music scene.

Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts said: “It should be no surprise that Kenya is delighted to be among the four champions of this effort, alongside our sister nations of Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa. 

“This is a historic opportunity to hoist high and celebrate Africanacity through artistic and cultural expression, while fostering innovation, creativity, fraternity, and solidarity for African people in African and beyond.”

The Academy’s leaders, including its CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and President Panos A. Panay have spent the past two years travelling throughout these regions, going on tours and demonstrations to gain a wider understanding of the markets both from governmental ministries and local music content creators.  

“This is exciting because music is one of humanity’s greatest natural resources,” Mason said.

He continued: “It is critical that the people who dedicate themselves to creating music have support, resources and opportunities, no matter where they are from.”

The key initiatives the Academy will explore include:

  • Championing music creators at all levels.
  • Empowering creators through enhanced training on their online learning platform, GRAMMY GO, and will tailor educational resources to the needs of music creators in those regions.
  • Producing original content that celebrates each region’s musical heritage and culture.
  • Enhancing support for existing members.
  • Advocating for strong intellectual property (IP) legislation and protections for music creators.
  • Fuelling the music economy through partner collaborations to strengthen the creative economy within these regions.
  • Publish reports that detail the Academy’s research and insights into the music market.

This comes after a long history of African success at the award show with winners including artists such as Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy

2024 also marked the introduction of the inaugural Best African Music Performance category which focuses on showcasing the musical talent stemming from the African continent with South African popstar Tyla winning earlier this year for her song “Water”

Davido, who was nominated three times in this year’s GRAMMYs, expressed his views surrounding the recent announcement. 

He stated: “As an African musician, I am excited about the Recording Academy’s expansion into Africa and the Middle East.

“This initiative offers a platform for creators, elevating our cultural expressions and uniting us through music.”

The expansion comes as the Academy celebrates its 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards in November this year and follows the first international GRAMMYs which were hosted in Seville, Spain last year.