The MBA is developed by iManage Africa, in partnership with Music Ally and Dr. Carlos Chirinos of the Music Business Department at the New York University. Led by the MBA’s new programme director Elizabeth Sobowale, this year’s edition is powered by YouTube Music.
“Africa’s music industry produces some of the world’s most creative content and contributes significantly to global pop culture. This initiative enables the support of more creatives who will play a critical role in the continent’s fast growing creative economy,” says Addy Awofisayo, Head of Music Sub-Saharan Africa, YouTube.
“Additionally, It paves the way for the inclusion of more perspectives, which benefits the Africa and global musical landscape. It aligns with our values, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to support it,”
Running between July and November 2022, the program will teach students about a range of music business trends and technologies, as well as giving them hands-on experience in releasing and promoting music to create sustainable careers for artists.
With equality and social impact at the core, the project’s ‘Women’s Fund’ aims to ensure that at least 50% of participants this year are women, after the program hit its 40% target last year thanks to contributions from sponsors.
“As Africans we must take the creation and distribution of our knowledge into our own hands. MBA for Africa plays an important role in ensuring that the knowledge of Africa’s music, creative and cultural industries are passed on to the future leaders, executives and creators of the continent.” says programme director Elizabeth Sobowale.
During this year’s MBA, the students will also get to pick the brains of senior music industry executives, including a faculty drawn from all the different sectors of the business.
“This is the most advanced music business programme on the continent, localised but with global, industry-standard best practices,” says Anthony Churchman, Music Ally’s commercial director. “It empowers Africa at the foundations: it starts with the people.”
The MBA began as an internship scheme in 2017, before evolving into a talent management training program, and ultimately the full music business education initiative that launched in 2021.
“When I started out in this industry, there was nowhere to learn about the business and so I, like many of my peers, had to make so many mistakes and it took me years to realise I had been doing so many things wrong,” says founder Godwin Tom.
“The Music Business Academy for Africa has all the modules designed for creative music entrepreneurs to leverage and tap into the wide opportunities in Africa’s music and entertainment industry.”
Tom recently moderated a panel at the NY:LON Connect industry conference about Africa’s music industries, which included a discussion about the importance of education to nurture young managers, lawyers, PR people and other roles there.
The MBA’s practical side is geared towards this. In 2021, students from the inaugural cohort worked with five African artists in a ‘Talent Project’ that saw them release two EPs, including a crowdfunding campaign.
“The number of talented artists in Nigeria far surpasess the number of music industry professionals that can help those artists achieve success. The MBA for Africa program fills the gap by providing professional education to create the required workforce for the industry. In doing so, MBA is contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria and the continent,” says Dr. Carlos Chiniros, NYU.
Registration for the 2022 program opens on 11 April, and potential students can find more details and apply to take part here.