YouTube on Wednesday announced a commitment to support 10 emerging talents in Nigeria.
The YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, made this known during a fireside chat at the 2019 Google for Nigeria in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cohen was joined on stage at Google for Nigeria with Mr Eazi for a fireside chat to announce the initiative and discuss the growth and evolution of African music on YouTube.
According to him, in the initial phase, YouTube is teaming up with Nigerian music star, Mr Eazi and the emPawa Africa initiative, to support 10 emerging Nigerian music artists to build their craft, increase their fan base and connect with the world through YouTube.
“The contributions will go toward enabling the artists to shoot videos, record music and get mentoring.
“It is critical to develop the next generation of talents and there is so much talents exploding out of Nigeria and the African continent right now; as Africa is setting the tempo all around the globe.
“We are incredibly proud that YouTube has been a mainline for African artists to connect all over the world.
“By supporting one of the leading African trail-blazers like Mr Eazi and his emPawa initiative, we are excited to see how these artists supercharge their careers and grow their fan base on YouTube,” Cohen said.
He said that as part of its long-term commitment to supporting emerging Nigerian talents, YouTube would be working with a number of key partners locally and would share more in the coming months.
Cohen said that in June, YouTube presented Silver Play Button awards to D’banj and 2Baba at YouTube Week in Nigeria, recognising their channels’ subscriber growth.
He noted that Yemi Alade and Flavour would be presented with Gold Play Button, while Adekunle Gold and Teni would claim Silver Play Buttons at a cultural evening event during Google for Nigeria.
He said that Gold Play Buttons were awarded to channels which had reached the one million subscriber mark and Silver to those that had garnered 100,000 subscribers.
“For years now, YouTube has played an essential role in the discovery and development of African sound, exporting African music to listeners worldwide.
“ It brings people to a continent that outsiders may not have experienced for themselves and opening up the world of African music, culture, and dance beyond just the sound.
“Of the top 25 most-watched Sub-Saharan African artists on YouTube, more than 70 per cent of their views come from outside Africa.
“From Yemi Alade’s “Johnny” hitting over 100 million views on YouTube. Thanks to viral dance moves, to Beyonce’s The Lion King: The Gift album featuring African artists like Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid, there’s no doubt that global audiences are dancing to an African beat, ‘’ he said.
Mr Eazi said that the emPawa Africa was an initiative and incubator he launched to help empower the next generation of African artists, equipping them with the tools, knowledge, network and investment they need to become independent music entrepreneurs.
“emPawa is an initiative I created with one simple mission; helping new artists reach their full potential musically by equipping them with the knowledge and funding to do so.
“It is something I wish someone had created when I first started making music. Some time, all it takes is that one person to believe in you.
“Thus far, emPawa has supported 22 Nigerian artists and 100 artists in total across 11 African countries with training to build their skills through digital platforms such as YouTube.
“Among the success stories is Nigerian singer Joeboy, whose emPawa-backed single release “Baby” has over 5.9 million views on YouTube,’’ Eazi said.
He noted that the partnership with YouTube was very exciting as it would take emPawa and its artists to a whole new level.
He said that they had already achieved great success with their own resources, so the artists would go far with the backing of such a global company.