Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry of three Sub Saharan African Countries

Isaac Oduro Amoako, Thandiwe Mtetwa, Dina Nziku

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The creative industries even though have long been recognised as a significant contributor to the economies of developed countries, they have been neglected in entrepreneurship research in developing countries. The aim of this paper is to investigate the characteristics, challenges and opportunities in the music industry in three sub-Saharan African countries.
Prior Work:
It is estimated that the creative industry that was growing annually at 5% in the early 2000s is expected to triple in growth globally by 2020. In both developed and developing countries, music remains one of the most significant of the creative industries. Music in the contemporary world generates billions of pounds in revenues for composers, performers, publishers, record companies and many others. Nonetheless, there has been a lack of empirical studies on activities of entrepreneurs in the music industry in developing countries. This paper therefore aims at filling this gap by investigating the characteristics, challenges and opportunities in the music industry in the three sub-Saharan African countries.
A collection of data from a survey of music entrepreneurs in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania with the aim of understanding the challenges, characteristics and opportunities available to creative entrepreneurs in the music industry in the sub-Saharan African continent.
The survey showed that the majority of musicians in the three countries are younger, on aggregate have higher levels of education and the overwhelming majority of firms in the industry were micro or small, young, sole proprietorships and operate in the informal sector. However, we also found that the entrepreneurs were faced with a number of challenges notably copyright issues, inflation, lack of access to formal sources of capital and funding, lower customer demand, inability to digitise music, competition, corruption, and lack of marketing and marketing support. Notwithstanding these challenges, the potential for growth and profitability in the industry were acknowledged by the entrepreneurs and this was confirmed by respondents’ willingness to invest in their businesses.

Researchers may draw on this exploratory research to understand the nature of the music industry in other sub-Saharan African countries. Public policy and the donor community can draw on the identified challenges and address them to promote entrepreneurship in the industry. Entrepreneurs should be aware of the challenges in the industry and adopt a marketing orientation while exploiting the opportunities available through social media to promote their images and businesses.

This study fills a major gap in the literature by providing insights into entrepreneurial activities in the sub-Saharan African music industry. In particular, we provide an empirical comparative study on this important industry in sub-Saharan Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Event38th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference - Technology and Innovation Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Nov 201512 Nov 2015
Conference number: 38


Conference38th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference
Abbreviated titleISBE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • creative industries
  • music
  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • Africa


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