The MTV Africa Music Awards was celebrated across the world as a triumph of African music and showcase of talents, with many acts smiling back home for a night well spent. Everyone involved was a winner. To be nominated, or perform, or appear at the biggest music event on the continent has to be a special feeling, which many artistes deeply appreciate and mark as a career milestone. Simply put, the 2016 MAMA blessed everyone which it touched, and put smiles on the faces of all.
All except Sony Music Entertainment. For the record label, the MAMA was just another event, and they failed to associate openly. But in doing that, they lost. Sony Music lost a big chance to showcase their business in Africa.
Since 1994, Sony Music have been working really hard in carving up the African music space, and getting a huge slice of the talent pie, one musician at a time. But since 2015, they have amplified their reach, spreading their tentacles to bring in new acts. In Nigeria, they have successfully drawn in Davido, Ayo Jay, Wizkid, and Ycee . Ghana’s Okuntakinte , Tanzania’s Alikiba , South Africa’s Mobi Dixon, and many more.
The 2016 MAMA, which was tuned in from every corner of the continent, represents the highest and most- reaching platform for the music giants to make a case on the biggest stage, but they failed to take it. Worst hit is Davido. The star who officially signed to Sony in January 2016 and went on a lenghty hiatus spanning several months has seen his stock decline on the continent.
Just this month, he made a return, releasing his debut Sony Music project; an EP titled “Son Of Mercy”, and containing key collaborations from South African Nasty C, USA’s Tinashe , and Nigeria’s Simi . There’s just about plenty of material that the dude needs to promote and work his back to his full form. In the 2015 MAMA, the man was rampaging, scoring 2 awards in the Best Male and Best Africa Act categories. This year, his name did not make the nomination list. Instead, his arch-rival, and also Sony Music ‘unofficial’ artiste, Wizkid was the main star of the night. He blazed through with three awards (Best Male, Best African Act, Best Collaboration), and the night’s standout performance. Wizkid might be seen as Davido’s rival, but he didn’t need the promotion. He is already Africa’s de facto king, and the MAMA just made that official with three trophies.
Sony Music Entertainment West Africa General Manager, Michael Ugwu confirmed this when he shared his thoughts on Twitter. “We’ve hustled hard this year. Should have been a FULL Sony shut down this year at the MAMAs. Not all wishes come true. 2017 dey. We coming,” Michael tweeted.
Davido did need the promotion. And Sony Music failed to use the platform to amplify him. This MAMA 2016 had other new Sony Music acts – Alikiba and Ycee – have a shot at the big stage, but Davido, who is a bigger flagship artiste of the record didn’t get that. Imagine what mileage it would be for the star to perform ‘Coolest Kid in Africa’ with the loved and raving Nasty C on stage. That would achieve more than any marketing campaign on Instagram and Twitter would have done.
The MAMA 2016 ended as a celebration of African acts, but Davido, once the king of the jungle, was let down by his new home – Sony Music Africa.