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Forbes Africa announces Top 10 Richest African Musicians

It’s finally here; Forbes Africa has released a list of the richest African musicians. Nigeria dominates the list with three artists in the top 10; The list features greats such as Zimbabwe’s Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi who has 65 albums under his belt, South African great Hugh Masekela and Black Coffee also feature on the list.



Forbes Africa the authority on all things money has released its list of richest African musicians. The list was put together using factors such as endorsement value, popularity, show rates, sales, awards, YouTube views, appearance in newspapers, investment, social media presence, influence and others.

In the top ten are in order;

1. Akon (Senegalese-American),

2. Black Coffee (South Africa),

3. Hugh Masekela (South Africa),

4. Don Jazzy (Nigeria),

5. Tinashe (Zimbabwean-American),

6. Jidenna (Nigerian-American),

7. Wizkid (Nigeria),

8. Davido (Nigeria),

9. Sarkodie (Ghana) and

10. Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe).

The list is featured in the May edition of Forbes Africa magazine.

Digital music distribution has allowed African artists to reach a much wider, global audience making African music a lot more profitable and musicians more bankable. “Afro-beat is now urbanized – the Internet has made everything well-packaged, it’s invading pop culture and it’s a marvelous time for African music” Mr. Eazi, a Nigerian Afro-beat artist recently told CNN.

File picture: DJ Black Coffee wins BET Award Photo: Black Coffee/Facebook

Nigeria dominates the list with three artists in the top 10; Don Jazzy, Wizkid and Davido. This is not at all surprising as the country is said to have the fastest growing entertainment and media industry on the continent. 

Read: South African artist, DJ Black Coffee wins BET Award

The PriceWaterHouseCoopers’ 2016-2020 Entertainment and Media Outlook report published late last year states, “Although South Africa’s market is characterized by a tendency to be overly weighted to interned access, with that segment’s share approaching 40% by 2020, this is nothing compared to the stranglehold the internet has over Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry revenue.”

Two legends, Oliver Mtukudzi (R) and Habib Koité (L) perform a duet at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Sunday, 7 May, 2017. Photo: Shorai Murwira/This is Africa

The list features greats such as Oliver Mtukudzi who has 65 albums under his belt, more than the legendary Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, his remarkable career stretching back 41 years and Jazz maestro Hugh Masekela who has released more than 43 albums and performed with Marvin Gaye, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba.

Read: Wizkid becomes first African musician to hit over a million views in 24 hours

It also includes relatively more recent additions to the industry such as Sarkodie, real name Michael Owusu Addo who started out as an underground rapper and is the first Ghanaian to win a BET award. His first single off his fourth album, Mewu, sold almost 4,000 copies on the first day of its release. As well as Black Coffee one of Africa’s most prominent electronic music producer who in 2016 performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Ultra Music Festival and collected the award for the Best International Act: Africa at the BET Awards becoming the first South African to do so.

The list although predominately showcasing African musicians whose main revenue source is from Africa has been criticized for including artists based in the US whose main revenue source is not from the continent. However others have put the claim down citing the list is for African artists and should therefore be all inclusive as the artists are of African descent.