Music Business

Watch Tiwa Savage’s feature on CNN African Voices, ‘How (one of) Nigeria’s biggest pop star rose to fame’


CNN African Voices features Tiwa Savage. It’s a good thing but the only thing I don’t like is that the network has the headline ‘How Nigeria’s biggest pop star rose to fame.’ Do they ever get it right? How is Tiwa Savage “Nigeria’s biggest pop star” when there are Davido and Wizkid? Common on with your research CNN. On what grounds does she qualify as Nigeria’s “biggest” pop star? Music sales? Reach? Touring? What is the metrics that you are using?

I’ve modified the headline for a more accurate representation. Congrats to Tiwa for the feature. Tiwa was also in Los Angeles for the just concluded Grammy Week and had the opportunity to attend Roc Nation’s annual brunch, along with the likes of Tola Odunsi (formerly with Storm Records, now working with Cabal Entertainment, partners with Jay-Z’s Tidal). She also performed at the Essence Women in Music event during Grammy Week (picture above).

AML people, some of you are probably thinking what I am. Which is, we’ve seen Roc Nation perambulate welcome a few of our artists to their annual brunch (D’Banj/Don Jazzy). Nothing really materialized from the business relationship that allegedly created the access to hobnob. However, this time I think there might be something there, with a lot of that revenue flowing to Roc Nation. I also anticipate the lawsuits in advance. Here are some of the factors, that lead me to conclude that there might be something more concrete, this time:

  1. Roc Nation signing Tiwa Savage to a management deal and rumored signing of even more African talents.
  2. Roc Nation’s rumored launch of a Roc Nation Africa subsidiary in March.
  3. Roc Nation and Tidal’s partnerships with local entertainment brands including Paul Okoye’s Upfront & Personal.
  4. Sprint’s purchase of 33% stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal.
  5. The forecast on Africa’s mobile data revenue projected to double in 2019, from about $11billion to $22billion.
  6. A decrease in data cost in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
  7. The increased regulation and enforcement of sanctions against telecommunication companies, especially giants like MTN who dominate the marketplace as distributors licensed entertainment content in Africa.

I still have my reservations about the specific deals brokered in terms of its favorability to Africa and African talents, but truthfully, Africa and its professionals are responsible for educating themselves so they are placed in the best possible position to bargain the best possible deals for themselves. If they don’t, then they don’t get what they deserve. They get the deal they negotiated.

-Ms. Uduak

Photo Credit: Getty Images photo of Tiwa Savage on the red carpet at the ‘Essence Women in Music’ event. I’ve seen Tiwa wear much better makeup than this. Whomever the makeup artist is on this one, it is not cool the way you have your client looking in pictures at this event. Go easy on the blush and foundation next time, please.

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Africa Music Law™

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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