Leading indie label, distributor, and publisher EMPIRE staged their first showcase for night two of SXSW music, ‘The New Africa,’ at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, only a month after launching EMPIRE Africa. BNXN FKA Buju, Cheque, Fireboy DML, June Freedom, L.A.X., Wande Coal, and other label artists and contemporary Afrobeats trailblazers performed at the sold-out event, which was hosted by Nigerian comedian and actor Basketmouth and DJ Poizon Ivy. Monster Energy and Puma were also sponsors of the event, in addition to Pandora.
Empire expanded in February, announcing EMPIRE Africa, highlighting the success of Nigerian artists like Freboy DML and Olamide. “Don’t forget the rate of streaming music in the States is not the rate of streaming music in Nigeria,” said Kareem Mobolaji, regional head of West Africa with EMPIRE, to Forbes. “If 10 people are streaming you in the U.S., that’s equivalent to having 60 people streaming you in Nigeria.”
You can read more about EMPIRE’s expansion here and see images from the celebration in Austin below.