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TuneCore expands indie music streaming in Africa

Leading independent digital music distribution service TuneCore has appointed new heads for East and West Africa.



TuneCore, one of the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration company for independent artists, has launched operations in Africa.

Jade Leaf has been hired as head of TuneCore for Southern Africa and will share responsibility for key countries in East Africa with Chioma Onuchukwu, who has been hired as head of TuneCore for West Africa. Both Leaf and Onuchukwu will be reporting to Faryal Khan-Thompson, vice president international of TuneCore.

Onuchukwu will be based in Nigeria and oversee countries in West Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Additionally, she will look after Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa.  Leaf’s territory encompasses Southern Africa, including South Africa — where she will be based. She will also cover Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho. Leaf will also manage TuneCore operations in East African countries Kenya and Uganda.

“I am elated to be joining a renowned, independent music distribution powerhouse, especially in an incredible era for music creators in Africa at a time when we are gaining global recognition and increasing momentum,” says Chioma Onuchukwu. “I look forward to collaborating with and supporting local artists.”

Prior to joining TuneCore, Onuchukwu was marketing manager at uduX Music, a music streaming platform in Nigeria. There, she worked directly with popular African artists such as Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking, Kizz Daniel and more.

Jade Leaf says: “I am incredibly excited to join the team in a time where the global conversation is around independence and ownership. TuneCore opens up a world of potential for independent artists at every level of their careers. Africa is home to a diverse range of artists who are seeking a reliable distribution service who understands their local needs and can ultimately give them the opportunity to turn their art into commercial success.”

Previously, Leaf worked at Africa’s largest pay TV operator, Multichoice, as the marketing manager for youth and music channels. She led brand re-imaging and marketing efforts for Channel O. Before that, she worked at Sony Music Entertainment Africa, focusing on African artists and content, as well as numerous marketing campaigns and projects for local and international artists.

There has been a rise in the uptake of streaming services in Africa. The growth has been attributed to several factors such as an increase in internet penetration via smartphones, the entrance of international and local streaming platforms in key territories and, its youth population — more than 60% of African’s are under the age of 25.

In 2020, TuneCore saw an increase in music releases globally, with more African artists opting to use the DIY distributor. These artists include Kofi Mole from Ghana, Small Doctor in Nigeria, Spoegwolf in South Africa, Mpho Sebina in Botswana and Fena Gitu in Kenya.

TuneCore, owned by Paris-based Believe, has been expanding its international operations. The distributor increased from serving 5 countries in 2020, to 8 countries and 3 major regions in 2021 — India, Russia and Brazil were added last year and this year LATAM, Southeast Asia and Africa are 3 major regions. The company’s website is localised for each of the 8 countries and translated into 13 languages.

Khan-Thompson, VP of TuneCore, says: “Africa is an extremely exciting music market with a lot of potential for growth. By hiring Jade and Chioma to lead our efforts, TuneCore is well positioned to maximize opportunities for independent artists across the continent. Both Chioma and Jade bring a wealth of experience and genuine interest in helping artists make their dreams come true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two incredible women representing the TuneCore brand in the continent”