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The Music Storyteller: Blessing Manafa’s Journey with Afrobeats

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Blessing Manafa is an enthusiastic and motivated data analyst with a particular interest in marketing, communications, strategic partnerships, and business development, with over 7 years of experience. Her background and experience merge consumer marketing campaigns, partnerships, and regional on-ground knowledge with data analytics to better inform decision-making for effective marketing initiatives

A high note experience in her journey in the music consumer marketing industry was during her time as Head of Digital Strategy & Content at Cool FM where she, alongside others, initiated and executed marketing strategies for Apple Music Radio – Africa Now with then-host DJ Cuppy, as well as Apple Music & Shazam 3 for 3 campaign. Initiatives across performance marketing, influencer marketing, OOH, TV, and digital marketing were deployed to achieve a notable 7% increase in the number of Apple Music subscribers and Shazam app usage in West Africa.

The following year, Blessing transitioned to Clout Africa, where she served as the Head of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships. During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in delivering outstanding projects. These included Clout Mag, featuring rising Afrobeats stars such as Ayra Starr, Oxlade, Zinoleesky, and Lojay. Additionally, she was instrumental in the success of Clout Awards, celebrating music artists and creators from West and Southern Africa. Her work also involved collaborations with artists like Gyakie, Blxckie, Fave, and more. Notably, Blessing commissioned one of Clout Africa’s most noteworthy commercial advertisements, featuring Veeiye, a Big Brother Naija alumni, as the star.

In 2022, Blessing joined emPawa Africa, founded by the business mogul and music superstar, Mr Eazi. Here, she had the opportunity to create and execute marketing strategies for artists such as Joeboy, Mr Eazi, Fave, Minz, Nandy (Tanzania), DJay (Ghana), and others. Her success extended to exciting releases like Mr Eazi’s ‘Patek,’ Joeboy’s ‘Body & Soul,’ and more

When asked her thoughts on African music today – She said

Afrobeats, Afropop, Afro-fusion and Amapiano are slowly and quickly becoming Africa’s biggest exports reaching parts of the world that have never quite reached in the past 5 years. The next 5 years is set to be even more crucial to the African music industry as increased appeal, more attention and funding floods in – this opens up the frontlines for both established & emerging music artists to make their marks on the world as well as make a ton of profit.

I am excited about the future for music and also for professionals like myself who have in their unique ways drawn from their robust experiences in Marketing, Artist and Repertoire fused with the ability to visualize & draw key insights from music streaming data – now positioned to efficiently close the existing gap between music listener habits, music data and music marketing through cutting edge initiatives.

In October 2023, Blessing was appointed as the Digital Services & Partner Manager for Sony Music – West Africa, home to artists such as Mayorkun, Gyakie, Morravey, and global stars like Davido and Wizkid. Considering all that Blessing has accomplished in her 5+ years in the music industry, there is eager anticipation of the great feats she will accomplish in her new role.

Based in Lagos, she will work alongside the major’s team across Africa to oversee all elements of the internal digital services agency, providing support to marketers and partner relations teams to create highly effective and efficient marketing plans. The aim is to reach and engage music fans and audiences with the goal of increasing streaming revenue for SMEA.

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