The period stretching from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s is often considered the ‘golden age’ of African popular music. Concurrently with the rise of popular music as a worldwide phenomenon, African popular music had its beginnings in the early decades of the 20th century, as radio broadcasting and sound recording facilities were gradually established by the colonial powers. By the end of World War II, European companies such as EMI, Gallo and Decca were starting to establish large-scale operations in the colonial territories. But African popular music really began to flower in the years of nationalist struggle and independence. With the winds of political change blowing in the air, popular music became extremely important as a component of the cultural life of newly or soon-to-be independent nations. Produced and consumed largely independently of local ethnic musical traditions — however much it may have drawn on them — popular music was seen as a powerful expression of newly national identity. The enthusiasm, idealism, and optimism that can be felt in the music of this era reflect the optimism and idealism of independence.