AMBR 2017: Stakeholders Share Insights on Shaping African Music

A view of the audience

The Africa Music Business Roundtable, AMBR, a platform organised by the
All Africa Music Awards engaged top music business stakeholders, label
owners and music marketers on the theme, Digital Takeover; Shaping the
Future of African Music, at the Grand Ball room, Eko Hotels and Suites,
Victoria Island, Lagos by 8am.

Keynote speakers present at the event were the Head of culture, African
Union Commission, Angela Martins, General Manager, Sony Music, West
Africa, Michael Ugwu, Managing Director, Trace Anglophone, West Africa
Samo Onyemelukwe, Technology & Media Leader, PwC, West Africa, Femi
Osinubi, Chairperson Moshito Festival South Africa, Dr.Sipho Sithole,
Artistic Director Timitar Festival Morocco, Brahim El Mazned, MD United
Capital Securities Ltd. Nigeria, Jude Chiemeka, Head A&R Okay Music USA,
Rikki Stein, Head of Operations, Content Connect Africa, South Africa,
Munya Chanetsa, CEO Kennis Music Nigeria, Kenny Ogungbe, Founder/CEO
Emblue, Kelvin Orifa.

The Head of Culture, AUC, Angela Martins opened with a goodwill speech
from the AUC, commending the relentless work of AFRIMA in promoting
African music, culture and creative enterprise in Africa. Ms Martins also
thanked the host country, Nigeria who through its support for the host
city, Lagos has successfully hosted Africa’s leading creatives and
musicians at AFRIMA for 3years.

Ms Angela noted in her Speech ‘The theme of the Roundtable Digital
Takeover: Shaping the Future of African Music is in line with the African
Union Agenda on the promotion of the new information and Communication
Technologies (ICTs). Digitization is the order of the day. We are glad
that this theme was chosen so that music professionals can debate on it
and come up with a clear roadmap on how to keep abreast with these new
information and communication tools…African music can make great strides
and reach out to new continental and global markets.’

At the First Plenary Session; African Music Marketing and Distribution,
Rikki Stein,   noted that the key to marketing is education. He opined
that young music industry practitioners must be ready to learn and get
their ‘teeth into the matter’. He also said that African artistes must
have the global music space in mind while working on their music.

Micheal Ugwu advised that Intellectual Property is important for every
artiste in the digital age. Ugwu noted that record labels makes 4 Million
dollars a day from streaming. ‘It is critical to have a great lawyer or a
great legal team’ he added. There are things such as DMCA, content IP to
protect copyright ownership but digital space gives the space of massive
reach as well as massive infringement.

Samo Onyemelukwe said that capacity development in the entertainment
industry in Africa is part of the goals of Trace TV. He said that it is
one of the reasons why it partnered with AFRIMA 2017. He encouraged music
artistes to develop a huge local base at home instead of making huge music
investments with worldwide tours. Onyemelukwe said that more investments
need to be plugged in to develop and create music content in Africa. He
also said that they have launched a digital streaming platform, Trace
Play, which gives subscribers access to over 200 entertainment channels
affiliated to Trace.

Kelvin Orifa, said that artistes don’t have to be part of big record
labels.  He noted that Independent artistes control about 37% of the music
profits in the world. He stated that artistes and artiste managers ‘spend
so much time on the outward appearance instead the nucleus of  the music
itself-which is ensuring the music itself is right’.

Orifa said that artiste managers need to answer the basic analytics to
reach its audience. ‘Who your fan is, where are they—it is a world without
borders but the fan base may be sitting here in Africa. How best you can
reach them—is it on tours, the media’. Orifa also commented that the
African Union must encourage a unified policy where African songs are not
restricted to its country by national copyright policies.

Munya Chanetsa, explained the factors that have made music an emerging
market such as reduction of data cost which encourages streaming, cheap
and locally produced Smart phones which increases the access to African
music. He noted that streaming technology through its algorithms will
suggest music content around the interest of the consumer, thereby making
the industry a consumer-centric one. The fluidity of financial exchange
through electronic channels has also helped access purchase to live music

After the break The 2nd Plenary Session tagged Music Business Financing in
Africa was opened by Femi Osinubi.  Osinubi made his presentation based on
the PwC 5 year forecast of the Electronic and Media (E&M) industry in
2017. The forecast projected a growth in the entertainment industry in
Nigeria where he highlighted the emerging trends in Africa. Osinubi said
that globally E&M is on a decline but projection on Nigeria shows that E&M
industry will enjoy a 12.1% percent growth with technological advancements
in the music industry. He agreed with other stakeholders that streaming,
freemiums and audience centred promotions are some of the strategies used
by players in the industry.  Albeit the stiff competition in the industry
and the engagement of international music interest in the continent,
Osunibi is hopeful that once the government can create and enforce
policies against piracy, the industry will grow exponentially.

Dr Sipho Sithole noted that African music must be appreciated as the
foundations of popular music genres like Jazz, Pop and Blues, which was
developed after the Trans-Atlantic enslavement. Beyond the cultural
appreciation, African music ought to be paid for its intellectual property
deposited in the archives of the West without royalties to the original
creators of the music content. He is hopeful that with the celebration of
African legends like Fela, Hugh Masekela, Manu Dibango, music artistes
like Davido, Sauti Soul and Yemi Alade have a quantifiable and enviable
heritage to contribute to.

Ibrahim El Mazned said that Africans need to collaborate more in the music
business. He said that the current music infrastructure will not be able
to involve the international markets. ‘The whole of Africa has five music
markets while France has seven music markets’.  Mazned launched Visa for
Music, a platform set to solve the collaboration challenges in the
continent by exposing African music to the Middle East and the rest of the

Kenny Ogungbe noted that the digital space is the future and that we must
all move with the times in order not to be left out. He recounted the era
of music CDs, ‘Those days, Eedris Abdulkareem slept under the bridge,
2Face shared a flat with Plantashun Boyz. The first song ever to be played
on MTV was a song by 2face’ now you have all sorts of platforms where
music artistes can earn money through the click of the button’.

Representing the MD, United Capital Securities Ltd, Jude Chiemaka, Wale
Onusi, asserted that Nigeria entertainment industry contributes 95 jobs to
the economy annually. This 1% job increase has pushed the nation’s GDP to
1.5 Trillion Naira and this growth is likely to double in few years. He
noted that Music has become a business and the criteria for getting
funding starts is the quality of the music, and the ability of artistes
and managers to sell their dreams to investors in a business-like manner.

Meanwhile, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are eager for the
AFRIMA 2017 awards ceremony as the African-American Pop-icon, Akon and
Cameroonian diva-broadcaster, Sophy Aiida will host the World Class music
event at 6PM on Sunday, 12 November 2017, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria
Island, Lagos. The main awards ceremony will take place after the Red
Carpet session where the crème of the creative industry, music lovers and
diplomatic and government personalities will make their presence grand at
the AFRIMA 2017 Red Carpet.


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