Discussants at the All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA) 2017, on Friday unanimously called for digitisation of music produced in the African continent, to ensure global competitiveness.
The discussants, who made the call at the Music Business Roundtable of the 2017 AFRIMA in Lagos, said that Africa should not be tardy with digitisation of its music brands.
The event had as its theme: “Digital Takeover: Shaping the Future of African Music, Money, and Media.
The AFRIMA is a world-class event that holds annually with live performances by celebrity artistes and televised broadcast to 84 countries around the world.
Some of the panelists include General Manager , Sony Music (West Africa), Michael Ugwu; the Chief Executive Officer, (CEO), Lead Consultant, Kelvin Orifa and CEO, Kalakuta Sunrise Ltd, Rikki Stein.
Others include, Managing Director, Trace T.V, Sam Onyemelukwe and Head of Culture Division, Department of Social Affairs, African Union, Angela Martins.
Ugwu said that embracing digitisation would not only boost the revenue from the entertainment industry, but also put it on the global map.
“We need to get it right that digitisation will help a lot in our projection to the global market; the more we participate the more our music travels.
“It has a lot of impact aside of the monetary values. Many of the artistes are terrified of live streaming of their music asking what they would gain from it since it’s been streamed live.
“There are lots of gains in it; there are lots of negotiations going on about the benefits of live streaming though I also have a bad experience with one of my clients.
“Sometimes live streaming allows for the global views of music because it travels faster than putting on a site for people to download, which may consume more data,’’ he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, (CEO), Lead Consultant, Kelvin Orifa, said that there were lots of opportunity in the marketing of music.
According to him, the only thing left for the artistes is to provide the right content.
“I had to resign my job at one of the leading communication companies to pursue a career in marketing of music which I found rewarding.
The right content
“I think with the right content, music from Africa is on the right path, we now have more demands for African music and more collaboration with African Musicians.
“We still need more content to be out there and compete well in the global circuit. My companies now have been able to gather experience in interacting with other segment in the market.
“We should take knowledge of the market seriously and add it to capacity building of our musicians,’’ he said.
Orifa said that marketing music need a lot of projection as to when to expect yields from the music and also the benefits the content providers would derive from their intellectual property.
“Music marketers must take a short term and long term view of their production. It is by finding the environment where the music will sell and be appreciated.
“A lot of music companies have been in existence for many years but not persistent today because here we are today; about 15 years ago the world bloggers didn’t exist.
“The industry like other industry are brands and products, they existed years ago but now going into extinction. We need to have projection because of the dynamics of digitisation.
“A very strong brand will have a history, a story line of where it’s coming from. So, projection is the key to the digitisation,’’ he said.
Patience is key
Also, Onyemelukwe of Trace Music, said that artistes need to be patient with their music before thinking they are on the world map.
“Digitisation is a boom; we need to do more of live streaming for the world to see. Many people around the world now want to listen to African tunes online.
“Although the bandwidth in Africa as regards to live streaming is still low, we need something above the present 4G network that we are using, we need 5G.
“Digitisation of our music makes it travel faster and make it known to the world. We may say that it is not very profitable, but it takes artists to places where they can never imagine,’’ he said.
The CEO, Kalakuta Sunrise Ltd, Rikki Stein said that the music from Africa could dominate the world if musicians could come out with more appealing contents.
“We see many good musicians in Africa who we will like to partner, but we need more content because some are dry of ideas after a major boost.
“Tunes from Africa are appealing most especially contemporary music. Good music is played in bars, in clubs and I wonder why such music is not out there on the global scene.
“The reason is that we have not gone digital enough, more people need to appreciate the music to get recognition and invitation to world concerts.
“I also don’t understand why we say Africans cannot pay to watch concerts, if the music is good, they will pay, it is a matter of content,’’ he said.