morning, I will like to recognize the chairman of this occasion, the special
guest of honor, members of the high table and distinguished members of the
Nigerian press, especially the entertainment journalists. You are all welcome
to AFRIMA stakeholder’s forum.
me start off by saluting the courage of the organizers, All Africa Music Awards
(AFRIMA) for their devoted courage to organize an auspicious event like this
where issues relating to the development of the African Music Industry are
raised for the purpose of showcasing ideas and breeding agendas that will enact
socio-economic progress for the industry.
was far away in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab
on a special assignment when I got the mail inviting me for this
occasion last Tuesday. On one hand, I initially felt the need to shy away from
the subject matter because of the shuddering emotions majority of our people
habitually attach to one’s contribution (I and my partner, Kenny Ogungbe) to the development
of the modern day entertainment industry in Nigeria. Our interventionist role
in the last 18 years through innovative radio and television programming
coupled with our event management skill is largely seen in certain quarters as
an over hype. But in a shift of thought, I felt honored with the credible
intention of the organizers who deemed it fit to let the horse speak by itself
in order for all to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth. I appreciate your
honest discretion and for this reason, I made it a point of duty not just to
honor the invitation but as well submit my own honest opinion on how we can continue
to develop a robust music industry that will generate real economic gains for
Africa beyond that of oil and gas.  
 Let me use this moment to tell you that I will
try as much as possible to act the role of your favorite lecturer in class, so
that I don’t burn your feelings with hard facts and deflate your patience with
dry speech-making.
theme “Harnessing our Music Potential for Africa’s Development” is a
timely discuss especially as regards the near time fear of losing our economic
meal ticket of crude oil and the bad
diplomacy brewing among nations in our continent. At a time when Nigeria is now
the target of diplomatic foolery in countries like Ghana, Malaysia, South
Africa, Cameroon, the Gambia and Zimbabwe where the President, Robert
recently labeled us “a country of corrupt people”; maybe the
only commodity at this very peculiar time that is sellable from us to them apart
from politics and diplomacy is Music. Call it the “diplomacy of the
beats” and I will score you high. Our music as we all know is now the biggest
radiation across Africa. If we are to develop Africa, and diplomacy is going to
fail us in the long run and our oil power will not measure up why not sell our Music?
Of course, music which is the undisputable language of the universe will
never break us but cement us further for a better living.
the sub-theme, “Music Returns beyond an award” is more like a wake up call for
us to make the gold glitter rather than the present mirage masquerading as
reality.  It is a call to duty, for all
stakeholders including AFRIMA and the rest of us to look at the critical
problems in terms of wealth allocation, which foster progress in the industry
in past times and for us to make rules for a new way the artiste in Nigeria and
elsewhere can benefit from the toil of his brain.
Let’s define Music
opening the bottle to consume the drink, let us search out for the content
information. Let’s take it from the cradle by asking ourselves “What is Music?”
the Harvard word encyclopedia dictionary defines music as “the expression of
feelings and ideas in organized sounds; an art which in one way or the other
permeates the human society; a multi-dimensional art which lends itself to
alliances with words (as in song) and in physical movement (as in dance)”.
permeating the human society, we can all see that Music has been with us since
the beginning of time. A number of great philosophers see Music from different perspectives,
Aristotle sees Music as a ‘diverse
and complicated network which has the power to mold human character” while Pythagoras one of the founders of
Mathematics and first musical numerologist insisted that “Music was a branch of
mathematics for philosophers”.  I don’t
know if we are to agree with him, that music is an offshoot of Math.
Confucius in his own remarks says
“Music is a true mirror of character and makes pretense or deception impossible
for it can reveal character through six emotions”, to Confucius Music can
portray sorrow, satisfaction, joy, anger, pity and love” whereas Plato,
one of the greatest of them all sees Music as “a department of ethics”. He sees
a similarity between the character of a man and the music that he presents”.
Africa is seeing the character of big brother Nigeria through the  music we present and we can equally see the
character of our sister nations from the kind of Music they present. We at Primetime
and Kennis Music have facilitated several musical collaborations
between local and international artistes in the past to the adoration of Pan
African Musical Development
. Some of our major artistes in time past
and right now have won several awards across Africa and even in Europe and
America. And the attendant riches that characterized that effort can only be
measured from their present status. Name it from Tuface Idibia to Lagbaja
and several others we have made our mark known in the sands of time.
What music means to Africa
Africa is part of the global village, I will like to say that Music as a
vocation is a phenomenon that lends itself to different interpretations and
opinions of people and as such, different societies have various traditions of
Music origin which can be broadly classified into natural and supernatural
or divine
sources. It could also be sub-divided into religious and social
sources. Therefore, for the sake of this paper, it is important for us to adopt
a general approach and look at Music as a body of information about the society
in which it took roots and its use and impact on that society in the realm of copyright.
Copyright is closely related to music; it is one of the major pillars of the
Music industry; a cornerstone and undisputable factor for the very existence of
that industry.
paper is determined to look at how we can harness our music potential for the
development of our continent but in trying to x-ray the topic, we need to
equally look at the mystery of globalization and how it affects us as a
continent. How it affects the economy of our own Music or the Music of our
economy.  In 2011, it was globally acclaimed
that the United State Music industry net a profit after tax of $15.2 Billion Dollars with digital
surpassing physical (CDs and Cassettes) for the first time in history
according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers,
a leading global rating agency.  That
should tell us something about the future of Music economy, globally.  While we can say America remains the biggest
western Music market, it will not be wrong to say Nigeria is taking that role
right away in Africa and the fact that our artistes are heard everywhere from
Gambia to Ghana, Sierra Leone to South Africa, Kenya to Kinshasha, Zambia to
Zaire, Cotonou to Cameroon and elsewhere; coupled with the several awards that
is rolling in, name it, KORA, MTV Awards, Channel O,  Ghana Music Awards and many others, Nigeria
and Nigerian Music has proved beyond doubt that we are leading in the continent
and that we are indeed developing the continent through Music. In recent times,
we have gradually moved from what was formerly termed a “music scene” to a “music
industry”. From Remedies’ Mi o Shakomo to Don Jazzy and Dr.
Sid’s Suru-Lere, our boys have really proved their mettle on this
continent and have come to be regarded as men.
in tackling the challenges of “Music Returns beyond an Award”, I will go back
to the Globalization mystery I highlighted earlier. The question is; what makes
Music work as business for them in America that doesn’t work for us in Nigeria
or Africa?  The answer is- Digital technology. Digital technologies have revolutionized the music
industry by creating high quality, low cost recording technologies and digital distribution
strategy along with the proliferation of devices to download and listen to music
without recourse to the label owner or the artiste. As a label manager, one’s
experience in the management of artistes’ reputation and career is enough
education to bring us to modern reality.
So, what can the Music industry do
is the father of invention, so they say. If Africa must harness her musical
potential for economic gains that will develop her; and if the music must pay
the bills of the artiste beyond the accolades he or she gets from the plaques
then, we must harness the potential of the peer-to-peer technologies through a
robust act of copyright enforcement. Saddled 
with a nightmarish experience of seeing the revenues of Record labels
falling by more than 60 percent in recent times due to the fact that copying
music has become so easy and the risk of getting caught minimal, one can say it
is high time that the industry yield to “Change” which is the constant thing in
life. And this time around, we are talking about a digital change that will
drive a Techno-Savvy economy.
 This paper will try to look at certain
strategies that both government and private sector can imbibe for the
development of Africa’s music industry. We must equally take note of the fact
that Africa is part of the global village and the same rudiment of success in
America can also work for Nigeria and Africa. And the same measure of failure
in Somalia can also be adapted here for maximum crash.  Here are some ways in which African music
industry could adapt and in some cases already is adapting. I want to also let
us know one thing before I delve into the necessary solutions. One, the future
is bound to be different from the past and secondly, easy piracy through
technology or any other form of copyright infringement does not mean the death
of creativity in the music industry.
The performance economy
African music industry is lucky with the decade old presence of the
telecommunications companies on our continent. Let me use the Nigerian example
as a good case study. The most obvious adaptation in the face of the digital
technology induced loss of revenue for the artiste and label owner is stage
performance. Yes, the creative product is easy to steal but you cannot steal a
live performance. Can any body here tell me how pirates can steal live
performances of musicians? (Quiet for response before continuing) if No, then
we can tell you that the centrality of live performances is of great benefit to
the musician. With the likes of Glo Campus blast by Glo the telecommunications brand and
Nigerian Breweries’ Star Trek and many other innovative ideas by telecommunication
firms in Nigeria, the musician can conveniently make a fortune for himself on a
steady rise. This is an addendum to the endorsement spree that is fast changing
the fortune of the industry in Nigeria and Africa by extension.  By shifting the business model away from
easily copied product in form of an album or a song, and towards the
hard-to-replicate stage performance (Concert) that can help to stabilize the
fortune of the musician. That is one area I seek to promote as the new cash-crow
for the African Musician which can also bring rewards beyond the awards.
A need for a regulated Digital Retail
proposing a live performance strategy for the musician to survive and live his
worth in the face of a new digital economy sapping dilemma, this paper is not
unaware of the fact that some artistes are not just good for the stage. In a 21st
century technology driven music recording industry, what has changed is the
extensive development in information storage, personal computing and digital
networks. And since technology is no respecter of barriers, what is clear here
is the need for re-direction in digital retail economy where music
consumers can purchase (stream) items to use on their digital devices i.e.,
iTunes, Blackberry, PCs etc via a regulated and mature ecosystem of platforms
regulated by law. As the recording industry matures into this ecosystem, the
Musician and his label owner will need the joint efforts of information
technology specialists to work hand in hand with the PR, marketing and legal
department to fashion out the best strategy for the artiste to earn his fortune
successfully. We are in the age where music bloggers and blogging is the game
of the day; where majority of young people have demonstrated a voracious
appetite for online music.  To them, this
is a new technology that offers more choice than the old technology of CDs and
LPs. Of course, this system has made music to be easier to copy but can we stop
the blaze of technology? Can we suppress the whims and caprices of the surge it
brings along? No. but we can regulate it in a way that it will benefit the
continent through a legally monitored framework.  In achieving this, we must force the hand of
government to regulate the new industry through standard copyright laws that
will guarantee fortunes on the part of the artiste and decrease fraud from techno-piracy.
In arriving at this, legitimate subscription services for the various artistes and
music labels will provide effective streaming unto subscribers’ network devices
for a monthly charge just like blackberry users do to enjoy the services on a
monthly regime. This sleek service will enable users to legally stream millions
of high quality tracks-including whole albums from a deep library of mainstream
and independent artiste across Africa. But in achieving that, the government
across African nations must imbibe the already accessible articles of a digital
millennium copyright act
which will aide and guide the new industry.
Our industry must wake to the reality of using the rule of law to enforce the
rule of money. This is the only way the industry will grow out of its present
ignorance and yield bountiful success that will be part of growth statistic for
A case for the Copyright economy
fact that technology seeks to globalize everything across continents including
Music will mean that intellectual properties are not necessarily exploited at a
national level alone but at a global level. A fraudulently streamed album of Tuface Idibia, D-banj or Don-Jazzy will go as far as Asia and
via the internet. And this could mean economic gains for some techno-fraud
experts somewhere who are not part of the creative venture of the artiste or
his label management.  Hence the need for
us to seek an international and trans-boarder copyright law that can safe guide
the economy of Africa’s Music Industry. One of such intellectual organization
is the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which was
established by a convention signed at Stockholm on July 14, 1967 and titled
“Convention Establishing the World intellectual Property Organization”. One of
the major objectives of WIPO is to:
protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation
among states and where appropriate, in collaboration with any other
international organization.
regards the promotion of intellectual properties through out the world, WIPO
encourages the conclusion of new international treaties and the modernization
of national legislations. It equally gives technical assistance to developing
African Countries. As far as WIPO’s status as a specialized agency of the United Nations is concerned, it is to
be noted that under article 1 of its agreement with the United Nations, WIPO is responsible for taking appropriate action
in accordance with its basic instrument and the treaties and the agreement
administered by it, inter-alia for promoting creative intellectual activity
which is subject to the competence of the United Nations System. In planning
and implementing its objectives for developing countries, WIPO is guided by the
relevant objectives of international cooperation for development, with
particular reference to making full use of intellectual property for
encouraging domestic creative activity, for facilitating the use of literary
and artistic works of foreign origin and for organizing easier access to the
scientific information contained in millions of patent documents across the
world, all these should  serve the
cultural, economic and social development of Africa through the development of
our music industry. WIPO if courted well could be the desired vehicle that will
carry us to the land of real economic success in Music business.
countries including Nigeria was
party to the convention establishing the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) on April 9, 1965, the convention constitution in 1965 was
amended in 1979.
Summing it Up
copying through digital piracy is a fact of life in the music world, yet music
is not dying and it won’t die. The artiste could sing good songs, organizations
could commend his efforts with plaques but your question is where the money is?
What happened to material success?  But
this paper still believes that music is the next economic earner for Africa
even more than oil and gas; we may be facing challenges now, but we will win in
the long run and the business will continue. The practitioners will continue to
practice and creativity will continue to be the hallmark.  From the label owner perspective, life has
never been better, more musical choices, more easily obtained than ever before.
Yet the music industry can change further to better survive a world of easy
copying by taking into strict considerations the major objectives that has been
highlighted in this paper. Here, AFRIMA and other stakeholder have a lot of
work to do. First is to convince government of the day across Africa, that
music can bring real money than oil, gold, diamond and other natural resources.
And that the better government forms the credible habit of giving  legal protection to that industry through the
articles of thorough bred organizations like WIPO coupled with strong effective
local legislative acts that will inculcate the reality of technological
influences, the better for a robust economic development  gain that will develop Africa. The result
will be a very different music industry and a world with a lot of great music
from AFRICA.

you all. 


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