BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

‘Intellectual property protection is an excellent opportunity for Nigerian creatives’

Oyinkansola Fawehinmi, popularly known as ‘Foza’, is the president at Digital Music and Commerce Exchange Limited (DMCE), a firm that provides sustainable wealth for the African intellectual property market in the entertainment industry.

In this interview with BUNMI BAILEY, Foza discusses her recently launched new product called Orin Fund and how it will meet the needs of entertainers across Africa.

Excerpts:

Tell us about your career trajectory as an entertainment lawyer/ music business executive?

I began my career nine years ago as a road manager at Monarc Entertainment, where I managed the press rounds for Burna Boy’s debut album ‘L.I.F.E’. I also coordinated Chee’s tour arrangement for her ambassadorial role. Subsequently, I moved to Incubation Factory as head of business and sometimes album executive producer.

Having made up my mind to do things differently, I co-founded Technolawgical Partners, a boutique law firm that services individuals and companies in the creative and tech industry; alongside my partner and friend Iredumare Opeyemi in 2015/2016. I oversaw the firm’s affairs as a managing partner until December 2020.

The Nigerian music industry is now globally accepted; what are the opportunities for creatives and investors?

Intellectual property protection is an excellent opportunity for Nigerian creatives. While this may seem trite, everyone working in the entertainment value chain should play the long game in terms of ownership and understanding how their hard work can produce value and rewards.

Through master recording, publishing, or whatever form the rewards come, creators must always be holistically on the lookout for revenue streams. They must position themselves to attract and extract value from each revenue stream.

Additionally, having a successful career as an artiste takes hard work when you add the mental strain of trying to produce a profitable piece of art and the stress of raising the funding.

For example, to hire a publicist or producer to help you promote and produce your project, the pressure can severely impede your growth. However, access to proper funding can help you advance your career.

Hence, the Orin Fund is crucial, as it eliminates the need for artistes to chase down private investors for meager funds with stringent terms to reach their career goals.

Investors now have various options for getting value from artistes as long as they invest in intellectual property rather than just cars or clothes. Orin Fund is an excellent example of how intellectual property is milked by making good money and ensuring everyone who contributed, including artistes and investors, profit from it.

Read also: Intellectual property concerns for social media influencers in Nigeria

Having brokered huge deals, what are the factors you consider before working with a clientele?

My client’s needs are unique, and the need to work with artiste A may differ from artiste B. However, I look for creatives passionate about making profitable work and ready to listen to knowledgeable counsel.

What is the Orin Fund all about and will it benefit artistes?

A significant challenge facing artistes is access to funds, as discussed earlier. With the Orin Fund, artistes can seek financing for their projects from various sources.

In most cases, we approach private investors to raise funds for the artistes and guarantee them returns after an agreed time.

By enabling artistes to actualize their projects, the fund helps investors find the right opportunities for their money.

How do you feel about joining Recording Academy Class 2022?

Globally, African music is at a crucial point in its history. Therefore, it is noteworthy that the recording academy recognizes and includes African voices. Having been recognized by the academy after judicious scrutiny, I am pleased and honored to contribute to the representation of Africans globally.

What should readers expect from ‘So Far, So Foza’, your new book?

I am thrilled about the book because it allows me to get personal and tell my story. It is basically about my life from childhood up until this moment. I realized that many people have almost no idea of my story and how it has shaped who I am today. So, I really cannot wait for it to hit the stores.

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