Stakeholders in the African creative market have suggested ways that could enhance music business across the continent.
The music industry stakeholders were speaking during a workshop at the Africa Creative Market ‘Music Day’, which was hosted by Paramount Africa’s MTV Base on September 2, 2022 at Landmark Event Centre, Lagos.
An efficient business model, according to them, will steer the industry in the right direction; encourage show promoters and boost quality deliveries in album releases and stage performances by the artistes.
For them, the bottom-line arts would be value for money offerings for fans and improved revenue for the artistes and promoters.
The workshop-led programme of the event was motivated by the need for creative talents to increase their capacity and upskill individuals with potential to grow their creative passion and enterprise, but lack such skills.
Pointing out areas of need in the industry, the stakeholders noted that the elimination of barriers that often limit artistes from fulfilling the contractual obligations they signed with show promoters and expected quality delivery for the fans will help in putting in place workable structure and ensuring progress in the industry.
Also needed for sustainable growth in the African music industry, according to the stakeholders, is a platform to share future-proof business models, provide access to trade finance, increase creative export and standards as well as promote data-based understanding of creatives.
The above were the reasons the Africa Creative Market (ACM) was created and the event at Landmark Event Centre, Lagos, was one of the efforts at closing the gaps in the industry.
In line with the reasons, the event programme covered four areas of enterprise in the creative space; film, music, dance and fashion. There were master classes hosted by diverse industry leads such as: Segun Ogunleye of Seven Up Bottling Company; Ernest Audu, head of global business, The Bridgelight (New York); Yemisi Falaye, entertainment lawyer; Marc Byers, strategic advisor at AMP Global Technologies, among others.
Moreover, the event featured a season tagged ‘Take Back The Mic’, where some emerging talents took advantage of the platform to pitch their music to the judges, who included; Praiz, Daniel Obende and Pheelz.
Speaking at the event’s discussion session, the panel decried situations where artistes fail to show up in shows and defaulting in their contract obligation; a sad situation the panel said often lead to demand for refund by the organisers.
In the cases where the artistes are ready, the panel noted that technical issues such as poor sound production and lighting challenge could result in bad stage performance, as well as security.
The discussants included; Nelson Jack, king of the stage; Alex Hugher, talent manager, Paramount; Larry Gaaga, vice president, Def Jams Records; Foza Fawehinmin, music business executive, Digital Music Commerce and Exchange Limited, while Ilo Omohinmin moderated the session.
Fawehinmin decried that many artistes do not respect the contract obligations with their clients as they show up late to a stage performance and warned that such act has a legal consequence.
“I do not see any reason an artiste should fail to honour his contract agreement with his clients by showing up late to the stage for performance. The law is clear about it. Once an artiste is contracted for a job with a payment, he has to perform to respect the agreement”, Fawehinmin noted.
Fawehinmin, an entertainment lawyer, explained further that in a situation where there is a breach of an agreement resulting in a dispute between both parties, the matter can be brought before an arbitration court for adjudication based on the provisions of the law.
She advised that clients that sign agreements with artistes, should honour the agreements to ensure fulfillment of the obligations on both parties.
For artistes that fail to honour agreement with clients, Fawehinmin warned that there the artiste risks a negative image that can affect his/her reputation, as such a situation could trigger a backlash from fans and reduce the artiste’s chances of brand ambassadorial deals with companies.
Trailing the safety line, entertainment lawyer pointed out that there is need to ensure the safety of the artiste while performing on stage as the client is answerable to law in case of assault on the artiste.
For Alex Hughes, the organisers should also price the artistes well as good reward will motivate the artiste to deliver on stage.
“I always push for balance and expectations. It is a two-way thing. Whoever is booking an artiste for a performance needs to ensure that the artiste is well paid”, Hughes said, noting further that good sound and lighting effects will boost the artiste’s confidence to perform.
On his part, Nelson Jack highlighted the importance of time for preparation in a live show. Setting up the stage for performance, according to him, takes some days and should not be done in a hurry to avoid failure.
Citing an instance with Nigeria, he said, “My country is a last-minute quick service when it comes to stage setting. The stage is set up almost at the same time given to an artiste to perform. In some cases the artiste could wait till the things are set”.
For DJ Excel, the majority of artistes take time for granted because they usually come late to the stage.
“It is amazing how some artistes take time for granted not knowing that there is a consequence for it. Artistes should understand that they have an obligation to honour”, he said.
He noted that live performance brings people into the world of an artiste, hence they should tell a story when they have the opportunity to perform on stage, and connect with the audience.
Speaking at the event, Bada Akintunde Johnson, country manager, Paramount Africa, Nigeria and co-founder of Africa Creative Market, described ACM as a fantastic show, considering the impressive responses from the beginning of the week-long event.
He however, observed the grey areas that needed improvement in the market to get things right.
He stressed the importance of branding to an artiste, but lamented that some artistes are misfits for branding due to the quality of their music and their lifestyle.
He noted that there are situations where clients signed in an artiste whose kind of music or orientation does not really represent the brand they have signed because the client did not consider some factors before making a decision.
However, he is optimistic of a great and glorious future for the ACM because the market has a lot to offer, but that the ACM needs capacity building, the right network and access to funding to sustain the market.
Johnson noted that Nigeria is dominating the creative space in Africa with ubiquitous potential talents across the country, adding that the government needs to formulate friendly policies that will stimulate growth of the entertainment industry.