• Monday, July 22, 2024
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High data cost hindering music consumption, discovery — Temi Adeniji

High data cost hindering music consumption, discovery — Temi Adeniji

Warner Music Africa Managing Director Temi Adeniji has said expensive mobile data is limiting music consumption and discovery in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The music MD disclosed this in a recent podcast interview with Music Business Worldwide, where she discussed the commercial potential of Sub-Saharan Africa’s music industry. While acknowledging the region’s impressive growth in recorded music revenues, Adeniji emphasised the need to address key domestic challenges to realise this potential fully.

Adeniji identified two primary obstacles: underdeveloped music ecosystems and high data costs. The lack of effective performance rights organizations (PROs) and collective management organisations (CMOs) in most countries, excluding South Africa, hinders fair compensation for artists and rightsholders.

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“South Africa stands apart as the sole country in the region with well-established and efficient CMOs and PROs for music copyright collections. In contrast, most other Sub-Saharan countries grapple with competing CMOs and PROs, often plagued by mismanagement and inefficiencies. This fragmented landscape not only undermines the industry’s overall value but also deprives artists and rightsholders of a reliable mechanism for fair compensation,” Adeniji said.

She noted that expensive mobile data limits music consumption and discovery, especially in comparison to a country like India, where a large-scale campaign to expand high-speed internet access significantly boosted music consumption.

Adeniji also pointed to expensive mobile data as a significant barrier to music consumption and discovery in Sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on her experience in India, she highlighted the transformative impact of a nationwide campaign to expand high-speed internet access.

Between 2017 and 2018, Adeniji witnessed firsthand how Reliance Jio’s offer of free 4Gb data for six months increased mobile data usage, making India a top consumer. This example illustrated the potential for similar initiatives in Africa to unlock music consumption by providing affordable internet access to previously underserved populations.

However, Adeniji acknowledged the challenges posed by Sub-Saharan Africa’s lower population density, which makes replicating such a campaign more costly and complex.

She highlighted the impressive growth of Sub-Saharan Africa’s music industry, noting a 20 percent rise in recorded music revenues, reaching $92 million. However, she emphasised the need to view this progress within the context of the region’s vast potential.

With only 40 million subscribers across various platforms, market penetration remains at a modest 3 percent of the population of 1.2 billion.

Adeniji believes that achieving even a 30 percent penetration rate, with users paying an average of 50 cents per month, could generate an additional $160 million in revenue, underscoring the immense untapped commercial potential within the region.

She stated that overcoming these challenges is crucial for Sub-Saharan Africa to move beyond being primarily an export-driven market. By establishing functional regulatory bodies and improving internet affordability and accessibility, the region can empower its artists and foster a more sustainable and thriving domestic music industry.

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When asked about her confidence in the current era of multinational music company investment in the region compared to the past, Adeniji expressed optimism, stating, “I think the approach is different now.” She contrasted the previous approach of “just come here, set up shop, and take” with the current focus on investing in local entrepreneurs who have built businesses in challenging environments.

Adeniji also highlighted the collaborative efforts of major music companies and organisations like the IFPI to establish essential industry infrastructure, such as music charts in South Africa and, most recently, Nigeria. She emphasised the importance of these foundational elements for a functional music industry.

“And as we work together, I think that we can cut through and build something more sustainable than what it was last time because that was, by and large, completely export-driven from both a commercial and also from a cultural perspective,” Adeniji stated.

She believes the current focus on building local infrastructure and supporting organisations on the ground will contribute to a more sustainable and thriving music industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adeniji envisions a future where pop music is shaped by diverse influences from various regions, including Africa. She highlighted that the current dominance of Anglo-centric pop would give way to a more democratised soundscape, with artists drawing inspiration from each other across genres and geographical boundaries. In this evolving global pop milieu, Adeniji predicts that Africa and Nigeria will play a crucial role in a global pop milieu.

Billboard recognised Temi Adeniji in the 2024 International Power Players publication and 2023 Women in Music.