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The Nigerian & South African music industries: two African giants looking at each other, looking at the world

African music industry

African music industryToday, all eyes are on the African music industry. Nigeria and South Africa are massive music markets taking African sounds to global stages. How do Nigerian and South African music industries compare and influence each other? The Nigerian and South African music industries Beyond their differences… On the one hand, South Africa: for a long […]

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She demanded to be seen as a “woman” and she owned that – Interview with Women In Music

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women-in-music-interview-nicole-barsalonaAs we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse […]

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There’s now much more awareness of the existing gender imbalance in the music industry – Francine Gorman, Keychange

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francine-gorman-keychnage-interviewAs we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse […]

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Make gender parity and diversity & inclusion a long lasting reality.- Andreea Magdalina, shesaid.so

Andreea-Magdalina-shesaid.so-interview

Andreea-Magdalina-shesaid.so-interviewAs we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse […]

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There has been a wake up call in music industry – Celine Lepage, FELIN and Loren Synnaeve, MEWEM

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celine-lepage-felin-loren-synnaeve-mewem-interviewAs we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse […]

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Women ’s role and place in today’s music industry

women-in-music

women-in-musicAs we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse […]

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African music: the birthplace of today’s popular music genres – Interview with Tosin Sorinola, Boomplay

Tosin-Sorinola-Boomplay

Midem comes back to Africa for the third edition of the Midem African Tour & Forum.

Midem aims to accelerate the digital revolution in Africa by creating bridges between the continent and the rest of the world. This initiative aims to foster bilateral exchanges between national and international music executives and sectors in order to facilitate the structuring and professionalisation of the African market. This year, Midem is sponsored by Boomplay, the biggest streaming platform in Africa.

In this exclusive interview of Boomplay’s Head of Marketing Africa, Tosin Sorinola, discover more about Boomplay and its expectations for the African music market.

 

> Who are you and what is Boomplay?

Boomplay is a music streaming and download service provided by Transsnet Music Limited. As of January 2020, Boomplay has over 68 million users globally and it consistently ranks as one of the top downloaded mobile apps in Africa.

 

We know there’s potential for regional and international growth amongst the young, mobile-friendly and music-hungry fan base in the African continent. How do you see that potential developing and via what channels?

As internet and mobile penetration increases, and data costs decrease, the African youth will have easier and more affordable access to digital platforms and media such as music. The current upwards projectile of technological advancement is only the tip of the iceberg and we are expecting further exponential growth in the consumption of music streaming in the near future. For the African continent, what we can expect is what we are experiencing globally at the moment, where music easily transcends continents and languages and the African youth will be able to access any music they want from across the globe via platforms like Boomplay.

 

> What are the key reasons international players aim to grow their presence in the continent and work with African artists? 

International players see Africa as a market with huge potential that is still in its infancy. They see a billion people population that has a rich heritage in music and where music runs through the veins of the population. African music is the birthplace of many of the better-known music genres we know today, so it’s safe to say that music is almost second nature Africans. Working with African artists gives these players insight into the workings of the market and what artists are looking for through partnerships or collaborations.

 

> With social media and the entrepreneurial spirit amongst African artists, how do you see do-it-yourself music evolving in the years to come?

I think the potential of independent artists is there for all to see from what we witnessed in 2019 globally. With so many aggregators and distributors available and equipment costs becoming more affordable, aspiring artists are now able to reach a global audience at the touch of a button. Top hits and viral songs can now all be made in your own bedroom and with the help of platforms like Boomplay who offer guidance and mentorship for new artists in the industry, the sky really is the limit.

 

Concerning copyright, what is the best way to create structure for African artists to be paid for the music they create?

Firstly, artists need to understand their own rights and what kind of royalties they should be receiving. They need to then understand where and how they should register their rights in terms of publishing and which channels they should be receiving these from. Through this education, artists will learn that it’s not beneficial for them to provide their music for free to pirate blogs for the sake of exposure, as we mentioned above, this can be easily attainable via social media and streaming platforms like ours. Aside from this, the African industry suffers from the same problems as the global scene, where there are too many companies doing the same thing and not one single point of contact or way of doing things. Moving forward, government and industry stakeholders need to work together to try and figure out the best way to reach a mutually beneficial structure. 

 

What are the main challenges and opportunities companies and artistes face in working towards the development of the African music ecosystem?

The main challenges we face as a streaming company are the still developing technological infrastructure, internet penetration and high data costs. The music industry as a whole still deeply feels the effects of piracy and lack of knowledge amongst artists in terms of copyright and royalties. All the above challenges are also opportunities and gaps in the market which Boomplay is working to fill in, to offer professional services to artists and lobbying to strengthen copyright laws throughout the continent.

 

>Why do you partnership this year with the Midem African Forum?

Boomplay is building the most reliable and transparent music-ecosystem in Africa. By partnering with Midem that is the leading international event for the global music community, Midem Africa further strengthens Boomplay’s position as the leading light of the African music industry.

 

Want to join Midem African Forum 2020? Find out more

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How Music Learned to Love Startups

As we move into the next decade it is clear that the music industry is a different place from 10 years ago, particularly where its approach to music business startups concerned.

Warner Music has its own investment arm; Universal Music has a global network of startup departments, while independent entertainment-focused startup accelerators such as The Lynk are forging strong partnerships between labels, creativity and innovation. What’s behind this change and what does it mean for the future?

As CMU managing director and co-founder Chris Cooke points out, the music industry has to some degree been unfairly labelled as being resistant to startups and innovation generally: “Although labels have a history of resisting new technologies, in fact, the five years that it took them to come around to the shift from CDs to streaming was pretty quick, especially when you consider that they were looking at losing what had been a lucrative market for them. These days the majors have divisions that are genuine music startup accelerators, but still, you’ll find that a startup with a very radical business model would experience strong kickback.”

CMU MD and co-founder Chris Cooke

Cooke sees recent deals with TikTok and Facebook based around user-generated content (UGC), as being indicative of what we can expect to see in the next couple of years: “As YouTube was quick to point out, it has been facilitating that kind of music-based UGC for years, but I believe that we will see other manifestations of what is happening there – and on TikTok and Facebook – coming through very soon. Ultimately though, all of this is dependent on a constant flow of great music being discovered, nurtured and released. For me, startups should focus on artist/fan relationships and finding ways to bring the disparate sides of the industry together. For example, finding a solution to the number of separate deals you still have to make for merchandising, live work and management around any given artist would be genuinely useful.”

Ching Ching Chen, vice-president of business development at Capitol Music Group, reveals that Universal Music’s global policy concerning music startups is aimed at offering artists resources that help them connect with fans: “As a general rule we want to be sure that the tech we adopt is genuinely experiential, and in order to do that we look at everything from AR through to experimenting with new forms of storytelling.” In order to try and find the most relevant ideas, Capitol Music runs a twice-yearly cohort, where the best startups get to spend seven weeks being mentored in how the music industry really functions, the aim being to help them finesse their innovations.

“Embracing startups is one thing, but adopting those ideas is more complicated, because before you do that there’s a whole checklist of company processes that need to be aligned with and internal coordination that needs to take place around existing release plans,” Chen says. “Our goal is to help facilitate how startups navigate the music industry as we recognise how many layers there are in a label operation, and the equal importance of folding artists into these conversations –because ultimately, it’s about amplifying the artist’s voice and creative vision.”

Paris-based TheLynk, one of the selecting partners of MIDEMLAB, aims to connect creativity to technology. Founder Yann Baudelet agrees with CMU’s Cooke that the music industry is more innovative than is widely believed: “The live scene has always been very tech-driven, marketing also, and the people who listen to music are also very into technology, but at root the music industry is driven by creativity, and it’s crucial to protect and keep that human element. But equally, the music industry is so much more aware of the importance of innovation than it was and when you compare it to other, much more conservative industries, such as book publishing or cinema, it’s a pioneer.”

 

TheLynk founder Yann Baudelet

There is also, says Baudelet, that other thing about music: “It’s a testament to the strength in depth of the industry that the major labels not only still exist, they’re doing very well. It’s a very solid industry that has become adept at integrating technology. And this happened because it realised there was no choice. I think executives realised that the biggest threat to survival was not technology, it was a loss of creativity. And in fact, technology can be used to help artists in many ways. It can also create new, previously impossible experiences around music through UGC.”

Chilean startup Groovelist is, according to CEO Max de la Fuente, all about creating connections: “We are all about connectivity because we believe that artists aren’t being recognised, mainly because it’s hard to get into the music industry. We bring various players like labels, radio and festivals together in one place, alongside artists and label executives in order to create a matchmaking platform for the South America music industry. We currently have over 40,000 members signed up and we are launching in North America in February. We see Groovelist as a way to extend throughout the whole year the sort of creative interaction and sense of community that typically happens at events like MIDEM.”

Groovelist CEO Max de la Fuente

The platform’s business model is based around charging talent seekers and event organisers for access: “Members have a dashboard which means they can filter by genre or by country, then they review all the relevant applicants and can choose who they want to connect with, just like at a trade event,” de la Fuente adds.

 

TOP IMAGE: Ching Ching Chen, VP business development, Capitol Music Group

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“The indie community is incredibly diverse. It constitutes a vast array of business types and entrepreneurs, operating now on a global basis”-Jeremy Sirota, Merlin

jeremy-sirota-CEO-merlin

For the past three years, Midem has partnered with four of the world’s leading independent associations – IMPALA, Merlin, WIN and IMPF  – to give the voice to the indie music scene and provide a global overview of the state of the independent music ecosystem by creating the “Global Indie Voices” programme at Midem in Cannes.

This half day of panels and case studies is designed to take the pulse of the indie community today by bringing together both high-level and new generation executives to share their experiences and visions for the future of the music business.

Before taking part in Midem 2020 next June, the heads of these associations share their vision of the global indie community in a series of interviews. Next up is Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin.

 

> Why was the creation of the Global Indie Voices at Midem important?

Midem’s Global Indie Voices program serves as an important platform for the independent community. It provides an opportunity to come together under one roof and meet face-to-face, share perspectives, and learn from each other. This is especially vital for a global organisation like Merlin, with members from over 60 countries and labels and artists representing virtually every country in the world.

 

> How has the place and role of the indie community changed in the past years?

Independents are thriving in this digital ecosystem and uniquely positioned to take advantage of the evolving marketplace. Digital services recognise the value of Merlin and the diversity of its repertoire as a vital component to their viability and success. We’re seeing consumers continue to demonstrate an appetite for music that extends beyond their primary language and culture. Coupled with the growth in streaming services and the opening up of social platforms, Merlin’s membership can now connect in new ways with their fans and find new audiences. These converging events have expanded the opportunity for independent music to cross borders

 

> How do you expect it to evolve?

Merlin is optimistic about the global music marketplace and the continued developments in markets like Asia, Africa, India, Russia, and beyond. The benchmarks we measure continue to point towards the tremendous opportunity for independent artists, labels and distributors to continue to grow around the world.

 

> What are the main challenges faced by the indie community globally and how could they be resolved?

The indie community is incredibly diverse. It constitutes a vast array of business types and entrepreneurs, operating now on a global basis. A core function of indie labels, distributors, and management companies is to find new artists and create great music. But these businesses now have to engage with an ever-increasing array of DSPs located around the world. This puts demands on their supply chain, engaging with DSPs, ingesting and interpreting data, and, for many, running a physical business. For Merlin, one message that was clearly articulated in our 2019 annual report was how Merlin helps to alleviate many of these challenges. Coupled with our members’ trust that Merlin can get the best possible deal, and provide best-in-class data and reporting, we help to empower their digital business.

 

This interview is part of a series of 4 interviews. Discover more about Global Indie Voices

 

Make sure to catch the full Global Indie Voices track at Midem, on Wednesday 3 June afternoon at the International Stage!

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“Taking the independent route is seen increasingly as the best way to leverage the opportunities of today’s industry”- Charlie Phillips, WIN

Charlie-Phillips

For the past three years, Midem has partnered with four of the world’s leading independent associations – IMPALA, Merlin, WIN and IMPF  – to give the voice to the indie music scene and provide a global overview of the state of the independent music ecosystem by creating the “Global Indie Voices” programme at Midem in Cannes.

This half day of panels and case studies is designed to take the pulse of the indie community today by bringing together both high-level and new generation executives to share their experiences and visions for the future of the music business.

Before taking part in Midem 2020 next June, the heads of these associations share their vision of the global indie community in a series of interviews. First up is Charlie Phillips, COO, WIN.

 

> Why was the creation of the Global Indie Voices at Midem important?

WIN is a global network of independent music associations, whose scope and remit align closely with the GIV part of Midem. We’ve seen some great results come from our involvement in this over the last few years, and fully support all initiatives which promote the joining up of music industry communities around the world, in an inclusive and supportive manner.

 

> How has the place and role of the indie community changed in the past years?

The independent sector’s place in the industry gets stronger and stronger, and while business models change, taking the independent route is seen increasingly as the best way to leverage the opportunities of today’s industry, especially online.

 

> How do you expect it to evolve? 

We will continue to see the sector adapt to new opportunities, and to offer support and strength through our collaborative and collegiate approach. WIN and the associations will play a key role in this, as will Merlin.

 

> What are the main challenges faced by the indie community globally and how could they be resolved?

As the industry continues to be increasingly data and technology driven, we hear some concerns around how independent labels will access the necessary specialist skills and talent to take their businesses forward. There are some very interesting conversations ahead as to how the sector can support itself, now and in the future.

 

> In this fast-changing environment, how has the role of trade associations evolved and how have you adapted?

On a macro level, the industry seems to be facing a number of external influences and issues which are best addressed collaboratively across the industry. A good example of this is the WIN/IFPI joint venture data exchange RDx. Without a developed network of sophisticated associations and member companies, the sector would not be able to work anywhere near as efficiently as a single global unit. Credit goes to the companies and associations for having the vision to work in this way.

 

> Can you share a specific success story of an indie company/artist that you have been particularity excited / inspired by?

I am entirely biased as he’s WIN’s Chairperson, but working very closely with Justin West from Secret City Records is and remains very inspiring. Justin combines a unique set of talents and skills with an inclusive and balanced approach which has really helped WIN, and in turn the wider international independent sector, get into a really great place in his 12 months in the role so far.

 

This interview is part of a series of 4 interviews. Discover more about Global Indie Voices

 

Make sure to catch the full Global Indie Voices track at Midem, on Wednesday 3 June afternoon at the International Stage!

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