The Reasons African Music Industry Can’t Meet Western Music Industry Standards.
1 .Lack of Protection for Original Content
Individually, the African countries and their music climes have one thing in common. There’s simply a dire need for legitimate music stores. This is because the African music industry would have grown in leaps and bounds if there was adequate protection for the hard yards put in by artists. What you have instead, is a great number of people eager to get music on the cheap, or for free. It’s commonplace for pirates to milk the would-be profits of such artists because piracy is very much ingrained in Africa.
On street corners, popular roads, and in some executive settings, the African music industry is being shortchanged. Millions of pirated music are churned out every 24 hours while a lot of fans have memory sticks waiting for the next batch of illegal music. Huge artists like Wizkid, Sarkodie,ubreezy abobi, Burna Boy, HHP, and Angelique Kidjo may have collaborated with foreign artists, and won awards, but back in Africa, there’s no appropriate respect for what they represent.
With the Western music industry, things are notably different. Protection for original content is great. Artists seldom face a rip-off because their rights are protected by laws regulating intellectual property. More so, there are many mediums to ensure their music is available only when they give a go-ahead. To catch up, or at least narrow the gap, African music must protect her most prized possessions – the artists who do their best to put the continent on the map.
2. The issue of Sustainability
In entertainment, and music in particular, money is a very important factor. Without it, no industry can reach greater and sustainable heights. One of the biggest reasons why the African music industry still remains a gulf apart from her Western counterpart boils down to inadequate funding to survive and thrive. Money is needed to create a digital database, make publications, set up materials, and develop an encouraging platform to ensure African artists keep doing what they do best – make music.
All these activities and more, require funding. But in Africa you’d be surprised to learn that very few are willing to provide support to help artists thrive. More so, these artist have it all to do in order to fund their projects. This is why the African music industry ranks very low, and her artists keep looking for greener pastures beyond its shores.
In the West, music is a big deal. A lot is being put into the art because music is more than a few beats and catchy hooks. As such, there’s an organized way to source for funds with both private and public corporations willing to lend a hand. This is not the case with the African music industry, and you can’t help but feel its built on cards. Although the landscape is changing ever so slightly, it has a long way to go to create a substantial brand.
3.Very Slow Reaction to Rising Technologies
Africa is already experiencing a technological gap. So the fact that the music industry is affected shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sure, more artists, labels, and brands are recognizing just how important technology is to music. However, you’d think they could act fast enough to implement certain aspects that have seen the Western music industry attain the level it currently operates in.
Mobile technology, music-based solutions, and services, are fast developing. In the west, for example, there’s more streaming services than you can count. As a result, artists get to really enjoy the fruits of their labor. What’s more, features like the new electronics and MIDI inventions have made things easier across the Atlantic. Musicians there can now use such techs to deliver complex pieces of music without stress.
They can make simple adjustments to original contents, and get rid of errors at the same time. African musicians should be able to create music content, upload on any streaming platform on the continent, and have their fans access them when they pay.
Technology is definitely the way to go for African music industry to hit a purple patch. This way more of her contents get more refined, and have the exposure they deserves.
On a final note, Africa does have a very rich, time-honored, and wonderful musical heritage. In fact, more so than the other continents. It has taken her long to realize her potential to be a leading light globally. Hopefully, that will spur her on to better things.
The rights and properties of artists must be protected and reinforced. The African music industry must also key in to the upsurge in technology all over the world in order to have a solid and sustainable base with which Africa can reach the world with its musical art and craft.