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 partner 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.
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