One of the strengths of Midem is the event’s international nature: of course there are plenty of attendees from the biggest western music markets, but in Cannes they can meet and learn from their peers in Africa, Latin America and Asia, where there are vibrant industries and plenty of unique opportunities and challenges.
Midem 2017 was no different, starting with Africa. A pair of panel sessions shone the spotlight on the continent’s various music markets, as well as the breakout success of Afrobeats music elsewhere in the world.
A panel on the myths and opportunities in Africa provided some hard data on why there is optimism about the growth of recorded and live music alike there. Olivier Laouchez, CEO of Trace, cited the results of a survey showing that 55% of African people are fans of music, making it the top interest ahead of news, education and sport.
He noted that across the 54 countries, 60% of the population is under 24, while there are now 750 million mobile subscribers. Laouchez added that 40% of total music revenues are already coming from the internet, and in Nigeria digital’s share is as high as 90%. He also cited figures suggesting that the African music market is worth around $500m, growing at between 5% and 20% per year.
“This is growing very, very fast. Faster than any other continent on media, on music, on the entertainment market, representing in some countries more than three or four per cent of the total GDP,” he said.
Ghanaian artist Kwame Ametepee Tsikata (aka M.anifest) gave his opinions. “It’s an exciting time, I think, for African music. But we also have to be honest to be able to push it forward and to be able to progress past where it is,” he said.
“Africa can be a ridiculous place in all fairness. One key is to be resilient. Doing business and expecting to just go in and everything will work perfectly, even in a place with the infrastructure like South Africa, is unrealistic,” he added.
“The second thing is to be innovative, because if you think, there’s nothing there. If you release an album and say ‘I want to tour 10 regions in Ghana’, there might not be a system in place already to do that. So what do you do? You create the idea, pitch it and try and make it happen. We’ve been doing a lot of things that have not been done.”
David Alexander of South African firm Sheer Music Publishing also gave his views, highlighting a need for improvement among African collecting societies in particular.
“I really do see a broad range of collecting societies, some of which work for their local members, and some of which don’t,” he said. “The majority of the challenges are that they don’t collect enough money, their administrative costs are too high, they don’t get data from the people who do pay them, and if they do get data they don’t distribute according to data: they distribute according to membership.”
Source – MIDEM