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Opportunity For Music Professionals As Music In Africa Live Berths

Femi Kuti in performance with The Positive Force band. PHOTO: Grimygoods

The music industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic, with live performance revenue the biggest casualty. A six-month shutdown is estimated to cost the industry more than $10bn in sponsorships, with longer delays being even more devastating.

However, the industry is fighting back with new ways to monetize music consumption and innovative models: Fortnite hosted a live rap concert that attracted nearly 30 million live viewers.

But the crisis is likely to accelerate underlying trends in the music industry, based on the importance of streaming, which has grown from 9 per cent to 47 per cent of total industry revenues in just six years.
The global music industry is worth over $50 billion, with two major income streams.

The first, live music makes up over 50 per cent of total revenues and is derived mainly from sales of tickets to live performances. The second, recorded music combines revenue from streaming, digital downloads, physical sales and synchronization revenues (licensing of music for movies, games, TV and advertising). Recorded music today is close to the industry’s pre-piracy peak, a testament to the growing adoption of streaming services by both music labels and consumers. Streaming now makes up almost half of recorded music revenue.

In a bid to support musicians and the industry at large to navigate challenges and new realities introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) has announced the launch of the Music In Africa Live (MIAL) project.

Covering all African countries, the aim of MIAL is to offer financial support to operators, to enable them to create high-quality performances and promote, market and showcase their content to a wider global audience, primarily via digital means, and to facilitate the creation and dissemination of educational content with a view to enable professionals to adjust and adopt to the needs of the changing music industry.

The MIAL project will run two concurrent grants: Whowcase Grants, which enable musicians to earn income from digital performances, and Capacity-Building Grants, which support capacity-building projects that develop critical skills among professionals using digital means.

“We are pleased to launch Music In Africa Live, especially as it addresses some of the key challenges faced by musicians on a daily basis,” MIAF director Eddie Hatitye said. “The ability to earn and grow is supremely important for every music professional, especially at this time when everything seems to have stopped. We are hoping that many people will seize this opportunity and use it to unlock more opportunities for themselves.”

MIAL will support activities implemented between 15 October and 15 December 2020. All calls for applications were launched recently, inviting companies and organisations across the continent to apply until the deadline on 26 September 2020.

While only companies and organisations can apply, they must, however, be able to demonstrate that their projects will primarily benefit musicians by offering them paid performance opportunities, exposure and skills development (for capacity-building projects).

Showcase Grants support the production of high-quality digital live concerts with African musicians, with an emphasis on professional productions that offer real exposure, potential export opportunities and generally more opportunities for participants.

Capacity-building Grants support digital initiatives that develop relevant critical skills for music professionals to navigate new challenges and the transformations of the industry, especially those introduced by the pandemic. Apply for this grant

Thousands of African musicians have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has occasioned unprecedented lockdowns and restrictions across the continent. African musicians and professionals traditionally make a living from live performances, and now they find themselves in extreme difficulty.

The Music In Africa Live project is one of a number of new projects that the Music In Africa Foundation is introducing this year to support music professionals in Africa. The project is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, Siemens Stiftung and Goethe-Institut.

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