At the Midem African Forum, Krotal said Cameroon does not have a music industry
I feel like this article is long overdue, but I had planned to write it down because I am more fascinated when I inform you. A couple of weeks ago the Midem African forum held in Douala.Q
The Midem African Forum was booked down for four African cities, namely, Dakar, Douala,Lagos and Cannes in France. Just so that you are not confused through the rest of this long typing, I had to visit the Midem website to get what they were really all about. This is what it says they are,
“Midem’s ambition is to help build the music business of tomorrow by merging the industry’s know-how and pushing its boundaries to warrant creativity and talent valuing at a global scale. We combine expertly curated industry programming and tailored events, to provide a platform aimed for the music ecosystem’s contributors to meet, exchange and network. Our aim is to create a strong collaborative hive, to address the industry’s major issues and to tackle its key breakthroughs.
Midem places an emphasis on assisting music professionals from all around the world and encouraging business development and talent discovery.
We develop the High-Potential Markets Programme to assist with the structuring and professionalization of the music industry in emerging regions to stimulate its international exchanges.”
The Forum that held in Douala had one of the most important people in the “Cameroon music industry” From artists (Including veterans like Ben Decca), to label owners, International Label representative (like Sony Music), stakeholders and you can name it.
I am not going to bore you with how it went down, I want to focus on what caught my attention the most and the information that is directly beneficial to our knowledge about the music industry in Cameroon.
Looking at the last Paragraph of what Midem stands for, you will notice “We develop the High-potential Markets Programme”.
This made me understand that, if Cameroon featured amongst the 4 countries that caught the attention of Midem it was because Cameroon’s music industry has high potential right? So I bet they came to assist with structuring and professionalizing the existing industry. But was that really the case?
During the talk sessions, two most important questions were,
- Does Cameroon have a music Industry?
- Does Cameroonian artists or entertainers benefit from Digital platforms (streaming, Distribution, revenue streams and all)
Talking about the first question, Cameroonian’s veteran rapper and Producer Krotal said we do not have a Music industry. He was very verbal on that. He stated the fact that the Cameroon music industry had just a single music editor who is now in prison. I was a little shocked to think that Midem sees the Cameroon music industry as a high potential market yet the artists don’t even think an industry exist in the first place, so what is the essence for the forum? Krotal explains that the music industry is not structured at all. One Individual trying to be producer, editor, manager and everything.
This is what a music industry looks like according to Wikipedia;
The music industry consists of the companies and individuals that earn money by creating new songs and pieces and selling live concerts and shows, audio and video recordings, compositions and sheet music, and the organizations and associations that aid and represent music creators. Among the many individuals and organizations that operate in the industry are: the songwritersand composers who create new songs and musical pieces; the singers, musicians, conductors and bandleaders who perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music and/or sheet music (e.g., music publishers, music producers, recording studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations); and those that help organize and present live music performances (sound engineers, booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew).
The industry also includes a range of professionals who assist singers and musicians with their music careers (talent managers, artists and repertoire managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers); those who broadcast audio or video music content (satellite, Internet radio stations, broadcast radio and TV stations); music journalists and music critics; DJs; music educators and teachers; musical instrument manufacturers; as well as many others.
Do we actually have a structure that looks like what is defined above, with all these individuals employed to take a particular job into consideration? Of course not. The Midem is here to set the structure, right? but the forum ended with a debate with no conclusion at all as to how to build this musical structure and make it.
As concerns the second question, the argument of whether digital platforms in Cameroon help artists make money, has never really ever come to a conclusion at all the musical seminars and conferences I have attended. It was not different at the MIdem Forum in Douala.
When asked if Digital platforms were a useable tool to entertainers, an argument broke up in the session, sadly amongst the panelist and no conclusion drawn out of it. Some of the panelists were busy talking about their achievement and forgetting the subject in question. I earlier wrote an article Here asking if The Cameroon Digital Conference was a hoax because of exact same issue of stating problems and acting like it is not a big deal hence no solutions.
The truth is, Digital Platforms could be a workable tool for musical distribution in the Cameroon music industry in future but it is not workable for the moment and the reason is, people are not ready to invest on building this platform. Sadly, the world is changing so fast and so too will these digital platforms.
I however hope that the Director and CEO of Midem are busy doing an underground work to resolve the issues tabled at the forum that held in Cameroon, I say this because several participants left disgruntled and disappointed at how problems were stated but no solutions brought up for even one of the problems pointed out.