Nigerian musician, Oluwatosin Ajibade, popularly known by his stage name Mr Eazi, has raised $20 million for his Africa Music Fund (AMF) to invest in African music artists . The lead investor is 88mph, a company that provides capital for African businesses.
According to an interview with CNN, through the AMF, the 29-year-old artist from Nigeria says he wants to create a new funding model for the music business on the continent.
The Nigerian musician says one of his primary motivations for funding music is to provide financial support for artists to expand their catalog. Financial institutions don’t understand how to secure intellectual property. They get it for physical properties but not for music. So, because not a lot of people understand the music business, there is no finance product for musicians,” he explained.
emPawa Africa partners with music technology company Vydia
Mr. Eazi says his parent company emPawa Africa in partnership with music technology company Vydia will be launching Cinch Distro. It is a music distribution platform for new artists. Artists can upload one or unlimited song to major music stores at an affordable rate.
“The artists basically use the platform to distribute their music and we monitor their progress. That way we can make data-backed decisions about who to invest in,” he added.
In 2018, Mr. Eazi launched emPawa Africa, a talent incubation initiative to nurture and support up-and-coming artistes in Africa. It provides artists with funding and resources to market their music, access radio and TV airplay, and train them. emPawa discovered some of the continent’s biggest artists like Nigerian musician Joeboy and Ghana’s J. Derobie.
Vydia is a platform that empowers independent artists needed to be their own boss and manage their audio and video distribution, content protection, rights management, advanced payments, and data tracking from one easy-to-use application.
Benefits of AMF fund to African music industry
Music analyst, Toye Sokunbi says the AMF fund will benefit Africa’s creative sector as it will open more doors for music talents on the continent. He is also the founder of Artish, a pop-culture publication in Nigeria. There may be concerns about how the data on each artist is compiled and used. He also warns that artists be vigilant.
They don’t necessarily tell you the exact way they are marketing your music or give artists access to data they can use to maximize revenue for their content. Artists are oblivious of the audience data farmed from their content,” he told CNN.
However, Mr. Eazi says “With our tech platform artists can see how much you earn in real-time, you can also see how much you owe and how that is being deducted,” he said
The Nigerian musician is creating a music industry where Africans are the owners of their own content and intellectual property. The biggest players in the African music industry are not from Africa, he said. As a result, he wants to create a space for music stars on the continent to become a significant part of the industry.