- Date: April 17, 2019
- Venue: Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos
- Tag/Headline: Echo Music Conference, 2019
- Organizers: Echo Music and Arts Foundation, (Organizers of Gidi Fest)
- Sessions Attended: Do artists really need a record label/ Equipping the next music generation
- Moderators: Chidera Muoka (Guardian Life), Chyn Okeke (Echo Music and Arts Foundation)
- Panel: Niniola, Moonchild Sanelly. Aibee Abidoye (Chocolate City), Temilade Adeniji (Warner Music), Osagie Alonge (Pulse Nigeria)
Do artists really need a record label?
It was a ‘woman affair’ and a welcome development in the music industry, considering recent yearnings. The panel and the moderator were all women.
Close to the start of the event, Chidera Muoka, the moderator asked why women were underrated in the music industry, but Aibee Abidoye from Chocolate City said she doesn't think women were underrated, she just thinks it's a systemic problem affected funding or a lack thereof.
Niniola buttresed from an identity perspective and says that when it comes to the music business, she sees herself as a "creative" and not a "woman." Moonchild agrees and says, "The moment you put I'm a woman ahead, you have set a limit."
Moonchild continues that it's not a female problem, she also says there's more room for women than men because women are underrepresented in the industry already. She then zeroed the problem to a lack of funding.
On the problem of suitable record labels, Niniola said choosing a record label was about understanding yourself and choosing an atmosphere where your creative freedom is allowed to grow and flourish.
She continued that with the internet and if you have funding and ‘connections,’ you might not need a label, but she adds a caveat that when you're looking to scale markets, you might need a Sony Music, Universal Music Group or Warner Music.
Temilade Adeniji says that a lot of factors play a role whenever labels want to sign artists. She admitted that you can make it on your own, but says that might not be sustainable as you grow as an artist.
The conversation moves to the problem of what a label can do to help an artist and, Niniola says the label should be able to get an artist from “1 to 100” and provide A&R, publishing, development plans and so forth. Moonchild says it's important not to sign deals in fear, but when you want to sign “international” deals, she says it's important to not sign a 360 deal.
Abidoye contribute to the conversation of labels by adding that, you need skill to get a deal, but a good deal is, "When both parties are happy."
Adeniji adds the very pertinent legal perspective and says it's important to get a Lawyer to negotiate good deals.
When Moonchild talks about the problem of creative freedom, Abidoye says that sometimes, the numbers suggest the label's direction could be needed.
Equipping The Next Music Generation
This conversation was a quick-fix to a systemic problem. The initial plan was to bring a big personality in, but he passed last minute, hence the impromptu fix. The conversation was then mostly about helping artistes understand their audience and using that to their advantage.
On how an artist can relate with consumers, Osagie Alonge says that it's good for consumers to like what artists create.
On how artists can succeed, Alonge says A&R and talent managers should be more hands-on, he says aspiring artists should try understanding how branding works - if possible, intern at an ad agency. He also says there should be a way to understand your community like Tech N9ne or Russ.
In the end, the conversation was about being yourself and gaining the understanding to scale markets.
The event is a part of Lagos Music Week, organized by Echo Music and Arts Foundation. It is a week long event that - asides ECHO Music Conference - includes events like Arise Fashion Week, Sneaker Exchange at XII Glover and West Africa's largest one-day music festival, Gidi Culture Fest.
At the end of the events, two artists were also selected out of nine to perform at Gidi fest.