Friday, 17 May 2013
HOT OR MISS
NEWS BIT: EFE OMOROGBE CHALLENGES KENNY OGUNGBE'S NEC SPEECH ; WANTS TO HAVE AN OPEN SESSION ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
When I learnt that Mr. Keke Ogungbe, founder/CEO of Kennis Music was billed to speak on the topic: Are Record Labels Endangered Species?” at the inaugural Nigeria Entertainment Conference, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and it made all a bit more exciting.
I obviously had my opinion on the subject matter. Working with artistes in management capacity and providing label support services to the indie artist had made it quite clear that the label is a necessity even with the advent of the digital era. To me, it was simply a question of adaptability for the labels, the traditional need remains, it was just the modus operandi that needed tweaking.
I was curious to find out Mr. Ogungbe’s perspective and recommendations as to how the label can ensure its survival and profitability. The speech, though highly informative and interesting didn’t adequately address the topic in my opinion. More ink was dedicated to an engaging historical exposition and general music/entertainment industry issues than the meat of the session which to me, was more about the status of the record label in a changing music business environment.
For me, some of the core issues are thus:
a, If an artist can record, mix and master a track on his laptop, produce a viral vid on the same device, publish the audio and visual materials on youtube, promote via social media and secure iTunes and Spinlet distribution by sending 3 emails and possibly become a star, of what use is a label to such an artiste?
b, As digital distribution gradually become the primary source of label revenue, how sustainable is a system where a telco insists on an 80/20 rev share ratio with a VAS company/aggregator which in turn, takes about half and leaves the label with a paltry 10% to further split with the artiste?
c, If 60% of the current hit-makers are independent, what are the prospects for traditional labels? etc…
These and other questions were neither directly raised nor addressed by Mr. Ogungbe’s paper but interestingly, that is not even the reason for this rejoinder. My concern stems not from the issues that weren’t treated but from some of the pious positions taken and controversial comments made by Mr. Ogungbe during the session.
Mr. Ogungbe and I have had conversations on these industry issues for the better part of 9 long years and we know each other’s perspective and antecedents well enough. As I stated during the business session, I have a different side to many of the stories and assertions made by him during the music session. In deference to the speaker and panelists of the business session, the guests and the organizers, I elected to not address his positions there and then but it would be disservice to the industry in particular and the nation in general if these grievous misrepresentations are allowed to be documented unchallenged.
Mr. Ogungbe and Kennis Music did not create many of the problems bedeviling the music industry but in my opinion, didn’t do enough to fight them either. If anything, his actions and inactions, inadvertently but significantly weakened others who were hell bent on taking on the problems. Let me explain.
Ghanaian star artiste/producer and Airtel ambassador, E.L. made a routine stop at the Factory78tv studios. The word-smith is currently in the UK hosting a radio special on BBC 1Xtra playing his favourite music.
When speaking to Adesope, the gifted musician talked about his controversial freestyle “Open Letter” where he appeared to have said he was no longer doing any collaborations with Ghana rappers. He also touched on the ripples he is making across the borders in Nigeria and the relationships he is building because of that. Watch the gifted young star's interesting interview including a hot freestyle on Factory78tv.