ECHO Music Conference 2019 was fun and enlightening

Date: April 17, 2019

Venue: Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos

Tag/Headline: Echo Music Conference, 2019

Organizers: Echo 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 Foundation)

Panel: Niniola, Moonchild Sanelly. Aibee Abidoye (Chocolate City), Temilade Adeniji (Warner Music), Osagie Alonge (Pulse Nigeria), Besidone (Instagram)


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.

L-R: A cross-section of the panel on artists and record labels from ECHO Music conference 2019; Chidera Muoka, (Editor-In-chief, Guardian Life); Moonchild Sanelly; Aibee Abidoye (Vice President, Chocolate City); Temilade Adeniji (from Warner Music) and; Niniola. (Pulse Nigeria)

Close to the start of the event, Chidera Muoka, the moderator asked why women were underrated in the music industry, but Aibee Abidoyefrom 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.

The lively Moonchild Sanelly, speaking at the ECHO Music conference 2019. (Pulse Nigeria)

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 MusicUniversal Music Group or Warner Music.

Temilade Adeniji of Warner Music speaking at the event. (Pulse Nigeria)

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.

Chocolate City Vice President, Aibee Abidoye says sometimes the interests of artists and labels clash because numbers sometimes dictate direction. (Pulse Nigeria)

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

L-R: A cross-section of the panel on equipping the next generation, Chyn Okeke; Osagie Alonge (Head of Editorial, Pulse Africa); Besidone (Instagram) at the Echo Music Conference 2019. (Pulse Nigeria)

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.

Osagie Alonge, Head of Editorial, Pulse Africa, Echo Music Conference 2019. (Pulse Nigeria)

On how an artist can relate with consumers, Osagie Alonge says that it’s good for consumers to like what artists create.

Besidone says you will do a lot of work for free and that’s creating opportunities, and continues by saying that you have to find a way to succinctly describe the scope of your field. She criticizes generic job descriptions like ‘influence’ and ‘content creator’ which she calls, “Supreme sorcery of mimicry.”

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.

Besidone of Instagram, speaking at the Echo Music Conference 2019. (Pulse Nigeria)

Besidone says, she left conventional music business for digital because conventional music doesn’t understand the full opportunities in digital. She says it all takes understanding and building your community to become the currency that everybody needs to buy.

In the end, the conversation was about being yourself and gaining the understanding to scale markets.

Two artists were also selected out of nine to perform at Gidi fest.

Comments: Timing for ‘Do artists need a record label?’ was off, it started 20 minutes late. We blame artists, but it seems terrible regard for time is a Nigerian thing.

Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent


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