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Features

Mdundo Uganda Mixer: Uniting to help artistes grow music as business

 

Some of the participants during the dialogue aimed at improving how artistes earn. PHOTOS/ ISAAC SSEJJOMBWE

 

The Ugandan entertainment industry is facing many challenges. From copyright, CRBT (Caller Ring-Back Tone), under payment, among others.
However, the days of suffering might be coming to an end with several initiatives coming into play, such as the Mdundo Uganda mixer that was unveiled last Thursday evening at Kush Lounge in Kololo.

The first gathering was not just another party, it was a purposeful get-together aimed at dissecting the opportunities, challenges across and solutions for Uganda’s music industry and at the heart of the discourse was Mdundo, a Pan African Digital Service Provider (DSP) that has been progressively expanding its footprint across the continent. With its sights set on Uganda, Mdundo is not merely extending its reach; it is revolutionising accessibility for Ugandan artistes to amplify their presence on the digital stage.

Uganda’s Mdundo A&R (Artists and Repertoire) Serah Adong, who was the organiser of the event, emphasised the significance of creating synergies between Mdundo and the local music scene. She articulated how this collaboration is not just about disseminating music but more about empowering artists with the tools, resources and knowledge necessary to navigate the intricacies of the music business successfully.

Among the topics dissected include monetisation strategies in the music industry, which requires a multifaceted approach. From streaming royalties to merchandise sales and live performances where artistes need to diversify their revenue streams to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape. The mixer served as a forum for exploring innovative monetisation strategies tailored to the unique needs of Ugandan artistes.

“Artistes should know that music is a business and if you do not take it as a business, you cannot earn from it. We are living in an economy where only performances will earn you revenue. Most artistes were affected during Covid-19 but that era opened their eyes that you can earn through other avenues, especially streaming,” emphasised Adong.

The other topic discussed was digital distribution and it was said with the advent of streaming platforms and digital distribution channels, artists are no longer confined to traditional avenues for sharing their music.
Collaborative opportunities which lies at the heart of artistic growth and innovation was another topic. The mixer provided a conducive environment for artistes to forge new connections, explore potential collaborations, and leverage each other’s strengths to create compelling music that resonates with audiences both locally and globally.

Discussing over a bite.

Education and capacity building which is navigating the intricacies of the music business demands a comprehensive understanding of copyright laws, publishing rights and marketing strategies. The mixer underscored the importance of ongoing education and capacity-building initiatives to empower artists with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in an ever-evolving industry landscape.

Geoffrey Jeff Ekongot, the CEO of Uganda Musicians Association secretariat, added: “There is what we call money flow – the ways artistes earn. Back then, an artiste would go to studio, record a song, promote it on radio or TV and then wait for bookings or look for people who sell cassettes and tapes in order to earn but lately, there are so many avenues that they can earn from through copyright, one being composition and mastering. You will be paid as a composer, as a writer, as a singer, among others. When someone streams your music on Spotify you are paid. When they download, you are still paid, when your song is used in a film or documentary you get paid. The artiste has to learn all this, not just two ways. They have to learn Meta data.”

Swangz Avenue, Kelele Digital, Uganda Musicians Association, People National Cultural Forum, artistes and Omziki Distribution participated in the dialogue by shedding light on the evolving digital distribution landscape and the opportunities it presents for artistes to monetise their craft effectively.

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