February 2015 theme: Piracy, copyrights and royalties

Over the past 15 years, piracy has become a central theme in most discussions on the state of the music sector in Africa. Rapid technological changes, particularly the rise of broadband internet, MP3 platforms and smart phones, have changed the way that listeners consume music. These technological developments have had drastic implications for artists, particularly in terms of protecting copyrights and collecting royalties – the basic factors that decide whether or not an artist can ultimately make a living from his or her music. So while new opportunities exist for audiences to find music and for musicians to get their music heard, the actual mechanisms for making money through music are no longer straightforward. In Africa, these developments have unfolded in specific ways not necessarily the same as in the rest of the world.

Photo: www.royaltyexchange.com
Photo: www.royaltyexchange.com

Because of the importance of the subject, particularly within the African setting we have selected ‘Piracy, Copyrights and Royalties’ as the theme for February. Below is a list of some of the English content already on the site that is relevant to this subject – essential reading for anyone involved in the African music industry! These focus on the countries already covered by Music In Africa: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Whether you are a musician or simply a music lover with a vested interest in the music industry, the issue of piracy and the related subjects of copyrights and royalties are subjects that you cannot afford to not understand.

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