Speakers from various parts of the Nigerian music ecosystem gathered for the Music Week Nigeria conference last week ( the 5th to the 8th of August 2020) to proffer solutions to the myriad challenges faced by music industry practitioners in the country. The conference which was held virtually had as its theme “Leveraging Nigeria’s vibrant music and entertainment industry to drive economic prosperity.”
Over fours days, speakers drawn from various parts of the world shared their thoughts on workable solutions that would enable Nigerian music stakeholders to derive the most revenue from their art and protect those rights especially in the age of digital music distribution. A focal point of the conversations during the conference was the call by various industry leaders for the review of the Nigerian Copyright Act.
Speaking about the Act Mrs Sandra Oyewole a partner at the law firm, Olajide Oyewole LLP, who spoke on a panel which examined the critical role of lawyers to the music industry, pointed out that the present Copyright Act was promulgated in 1988 and the most recent revision was the Copyright (Amendment) Decree (No. 42) of 1999. She added that as digital music has become the norm nowadays, the Copyright Act as presently formulated is not suited to the realities of the modern global music industry.
Echoing her point, Honourable Akin Alabi (representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency of Oyo State) who read from the Copyright Act during a policymaking panel, said a section of the document which gave the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission the powers to appoint copyright inspectors did not detail what would qualify one to be made an inspector. While promising to personally lead the legislative process to review the Act, Honourable Alabi noted that this power could be abused for personal gain if not reviewed to ensure that only those knowledgeable about arts and media would serve in such offices.
Other speakers during the Music Week Nigeria conference included The Honorable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who was represented by Director Entertainment and Creative Services of the ministry. Others were the Director-General, Tourism Development Corporation, The CEO Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo, Mr Obi Asika, Korede Bello, Mr Marlon Fuentes, Yemi Alade, Mr Olakunle Oladehin, Miss Joy Tongo, Yoel Kenan, Laura Erinle and Miss Oyinkansola Fawehinmi.
The conveners of Music Week Nigeria; Mr Audu Maikori, Ubi Franklin and Miss Chinenye Uwanaka in a joint statement issued after the conference said: “Our decision to hold the Music Week Nigeria now during the Covid-19 pandemic and bring together such a varied mix of global thought-leaders within and around the music industry is to ensure that the industry is able to operate optimally and profitably in a post-Covid-19 era.”
On his part, Mr Edward Israel-Ayide, Head of Communications, Music Week Nigeria said the plan is to continue these music industry engagements so that critical changes required to bring the Nigerian music industry fully into the modern era are affected. He added that the promise by the Bank of Industry during the conference to further support the music industry with access to finance is one that would bring prosperity to the creative industries.