Blacq Avay Records boss Avay Ogbeifun Ehiagwinah advises Ugandan music industry must embrace digital avenues to increase revenue in the music business.

Mr. Avay Ogbeifun Ehiagwinah is a Nigerian music Business Executive, trained Accountant and events promoter and has been in the business for over a decade. He is also the CEO Blacq Avay Records And Entertainment, the force behind Zulitums‘ rise to fame.

The Ugandan music industry, being an industry that mostly relied on events/shows, concerts and gigs – which never happened for over a year – has suffered the most since the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard.

Against this backdrop, there is a huge opportunity that remains unharnessed by the major actors in the Ugandan music industry as regards revenue generation in streaming.

World over, billions of dollars were remitted to artists and content creators from various streaming platforms for their intellectual property. If this was properly utilized, most local A-list artists wouldn’t be part of those lacking funds due to traditional ways of getting money (shows and concerts) being cut short due to the pandemic.

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“Outside YouTube that generates a little more or less than $3,000 for a whopping one million streams, most Uganda Artists don’t partake in sharing from this commonwealth. As we say, Data is now the new oil hence there must be a paradigm shift in others to maximize the new normal,” Avay notes.

In an attempt to compete with the global trend, the whole structure that makes the industry should improve their craft in order to win – as a matter of necessity.

In order to be put in our pride of place, we must create content that is worthy of consumption not just within East Africa, but the rest of the world. There should be a blend of our uniqueness in line with global trends if we must sell out to the world.

Avay Ogbeifun Ehiagwinah

He adds, “You don’t expect the world full of trends to consume a sound that wasn’t properly mastered – or a video shot with crude equipment. Reliance in the Ugandan market limits the Art and its financial gains. It’s a small country with very many artists so it is time to think outside the box and upgrade to the global stage in order to go shoulder to shoulder with the Tanzanians, or better still, the Nigerians. The only way our voices can be heard is through the internet.”

Avay also points out that since the elections are over, artistes can now unite and raise their voices in demand for whatever they have always asked for and also educate government on the difference between social media and online music streaming platforms and their significance.

“Whenever the low turnout in steaming platforms are mentioned, people tend to call out the government for the tax on social media platforms. Well, it’s a factor that cannot be ruled out. Elections are over, it is now time for artists to come under a responsible auspice and make demands while educating the government on the difference between Social Media platforms and Streaming Platforms.

If there’s an organized approached, I see no reason why results cannot be achieved. Facebook and other platforms designed for interactions are totally different from Apple Music, Tidal and Boomplay. Anytime any day, these streaming platforms don’t play a role in who gets what, when, and how in politics. So nothing stops the government from excluding streaming platforms from the OTT tax. The approach of engagement to a large extent matters a lot.

Avay Ogbeifun Ehiagwinah

Avay emphasizes that the gains of partaking in the content industry fully is not limited to its monetary benefits alone. “Most award academies now base their nominations and possible winners via numbers of streams and presence in the digital world. You don’t expect an organizer of an award to recognize one with 200k streams above one with 20 million streams. Sharing in the content industry goes way beyond the financial gains to recognition, records and legacy,” Avay notes.

Josh Ruby is an Editor with high interest and knowledge in the Ugandan entertainment space, an industry he has been actively part of since 2010. Leads to breaking stories are welcome!

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