”We as a country lack the digital expertise that will promote our craft in the music space, and also bring income” – Francis Turay

Written By Francis Turay

We as a country lack the digital expertise that will promote our craft in the music space, and also bring income. Our acts, majority of them are ignorant to the business of digital streaming and that affects them greatly.

Other countries have mastered how these things work long ago, and they are reaping the benefits from it. We must understand that the world has transcended into an era of the internet and if you get to be left behind, that’s the end of it.

Firstly, our acts should understand that these social media platforms are now grounds to promote our course. We often come to Facebook, write about issues affecting “the industry”, which is a myth, and I will tell you again, that idea of we need an organized industry is a myth, “industries” don’t work out there, the acts are individually putting in the work and promote their crafts. The Sierra Leonean population has been clingy to Facebook, which is good, but it’s an enclosed space to attract these tech and streaming platforms, the contents you share here are circulated among ourselves, unlike Twitter which has a better algorithm.

Secondly, it’s high time our acts are to understand that their management if they do have, should master these digital spaces. At a point in time, I worked with Nigerian curators that handle Burna Boy’s streaming numbers, having these facts, gets you to understand where your music is and its growth level. As far as Sierra Leone is concerned we only have two acts that are visible on the digital space (Drizilik and Emmerson), and with no strings attached, they are the biggest online, and that allows them to secure the bag.

A year ago, we saw how Emmerson sold a whopping sum of his album on iTunes for $ 15.99, which is approximately Le 181,000 and Drizilik did the same for his single “Tell”. At this point, the audience of these two acts digitally is in Europe and America. How many of our acts do have a presence on these streaming platforms other than Audiomack? Let this be known today, for every song they have done and is online, these two acts can tell where the song is playing and how long it is played for, be it on social media or these internet radios. Distributors are an essential part of this business in entirety, as they move to the back end of every social platform to collect your royalties, for any video uploaded to these social media platforms and has your song attached to it.

We can’t tell how our songs are playing and where, we cry behind DJs to do the work these acts are to do individually, which is to understand the business and find distributors to promote their crafts. Not too long ago, I got in touch with two other Sierra Leoneans that understand this business too well and we approached these streaming platforms (Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer) for us to have our playlist as a country, especially for Apple Music, which organizes top hundred songs and albums that are making waves in a country.

It’s almost a year gone now, I wrote the Entertainment Ambassador for us to have a proposal which will be outlined to address these issues. This proposal will be cut across the board to have bloggers, promoters, managements, and even the artiste themselves be oriented about how the business works and the necessary tool and approach they are to adopt. Also, it will include a revolutionary approach in having these streaming platforms have us part of their agenda on the internet, he accorded the idea, but since then, we still left in a position to cry behind DJs for not playing our songs and also forcing a national playlist on the radio which has no benefit towards these artistes, as it doesn’t bring forth any income.

Until we understand these, we can’t get on ours to be among international discussions on these streaming platforms.

Below are stats and data I have curated from last year to now, with respect to our songs, and I learned about these tools from the Nigerians I worked with that were handling Burna Boy’s curating.

©️Francis Turay

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: abubakarrjalloh@theafricandreamsl.com WhatsApp: +23276211583

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