Sounds Need Structures Too
This is all, I’ve reached my final last chapter.
It’s the music that keeps me going, hearing the change and growth daily with each song I stumble upon.
My friends and I, with our own Start-ups, innovative ideas trying to push Africa forward, also share this taste in New Age music. Talking about a new artist you just found on Soundcloud or any platform who sounds a bit more different that the normal “Afrosound” measures almost equally as the excitement of finding a rare Pokemon while playing Pokemon Go.
It’s incredible seeing everyone being consciously provocative with their ideas and motivation of creating something new! This is all in the sound, and also fashion, art, and tech. Name it, the ability and uniqueness of Africa is finally on display and the world is buying into it. We were once slaves, now we’re partners, ready to take our claim. I’m not being “too deep”. I’m just understanding things like you are, at least you can hear the music grow, change, and marvel.
I’ve expressed this already, I think we’re ready to make things work differently. There’s different sides to making music, there’s a construct that aligns a lot of moving part to make a sound thoroughly music. The pieces of the puzzles are sometimes juxtaposed by allowing individuals do what they love solely. A songwriter, an audio engineer, a video director, a producer, an artist, etc., each doing what they love as a contribution to music, their own way of showing their love and skill. Yes, we are born to be more than one forte, but creating a system that gives even the small parts of music a voice and life, brings it all together.
The art-form of music is far from it within our new age.
Watching a documentary solely on the intricate storytelling and art performances of Kanye West‘s Tour staging, you could see something amazing. The works of Vanessa Beecroft with each show, among others, shows an immersive world they developed by using music as a platform.
Yes, we are growing into this, we still need more to reach such value of our craft and sound. Africa’s new age has an opportunity to define a new form of art through music and to do this we need to not only keep the innovation growing, but also allow the minds to have their own field. We also need more infrastructure. An example would be event centers that help the artist create this surround form of performance act. As I write this from Lagos, Nigeria the best we have as a landmark event centre is a mere 5000 capacity Center which Wizkid could easily sell out. Double that with low grade facilities and no platforms for the acts to truly showcase themselves. For the music to truly have a footing we need a great soil, and this has already began. From the music blogs like Harmattan Rain, to musicians taking the stage settings into their hands by having small pop up shows using the minimum access they have to facilities and still trying to have a stage they can shine on, to podcasts actually talking and attacking the sounds to give a critical expression and the need for the artist to do more. But I know we can still do even more for the world and ourselves to listen to our music and feed into it, help it become our own culture celebrated by the world.
I’ve always gone back to having festivals in Africa. As a big fan of Coachella and EDC, I’ve wanted that here at home. I’ve seen some festivals try to begin something; like the New Age Festival. Yet there’s always more. I feel that is the most important thing the new age has clung on to, and we are only just starting our journey of growth.
Platforms like Bounce, a streaming platform from Lagos, is a great example of a step forward. Each of these platforms are helping build this structure I speak of.
We need more of this, things to help the form of art grow and give breathing space and access to more.
It’s time we take the new form of Africa for ourselves. With our black owned music business supporting this future of the new age. We should distribute, we should be the channels, we should be our own bosses creating access to the New Age music that will change everything.
To grow means to live. It’s hard to live in Africa by following a dream. We all know this.
To build the future we have sacrificed the comfort of our present.
It’s time the world listens that we have the major key. Our music is about to be a world force and we should all help invest in it, even if it is from the perspective of a consumer.
A lot of platforms carrying their weight, young minds putting their heart on their sleeves cause they understand the vision the most. We all have to live to see this change through. There’s always more to do, bless to the ones already doing it.
Protection and Royalties.
We can’t move forward if this isn’t sorted out: the intellectual protection of the sounds these minds are creating. Without creating a structure, they aren’t safe and free to create. We use their work countless times without consent, without crediting or referring to their contribution. It feels like a free for all fight when they lay their foot down, outlining their terms and what they require from the Proceeds. I’ve seen this break music companies who don’t have the legal support. I’ve seen this destroy and ridicule artists who put their sweat and blood into their work just to have it swept off for free at the ends of the world. To create a full structure for the new age to render their music, to give access to their potential, they must be protected too. They must be kept safe from the harm of human fickleness.
Also, we need to create a structure not only to protect us from ourselves, but from the outside world. We need to build a sustainable future around our music so we can lay the terms when the world comes knocking. We’ve stayed ignorant long enough, we’ve signed away our ideas and sounds letting them give us petty change cause we don’t have the structures to pack us up.Well enough.
The new age won’t be shoved away anymore, we know what we deserve, we will protect ourselves, we will protect our voice and music.
Last, I lay emphases on creating a very strong distribution channel around Africa. Not only with streaming but with the physical records, with the concerts, and with the music. Finding a way of creating a link between Africa and our music, connecting us all at once to share in the experience, story, and values of our continent is also paramount. Africa is one. We grow together in the new age. Creating a distribution for our sounds is paramount for the universal growth, as we spread our sounds more around the world. Understanding how they are released, perceived, distributed around our boarders helps young minds, investors, artists and listeners.
This is the last part of the series as I feel we are all woke to the future staring in our face. If we can only create real structures that allow everything to happen has planned. More open minds need access to these sounds and the people behind their creation. There’s so much I didn’t say going on, and so much going on without proper balance but it’s all directed to the growth of the new age, and it’s time we go full force in.
I’ve written thus far a memo, something for the new age to believe that the change they require to surpass their idols, to have stage sets bigger than Kanye, albums bigger than Adele, and an audience bigger than Justin Bieber’s, is here and growing among the concrete the world sees as Africa. Slowly, by ourselves, we’re carving a new way free from past stumbles and errors.
Don’t keep your mind closed. We need better avenues to air out this music so the world can hear it’s quality.