In a CNN interview, Nigerian music star Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2Face, spoke about the country’s thriving music industry and it’s battle against piracy.
The “African Queen” artist who was featured on CNN’s African Voices says the tide is changing, however, as Nigeria’s top stars are coming together to battle the disease that has so far ravaged both the movie and music industry.
“Piracy is still a very massive issue because there is no control in terms of producing the CDs and no barcodes. You don’t even know where it is coming from,” said hip-hop and RnB star Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2Face.
The Internationally acclaimed artist might have known great success, but he is no stranger to piracy, and says he believes the problem stems from a lack of respect for artists in Nigeria.
“A policeman might be standing here, someone might be selling pirated copies over there and he wouldn’t even look at it as though someone is committing a crime and he might even buy one!” he said.
“They love the music, they want to listen to it, they dance to it, they buy the pirated copies, but the respect for the actual intellectual property is not there,” he continued.
Only a decade ago, there were only one or two compact disc production plants. Today there are 28 in operation and the country has its own copyright commission, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), CNN reported.
According to the latest Strategic Action Against Piracy report released in 2011 from the NCC, piracy of CDs, VCDs, DVDs cost just over $3.5 million a year.
However, the increasing availability of discs has done little to stop piracy in Nigeria, which Storm 360 founder says is hindering Nigeria’s music industry on the world stage.
“When the international majors were in Nigeria they never invested in the back end of the industry, so there is no formal distribution in place,” said Obi Asika, founder of Storm 360.
“There needs to be major investment into distribution and we are speaking to some of the major fulfillment companies,” he continued. “The key issue is that Nigerian businesses need to recognize that this is a significant opportunity which might be worth over a couple of billion dollars a year.”
Asika believes that the mobile industry could be the key place to push African music legitimately. He is helping to launch Spinlet, a music download service going live in December.
“We have over 90 million mobiles in Nigeria and over 40 million are in the youth space. The key issues facing the industry are the need to build a proper touring platform, a live scene, and also for major companies and government to begin to pay for the use of music across all platforms,” he said.
“We think Spinlet will make a major impact in terms of getting real revenues back to artists, labels, producers and managers returns on their music,” he added.