Award-winning music artist, Mr. Eazi is launching a fund that will invest in Africa’s stars of the future.
Mr. Eazi, (real name Oluwatosin Ajibade) told CNN that the Africa Music Fund (AMF), is worth $20 million dollars. The lead investor is 88mph, a company that provides capital for African businesses.
Through the AMF, the 29-year-old artist from Nigeria says he wants to create a new funding model for the music business on the continent.
Mr. Eazi says one of his primary motivations for funding music on the continent is to provide financial support for artists to expand their catalog.
Many investors and financial institutions don’t understand the business of music and as a result, are unable to properly fund musicians, he says.
“Artists cannot go to banks to get money for their music because financial institutions don’t understand how to secure intellectual property. They get it for physical properties but not for music. So, because not a lot of people understand the music business, there is no finance product for musicians,” he explained.
Investing in music acts
Selected artists will be given funding depending on their revenue and projected incomes, using metrics such as streaming revenue, Mr. Eazi told CNN..
“For artists who already have footprints in the industry, we will just do our research. We can check how much they are earning or likely to earn from their streaming revenue, for example,” he explained.
Artists will be given funds upfront based on their revenue to expand their music content. The initial advance invested in an artist’s music will be paid back in installments as the artist’s earnings start to rise, he added.
Mr. Eazi, who has more than five million monthly listeners on Spotify says the AMF will also create access to a larger audience for music acts by helping them find and book shows as well as distribute their music.
“Let’s say we have a two-year contract with someone. In those two years, we will be their representative, helping them manage their music, and as they grow we will be deducting the initial investment from their earnings,” he explained.
Data backed decisions
Mr. Eazi says his team also has a partnership with a music distribution company called Cinch Distro to use data from their newly created streaming platform to determine how much should be invested in new African acts with no existing music catalog.
The platform will allow emerging artists to build their music on it, and upload to major music stores for 500 naira (about $1.29) for a few months.
“The way it works is that they register on the platform and make their music. It has an AI-based tech that will filter their possible revenue based on the number of streams they get on the platform alongside a couple of other metrics,” he explained.
“The artists basically use the platform to distribute their music and we monitor their progress. That way we can make data-backed decisions about who to invest in,” he added.
The AMF is not Mr. Eazi’s first venture into investing in music and musicians on the continent.
In 2018, he launched emPawa Africa, an incubator program that provided artists with funding and resources to market their music, access radio and TV airplay, and train them to become independent music entrepreneurs.
Through emPawa, some of the continent’s biggest artists like Nigeria’s Joeboy and Ghana’s J.Derobie were discovered.
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