REMA 2020: How artists navigate the digital space

The Court of Naaba organised the third edition of the African Music Meetings (REMA) in Ouagadougou from October 22 to 24, 2020, with the theme, How Can We Build Appropriate Tools for Music, Digital, and Local Economies, To Better Understand The Music Economy In The Digital Era. Music professionals from Africa and other regions of the world gathered to discuss issues related to the music business in order to help professionalise the trade and use music as a development tool.

The activity is framed in this context, according to REMA Director Alif Naaba: “With the internet explosion the landscape of African music has substantially changed in recent years, and the music industries must alter their practices to take this into account.”

The three day event included reflections and exchanges between local and international actors within the music business space through panels and keynotes in addition to showcases and training for artists and managers as to how to release their projects digitally.

The discussions revealed that the African music business needs restructuring. Indeed, the industry is out of hand; artists are unable to fully exploit their work as a result of the digital revolution, despite the fact that digital does not just have disadvantages but may also help to the growth of music if properly managed. All were in agreement that government agencies  must accompany the cultural actors in this path by regulating the sector. The speakers also insisted that artists collaborate with streaming, downloading, and record sales platforms.

Some of the panellists included Didier AWADI (artist and director of Studio Sankara), Jean-Yves Kokou (Co-Founder & CBDO at Jaiye- Enjoy Good Music), Lucy Ilado  (Regional Programme Director at Selam) and Brahim El Mazned (Artistic Director of the Timitar Festival of World Music- in Agadir, Morocco and Visa for Music) who participated by videoconference from Morocco The moderator was Alain Bidjeck (African expert on music and cultural industries).

At the end of the second panel, four Burkinabe application developers (frican Tube, Antatube, Festi-event and REEM YAR) presented their applications for downloading, streaming and selling albums. Their objective is to help the development of these applications to take into account the challenges of digitalization at the local level and implement appropriate tools.

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