SPICY TRENDS: 7 Tips to grow Liberian Entertainment Industry
Everything has been on an upward trend in our entertainment industry except for the necessary fundings and finance. Shortage of investors has hindered the competitive spirits in our industry even though the contents/quality of songs,movies and Comedy skits are on Par or almost on Par with Ghana,Kenya,Nigeria,south Africa and Tanzania. So why entertainment is it that investors are not rushing into this ever growing industry? Why is it that our contents are not being played on major continental channels and international channels like these other countries do? It is clear that the industry needs to be branded, structured and organized to attract investments, recognitions and respect. Uganda, Cameroon, and Togo are experiencing major breakthroughs in their various industries but When you ask our superstars in Liberia why the songs and videos are not being played on major continental and international channels, they all keep saying the same thing “small small we will get there, Ay costly o brellor”. So I giggled and winder like, Who says Show business (music,movie,tourism or general entertainments) is cheap? these stakeholders, superstars fail to realize that time is not our best friend if we must avoid the Angola factor, Angola was supposed to have stolen the limelight by now,Cabo Snoop,Yola Semedo artists that got world recognitions with the bubbling Semba and kizomba genres which were accepted locally and internationally but delay and inconsistency saw them knocked off by a new sound call BONGO of Tanzania in that region and Africa generally. Now,they are starting all over again. Delay is dangerous, to this I bring to you these 7 tips to attract investments and to put our house in order very fast so we can stand amongst the best in Africa while time is still on our side.
1. Establish a viable Union
An establishment of a grand ENTERTAINMENTS UNION OF LIBERIA to look after the general interests of the entertainment industry in with semi autonomous bodies like Musicians union, movies Union, Directors Unions,writers union,producers union,Union of DJs, Bloggers union,event planners/promoters union etc. The grand union and its branches should create and have updated website(s),well structured and vibrant. Anyone who is or wants to be involved in Liberian entertainment home and abroad
should be a registered Member in their specific field for data checking and cataloging, and they should also be current and vibrant
2. Get Loans
Before I get into it, let me tell you that Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience , or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but it’s more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience attention. Since entertainment brings joy, unity, peace and development, the Union has a solid case of borrowing money from African Developmental Bank AFD,World banks, Arab banks for Development and hey! Most of these Arab banks are interest free. We have other Donors associations and world credit schemes we are eligible for.Arts and entertainment is a big deal around the world. Consult some experts of finance and planning, some economists,have them advice on the best approach to obtaining the loans and how best the money can meet its target. With a solid Union,the ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism will have no options but to push forward our case. Stop wasting your time behind piracy, even the great US artists contents are pirated so that is not Liberia’s primary problem. Our problems are policies, proper plans and implementations.Nigeria,Ghana,south Africa,kenya all started with no government supports but today it is projected that in 2020 Nigerian entertainments industry with overall growth of 15.7 percent in 2016, reaching $3.8 billion. Nigeria’s music industry alone is expected to grow at a breathtaking 12.9 percent CAGR—almost doubling from $47 million in 2015 to over $86 million in 2020—on the back of strong mobile music revenue. South Africa Entertaining industry total music revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4 percent to R2.4 billion ($178 million) by 2020, fueled by surging digital music streaming revenue. Kenya’s total music industry revenue is projected to rise from $19 million to $29 million in 2020.Networth kf $2.1 billion in 2016, up 13.6 percent on 2015. Will be worth $3billion by 2020.
While Ghana’s E&M industry is beginning to gear up. In 2012, total revenue was just at $214 million, but four consecutive years of year-on-year growth above 25 percent have led it to revenues of $685 million in 2016. This is forecast to more than double over the next five years, with revenues of $1 billion being surpassed in 2019 and a total of $1.5 billion forecast for 2021, thanks to a 16.5 percent CAGR
Lastly Tanzania’s total E&M revenue stood at $504 million
Tanzania’s total E&M revenue stood at $504 million in 2016, but is set to more than double to $1.1 billion in 2021, a 17.2 percent CAGR over the coming five years. “The symbolic crossing of the $1 billion mark is set to occur in 2021. When the government of these Countries noticed the growth, policies and structures,they hopped in and together, both sectors are seeing soaring Growths.
So What is Liberia’s projection? We can’t even account for the total musicians, actors or actress in our entertainment right now because collecting data and staying updated are some of the biggest problems for us. Get a loan but first, make our industry reputable ,well structured and responsible.
3. Huge Home Market
It is safe and shame to say we have not yet achieved any home advantage,Nigeria has more than 80% of their own contents played/watched and consumed by them.interestingly, there are Nigerian artists,Actors and actresses focusing mostly on their local markets,artist like Duncan mighty, Small Doctor, Olamide, Phyno,and actors like odunlade, Toyin Abraham just to name but few and these guys are filthy rich and famous because of the home advantage. Better policies,systems and structuring got then reaping their rewards of their labors. In Liberia, you hear and see songs,watch movies, comedy skits etc from around the globe competing for airplays with the Liberian contents,what’s more baffling is how happily these foreign songs, movies, skits gets played regularly and freely! Yes! freely, while Liberian contents are billed, you either pay or they continue with the free foreign contents. With a strong and united union, this issue can be addressed properly.
4. Corporate Support
This is one aspect that is struggling woefully. The Corporate support is either meager or nonexistent. They are doing almost nothing for he industry.There are quite some numbers of companies in Liberia but they have turned blind eyes on the industry, they only show love when they invite their foreign brand ambassadors to Liberia. I thought soul fresh can pull more crowd than KCEE as it stands in Liberia. I thought CIC can have sold out concerts in SKD, ATS and any other stadiums or halls in Liberia as it stands with necessary funds and supports from these corporate entities, so why is it that these Corporate bodies are so reluctant in tapping up this lucrative industry? But you can’t fault them entirely too, this all falls back on structuring,packaging and branding the industry .Another key to note is, most of our entertainers or those involved in the business don’t know how to sell a lifestyle, that fake it till you make it attitude by some Ghanaians and Nigerians artists has done/are doing them justice, some rent big cars, display flashy rings, chains, wears, houses in their videos and in public outings so when event planners wants to book them, the looks at the material worth he sees them wearing, the lifestyle being portrayed especially when that artist is trending,to book such celebrity, you’d know it’ll take you some extra cash not the usual . So sell a lifestyle, it helps with your image and branding.
5. Shows and Accessibility
To have major sales, even in the US, you’ll have to go on tours to boost not just your CD sells, but also your market value.in movies, you’ll have to do lots of trailers and publicities. Do shows constantly,go to shows constantly. Be accessible, very important, your fans will always want to connect with you, be available always. publicity is key in show business. good publicity is publicity and it helps. bad publicity is publicity and it also helps. stay in the fries which is the ultimate target. Shatta Wale woke up one early morning and started beefing Wizkid,that is strategizing, Wizkid is the deal right now, to beef that kid will get the world to notice you,with a great content to back it up,congratulations!!! You’ve just hit the jackpot. that publicity brought him so much good, to continue the trend, him and his girl Shatta Michy allegedly split up and they say it was bitter and horrific, guns and physical abuse were reported but at the end it was all just publicity,they have reconciled and Shatta is experiencing more success and growth after these incidence. Jim Iyke was one of the best when it comes to branding and publicity in Nollywood as a bad boy character. So our various fields of entertainment needs a little bit of Jim Iyke, Shatta wale and a little bit of Linda Ikeji and Vera Sidiki,a little bit of DJ Jimmy Jatt and a little bit of Ubi Franklin.
We need more stuffs from bloggers, more events from planners and promoters, more movies from producers and directors, more songs from musicians,more DJs to bang Liberian songs in every corners etc. Only few movies get out for public consumption yearly in Liberia or in the diaspora by Liberian, only few artists have been consistent in dropping hit record, only few promoters have continue to promote events and concerts. Only few bloggers have been blogging consistently about the industry. mostly, they wait for the controversial gist. Let us do more.
Who runs a race only to give up a step away from the finish line? It took Stunna one song to have big companies running after him, whatever money his management may have spent, they are sure to get it all back ten folds. There are channels that really matters for our growth, go for it,movies producers, get your contents on multi-choice stations. Invest for the future, you may spend which maybe you feel it’s a lost or step too soon but when you do get it up there, the results are always rewarding. Artists get your songs on HIPTV, SOUNDCITY TV, MTVBASE, TRACE TV, CHANNEL o etc. These channels matters a lot. Don’t make hits with dope visuals and restrict it to YouTube and Liberian audiences only.
WRITTEN BY: JAY KAMARA [EDITOR PLUSLIBERIA]