“What are your thoughts on corporates investing in the music industry?
Well, as far as we can remember, corporate people, corporations,
patrons of the arts, sponsorship have always been involved in the
artistic life even centuries ago in the eras of the western “renaissance”, romanticism or classicism...
Even the great European classical music composers…A large
number of them were there in the court of the King writing operas, symphonies or ballets designed to entertain the aristocracy and royalty of that time...
Popular music became a large scale industry in the mid sixties last
century: That era corresponds to a particular time when the people
born during or just after the second world war had come to an adult
age and outnumbered the rest of the population in most western
countries: That’s when rock and roll and pop music begun having
such a huge impact on popular culture and therefore became an
industry based on record sales, then ticket sales, then magazines
sales, then music videos, then cd sales and so on….
I don’t think that the problem may be corporations entering the
music business because they’ve always been there: I think that a change is needed in the way music is marketed, manufactured and sold because the rules have changed ever since 15 or 20 years.
These companies used to gather such huge profits without knowing what they were doing (the audiences aspirations pushed the artists and creators forward back then, not the other way around); Unfortunately, with the logic of standardization of mass production, whenever a music genre started bubbling in the underground it was immediately taken over, polished and repeated ad nauseum by record companies all over who produced so many record of copycat bands or talent less artists and therefore diminished the long term artistic credibility of these sub genres
So this industry kept reproducing endlessly the same formulas that were once successful without taking into consideration that trends come and go and that teenage audiences turn into mature audiences 20 years later. I think the time has come for “African music” to be
really, genuinely influential to the rest of the world. Maybe it’s time creative musicians take their destiny in their own hands and do
what the pioneers of the record industry did back then: create a
new language, a new market, seek for relevance and a new way
of nurturing the music business for themselves…”
Franck Biyong @ The Pan African Space Station
Chimurenga Library @ La Colonie – Paris, France
“Who Killed Kabila?” Exhibition
Dec 13th-Dec 17th 2017