The “DaLevie” Code

“Convert to Digital and then change the entire product.” That’s how my mind summarised it, anyway. That tweet from Aaron Levie is probably one of the most intriguing things I’ve read on Twitter. It seems to me like that will be the recipe for success this century. Find a physical product, switch it to digital, then change the product and “watch the money pile up”.

Coincidentally, a few days after seeing the tweet, I came across UK music sales numbers for 2013. Streaming, the entertainment channel du jour, seems to be coming into its own very nicely. Music streaming is up 33% on 2012’s numbers, significantly outpacing physical sales in year-on-year growth (overview available here). In the US, Netflix, which inspired the Levie tweet, has seen a 4% increase in revenue, with pay-TV channels reporting a 6% decline in subscriptions over the same period.

UK Music Stats

 

Music streaming is going to have to peak sometime soon, though.  This piece compares 15 streaming platforms (including the just-come-online Beats), each with a catalogue of over 20 million songs. That it omits the largest players in the African market can mean any of several (good or bad) things, depending on how you want to slice it. However, if Spotify, the largest (by reputation, if not revenues) reported a net loss of £49.1 million for 2012, is there really going to be gold at the end of this gold rush? It’s not all doom and gloom however, as streaming revenue in the UK this year was over £100m. Unclear how much of this is profit, but as this piece and this one show, Amazon (for example) continues to defy the huge-revenues-no-profits logic.

And even if streaming peaks in the Europe and the US with all their internet saturation, Africa’s numbers suggest that an Africa “Boom” is still possible. PWC’s South African Entertainment and Media Outlook (2013-2017) – which includes Nigeria and Kenya (download links available here) – contains lots of relevant data. The Nigeria report says, amongst other things, that the fastest growth area in consumer spending will be internet access, with a compound annual growth rate of 49%. The 2017 Nigeria internet market is projected to be worth US$5.6bn and mobile is expected to dominate this, with the current 8 million mobile broadband subscriptions estimated to rise to over 40 million in 2017. That’s 40 million potential music streaming customers in Nigeria alone, over the next 3 years. If we use the Spinlet N3,000/month subscription to attempt a layman’s gauge of the market, that’s roughly a potential annual pool of  [Error, Error, Error]. Chuckle.

So, what product will YOU convert to digital and then change entirely?

The Week Gone By

1. We begin this week’s roundup with the goings-on in the People’s Democratic Party and statements from those who remain in the party, as well as those who have defected. The President, in a moment of uncommon frankness and lucidity, confirmed what many already suspected – most of the misfits in politics chose to “serve” not because they really wanted to serve, but because they were jobless.

Our leader, in Freudian slip

Has given his colleagues the flip

We do this enjoyment

Because unemployment

Has held Nigeria in its grip

2. After many months of wrangling, in-fighting and defections to the opposition, Bamanga Tukur was forced to give up his position as the Chairman of the PDP. However, the President swiftly promised that he would “reward” the 80-year old (!!!) with a juicier position than party chairman (he actually said “tougher” but let’s all agree he was being euphemistic). Well, he’s fulfilled this promise, as Tukur is set to be announced as the new Minister of Defence.

There was an old man named Bamanga

Led ruling clique of Bonga-Bonga

Was forced to resign

Against his design

Where is he? Asimbonanga!

So, Tukur, Defence! What a hoot!

A platinum gold parachute

The octogenarian

For being non-sectarian

Will watch o’er the gun and the boot.

3. After being the spearhead of the group that threw a spanner in the cogs at the PDP convention, which has led to the osmosis/diffusion from the PDP to the APC, Atiku Abububakar has announced that he will consult all over the nation on whether or not he should join the APC. Uhmmm…..

The grand architect of the chasm

Split PDPs light in its prism

Says he will consult

Collate the result

‘Fore joining APCs orgasm

4. Femi Fani-Kayode’s been writing again. The piece itself is evidence of how far technology and democracy have come, as my brain cannot process the consequence of its equivalent during the Abacha or early Obasanjo years. It contains 12 steps that GEJ must follow to achieve Illuminatic enlightment (or bring back peace to Nigeria, whatever), which include lying prostrate before 7 living elementals and remaining there until each had pronounced absolution. There were some salacious tidbits too.

That piece, though lampooned, is quite handy

It showed the modus operandi

The royals-in-castle

Relieve all our hassle

With kai kai and Ol’ Mama Brandy

5. This one is for Pastor Chris Okotie, renowned grandliloquent man of the cloth, who has flagged off his perennial presidential campaign by telling Catholics the Pope is the antichrist and that  they’re all going to hell.

Our dear Pastor truly excites

His church with grammatical flights

But his inclination

To rule our nation

Is mostly all saccharine delights

6. The President recently signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law. While banning gay marriage (which was already unlawful under the old marriage laws), many argue it actually goes as far as also making private homosexual conduct illegal. It kicked up a storm on the interblogs.

The old law was no more effectual

To deal with love gay, though consensual

To make up the time

It now is a crime

In Naija to be homosexual

There was once a Nigerian law

That made twitterati jaw-jaw

‘Bout culture, religion

“Colonialisation”

Intolerance, hatred and more

This loud and impassioned debate

About how adults may relate

Has kicked up a storm

About what the norm

Should be in a secular state

7. The Pastor of a popular church, accused last year of adultery, and promising a “robust response” to the allegations and accusations (yet to be delivered; that chapter is probably closed now), was blessed, by a visiting Pastor, with a Rolls Royce reported to be worth $1million

Today we must all with one voice

Give hearty thanks, praise & rejoice

There once was abuse

But now robust news

Of shiny new gleaming Rolls Royce

8. Since we’re on the subject of robust responses, how about that Okonjo-Iweala lady? Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy (and one-fifth of Nigeria’s Pentocracy or a quarter of its Jezebellocracy, if you believe Femi Fani-Kayode), provided a response over 100 pages long to the 50 questions she had been asked by the House Committee on Finance. Their aides must have had their weekends ruined.

The minister’s response robust

To justify huge sacred trust

So now we all wait

What will be the fate

Of all the Assembly men’s lust?

9. Two shootings on either side of the political spectrum. One was Senator Magnus Abe, of the opposition APC, the other, President Jonathan’s head of Photoshop.

They shot Magnus point-blank with rubber

And injured his somatic flubber

T’was minimal force

The cops say, of course

He’s off to London to recover

Goodluck’s chief pic shooter’s been shot

With bullets, not lenses, his lot

And live ones, not rubber

But yay, the old lubber

Is resting in a hospital cot

Limericks and Politics

It’s probably not intentional, but the limericks have veered, in a most determined fashion, into the theatre of politics since the turn  of the year. Perhaps it’s the season the country is in, with all the political intrigue already “heating up the polity”. For those who follow the politics, here’s my take on the events. For those who don’t, maybe this will spark your interest, as the question of who our leaders should be has never been more important.

1. General Muhammadu Buhari reportedly said here that the All Progressives Congress would groom tomorrow’s leaders. Pretty rich, coming from him, as he’s turned 70 and seems to wish to contest in 2015’s presidential elections  in spite of the fact that he’s participated and lost in every election since 1999.

A frequent Prez Contestant

Thrice lost,but unrepentant

Announced that his party

Will groom leaders, lawdy

He’s not even groomed a lieutenant

2.  The  YouTube video above went viral. It showed a Kenyan lady remarking tongue-in-cheek about how dazzled they were when President Jonathan came to Kenya with Nigerian businessmen, in a “convoy” of 7 private jets. It was a non-story, a chuckle and a half, until Dr. Reuben Abati (Special Assistant to the President on Media/Communications) tweeted this:

And this…

There once was a journo named Reuben

Committed to Naija improving

Now works to de-slander

Design propaganda

A pity I can’t say he’s winning.

 

There once was a journo named Reuben

Attacked the govt by lampooning

These days it’s his job

To earn a few bob

By angry retort & disproving

 

In Kenya’bout Jon it was said

To Nairobi 7 aircraft he led

It’s blown Reuben’s fuse

Challenging the news

On TABLOIDS where it’s being read.

 

So “seven” is said to be lucky

But it’s made our poor Reuben plucky

He’s pissed at the lie

“Shut Up”, “Go and Die”

Or chillax & have a kentucky

 

3. The hawks continue to circle Princess Stella Oduah, the Nigerian Minister of Aviation. First it was the scandal of the purchase of 2 armoured BMWs for $1.6m. Now, it has been alleged that she hasn’t been totally honest about her graduate studies. Shortly after the story broke, it was reported further that her aides had frantically cleaned up all her online profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Wikipedia and the Aviation Ministry’s website), removing all references to the questioned MBA and PhD. No statement on this yet from the presidency. Meanwhile, it was also reported that the President had, in anger, asked the outgoing CBN governor (tenure expires in June) to resign (story here) – for publicly alleging that over $40bn (!!!) of oil revenue was unaccounted for, when the true figure was closer to only $10bn.

For Princess,a new revelation

Times Premium in investigation

Is casting a doubt

(Abeg I can’t shout)

On Stella Oduah’s education

 

In spite of the Grand Renovation

It’s tricky,this school situation

Should all that she’s built

Absolve her of guilt

If she fibbed’bout her education?

 

The prez wants SLS to go

For leakage to ex-presido

And 10 lost, not 40

That letter was naughty

But Sanusi, boldly, says NO.

 

So Goody would have Lami go

For daring to spotlight the dough

But on his princess

He will not address

The beamers and CV, no, no.

 

4. Britain and Nigeria signed an agreement to deport each other’s convicted nationals to serve out their sentences in their home countries. The conspiracy theory mill swung into overdrive, anticipating that James Ibori, convicted former governor, would be one of the beneficiaries, and that he would receive a state pardon very quickly thereafter, making him eligible to actively participate in politics again.

The Crown and the Giant of Dreams

(Cos Scrubs were a-burst at the seams)

Today they agree

Our prisoners are free

To serenade Alagbon with their screams

 

If you’re stuck in Jail-Upon-Thames

And tired of bars, grills  and frames

And hail from Nigeria

Well, cue the hysteria

You’re being brought back with King James

 

5. Pastor Chris Okotie, another perennial presidential “perspirant”, says God has told him to contest again in 2015.

Old pop star, though Fresh politician

In throes of divine proposition

Has recently said

He will go ahead

Contest in the coming election

 

6. Adams “dashes” hawker N1m, OBJ gives notice of intention to leave the PDP, MINTy Nigeria and the APC continues to welcome EVERYONE from the PDP.

There once was a guv’nor in Edo

Who lived by a different credo

Splashed widows and hawkers

Turned us into gawkers

Is he making an “eminado”?

 

Our leaders, their eyes are a-glint

While activists say they are skint

These ignorant few

Have not seen the view

Of Nigeria in the MINT!

 

Ex prez of the Khaki and Lace

In grand political volte face

Is leaving the coven

Will said crimes be proven

For now, we must all watch this space

 

It can’t be a happy prognosis

This grand political osmosis

For when you embrace

The gunk from that place

You’re bound to contract a necrosis

 

The state legislator named Lloyd

By macey-head escapade buoyed

Has been apprehended

For innards distended

As fleeing with ‘Maechi he toyed

(Read the Lloyd story here).

 

And the piece de resistance…

There was a Frenchman named Francois

Who broke Le Gold Rule du Boudoir

He stuck his baguette

In une autre palette

His Mrs took ill, ooh la la!

 

And a Few Others…

In 0-13s month of December

A husband got sliced on his member

But,peculiar life

He’s back with his wife

Uhm, wake me up, end of September.

A thought for the reds of Manchester

Because them again we must pester

4th home loss in 6

Can Moyesy still fix

Or does Alex need a de-rester?

The Problem With Our Live Performances

When you buy or are given tickets to attend a concert, is your expectation merely to see musicians in the flesh or to hear them sing and watch them put on a show? Chances are that most people are hopeful for a real performance when they head out to shows and this is why our musicians must not simply dismiss it as “hating” when their customers (ie we the listeners) complain about artists coming on stage to simply shout over their street-copy singles.

There are a few of reasons why I think the industry needs to re-evaluate its predominant mode of live performances. The first is that it adds no value to the artist’s brand or public image. You jump over the entire stage yelling your lyrics over music I already have on my iPod or in my car. It takes no craftsmanship to do that – the concert promoters might as well doll up some average Joe on the streets, slap sunshades on him, teach him the lyrics to your song and ask him to run all over the place, asking people to throw their hands up.

Secondly, in an industry where music is sounding increasingly homogenous, both lyrically and rhythmically, an artist does not differentiate himself from the others if he gives the exact same performance that everyone who gets on stage before of after him will give – yet this is what happens at most shows. The result is very few memorable performances, if any.

Thirdly, because of the hopelessly poor audio (shouting hoarsely and mostly out of sync over street-copy music) artists kill potential additional revenue streams from post-event marketing, such as DVDs and CDs.

Now, obviously, accompanying musicians and backing vocalists cost money and most labels and stars are struggling with very slim revenue margins. So, kudos artists who customarily perform with a band. My argument, however, is not that artists who cannot afford it break the bank hiring a band. In fact, many foreign artists, when they come here, perform over a CD. The difference is, the backing CDs of these foreign artists are stripped of lead vocals. So, for example, you didn’t hear either Joe or Maxi Priest singing over their own leads (at the MTN Corporate Elite Concert), even though neither came with a band. Secondly, these guys come with their own DJs, to segue the music properly and maybe even loop a few bars for the artist to ad lib over.

Most music is mixed and mastered with software these days, so I can’t imagine it being very hard to simply take out the lead vocal tracks and create a separate backing CD for live performances.

The industry deserves commendation for how far it has come. Music is mixed and videos are shot to the highest international standards, and our performers deserve credit for this. There is still some way to go with live performances however, and I urge the industry to take a closer look at this in 2014. I can’t believe I’m going to quote Donald Trump, but I heard him say this once in an interview a while back, talking about his success: Nobody wants a free lunch. Give them an unforgettable lunch and you can’t miss.