By Cecilia Ijuo
Rising musician, Akinwande Olugbenga says the negative effect of piracy on the music industry in developing countries like Nigeria is huge.
Olugbenga, whose stage name is Timo (THETIMO) said this in a phone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
The singer, who is also a songwriter with around 20 songs, an album and an Extended Play Record (EP) under his belt, said artists have never received commensurate rewards for their work.
The singer, who released a powerful six-track EP titled “THE PRAYER” on September 3, said piracy or theft of intellectual property is flourishing in developing countries due to various factors.
According to him, many people in developing countries face the challenge of not being able to afford data, face epileptic power supply, among others, and would prefer to get content through the cheapest means possible.
He said to combat piracy, artists should explore digital streaming stores like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon and Deezer, among others.
He said the stores help fight theft because they own the copyright to the songs on behalf of the singers to protect their intellectual property.
The singer said, “If every artist uploads to these platforms and it is ensured that people will find their works there, piracy will be reduced over time.
“However, people, especially in developing countries, would prefer to download songs rather than stream them online due to the cost of data and epileptic power, among other reasons.
“Given this, uploading songs to these very good international platforms becomes counterproductive.
“The challenge is that your audience waits to upload your songs to blogs and then you limit them to streaming platforms.
“So people have to earn enough to be able to afford to buy data on a regular basis and also to subscribe regularly to these streaming platforms,” he said.
Olugbenga said Amazon traffic is also no small feat, especially for upcoming artists.
He said, “Artists need to earn enough to be able to frequent streaming platforms because downloading on digital platforms is not that cheap.”
The singer, who rose to prominence when he released his debut single in September 2016 with a song called “Mogbéoga (I recognize you)”, said another worrying dimension of piracy was digital piracy.
According to him, digital piracy is simply the online version of conventional piracy.
He said this version of the hack involved singers paying to upload songs to blogs while the blogs ran advertisements and made money from traffic by uploading the songs, but the artists received nothing.
“In a developing country like Nigeria, this is the order of the day until the artist is old enough to go without blogging.
“Even at that, people expect songs on blogs, so many bloggers will go for the adulterated versions of songs to provide them on blogs.
“For example, I was in a group started by one of my senior friends called a praise and worship group where he posted songs daily to bless the members.
“I had to leave because I’m hurt that people’s intellectual property is being released without prior consent or compensation.
“It’s a major problem but thinking about the publicity it brings, it seems like a necessary evil,” he said.
He called for adequate awareness on the part of artists, bloggers and the general public on the dangers of piracy.
He also said there was a need to reduce poverty, saying it was a major factor responsible for intellectual property theft.
Speaking about his genre of music, Olugbenga said he makes more inspirational songs with unique messages to enrich people while making them recognize God’s blessings around them.
“My goal is to be a blessing to my world.
“I sing because the Spirit of God inspires me and I believe He can inspire me to address issues in our world such as politics, war, crime, juvenile delinquency, love, joy and many others.
“I’m not stuck with gospel music, so if he gives me a song that doesn’t fit into the gospel classification, I’ll go ahead and sing it.
“I’m not going to put it aside in the name of ‘I’m a gospel singer’. For example, He gave me a song called SISE (Work) a while ago.
“It’s a folk song that encourages people to work hard and smart while discouraging competition and hatred.
“For example, in the song, I said, ‘you are your own competition’, not the others around you.
“I’m sure the song is totally in line with the scriptures, but it’s not a gospel song.”
On what inspired him to sing, Olugbenga said, “It all started when I was 18 in Ibafo, Ogun State.”
He also talked about how difficult it is for upcoming artists around the world to get endorsements, record labels, and platforms.
He, however, expressed his optimism that the industry, especially in Nigeria, would continue to have a positive impact on lives.
“We find Nigerian creatives on all platforms inside and outside the country who are doing amazing work.
“We also have young Nigerian singers traveling to Dubai, UK, USA, Canada and other countries to perform which is mind blowing,” he said. (NOPE)