Several sectors are recession-proof and entertainment is one of them, with consumption happening across all consumer classes regardless of the economic climate. However, the entertainment sector in Africa continues to face endemic issues particularly affecting creators, who arguably put in most of the work but perpetually seem to pick the short end of the stick.

September 2020 saw the Music Copyright Society of Kenya disburse royalties to its members who took to the internet to voice their anger at the peanuts that had been attributed, with some amounts seen as generic and not matching a self-measured โ€˜fame quotientโ€™. The same narrative is mirrored by producers in the movie sector, albeit directed at streaming platforms that are struggling to meet their expectations on views and by extension revenue.

Everyone in the supply chain needs to understand intimately what the other does and look for collaborative ways to maximize collective return. Currently, there is a gross underestimation of the role that parties play stemming from an oversimplification mindset that seeks to minimize the input of the other, mostly in a bid to stake a bigger claim on revenue.

Distribution is core to monetization, and the veterans of Nairobiโ€™s River Road have for their time mastered this, able to leverage agency networks and even age-old piracy to great effect and profit. Mobile data has opened up access to the internet for millions of subscribers hungry for content.

Mobile network operators, ISPโ€™s and a host of other service providers are at the front line of this distribution and are also arguably the biggest sources of play volume but create nothing themselves.

Content creators and their representative legally empowered collective management organizations need to drink from the spring of innovation and look at building the tools that will allow them to mop up revenue, attribute it correctly and provide the relevant dashboards, accessible via multiple channels for creators to track performance. Letting the data speak and making parts of it publicly accessible will put a stop to any individual or collective rants while allowing the CMOโ€™s to grow their in-house capacity.

The possible solution mix covers the technological, technical, and operational and it is not possible to cover those in-depth within the limits here. Perhaps the creator community in Kenya is now sufficiently agitated to trigger action in this direction to start work on โ€˜ownedโ€™ tools and tech as opposed to relying on third-party black box data.

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