How creative industry can survive COVID-19–AMFEST convener

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Kayode Adebayo, the Convener of the African Music Festival (AMFEST), says the creative industry can only survive the effects of COVID-19 by embracing fresh ideas and strategies.

Adebayo disclosed this in an interview with the Our Correspondent in Ibadan on Wednesday.

According to him, the industry has lost huge revenue to the COVID-19 ravaging the country.

” Entrepreneurs in the industry would have to devise means to keep themselves afloat at this trying time.

“How they will be able to survive this time requires a lot of work, strategy as well as new and fresh ideas and some may take the option of educating themselves on other approaches to make ends meet.

“What has been lost in the creative industry is to the tune of multi billion dollars, especially as the pandemic came at the time when Africa was strongly becoming a force to reckon with at the international level.

“It came at a time when our music, fashion, food and arts have come to a place where demand for it has started to really grow and we became stakeholders that people want to reckon with on the global stage,” he said.

Adebayo, who is also the President of Kayode Adebayo Media Africa (KAM Africa), said the pandemic had impacted on the growing creative industry, with people first considering basic needs of survival before secondary desires.

He, however, noted that some aspects of the creative industry would experience growth if technology was embraced.

” For instance, the fashion industry will continue to receive support from stakeholders.

” For example, the government of Oyo State contracted sewing of face masks to practitioners in the industry.

“But industry practitioners must become innovative. What margin were they able to generate from the masks?

“It is not that they are able to create a product with high margins and sell it as high as they would before the advent of COVID-19,” he said.

He also said reports indicated that the music industry would suffer 30 percent loss in 2020, adding that ” this is because live music on stage is one of the highest earning aspect of the music industry.”

“The live aspect of it which is one of the strong areas that Africa and Nigeria in particular earn high from will shrink.

“This means no concerts, shows and social gatherings to sing at for a good number of months,” Adebayo said.

He, however, noted that many music artistes from the comfort of their homes were now putting out digital content to engage their fanbase.

Adebayo noted further that the food business was presenting good prospects in the creative industry though it would be limited in the margins that it could command.

“The food business in the creative industry will stay afloat though this will require some form of dynamism.

“The art industry is affected negatively too. In 2019, some Nigerian artists made huge revenue from their works locally and internationally by selling unique art pieces in the local and global art market.

“But the industry will also be tough for newcomers while the value of already well known art pieces will appreciate post COVID-19 while things gradually adjust back to normal.

“Few artists like Njideka Akinyili Crosby has had a fantastic run in the market since 2018 by selling a few notable pieces that amassed her revenue in sales.

“Investment and trading will slow down since the pandemic is global,” he said.

Recounting how his outfit had been coping with the effects of COVID-19, Adebayo said his company was ahead of the present challenges because it had embraced technology to advance its operations.

“We have moved a lot of what we are doing online. We were building some online products to help us navigate digitally and scale up what we were doing physically before the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We felt that physical conferences and meetings have their limits, but to be able to scale to the wider audience we went digital.

“We were building and testing our social media and networking platform ‘amfestconnect.com’ and ‘amfestcrowd.com for creative products of African origin from all over the world just about the time Nigeria reported its first case of COVID-19.

“So, the advent of the virus gave us the opportunity to launch and push engagement on it. For now we have been doing well using technology solutions.

“Through our products, Africans across various continents can decide to work with one another, facilitated by the network provided through our social, networking and media platforms.

“It is like a hybrid of Facebook and LinkedIn together but mainly for people in the creative industry and geared toward creating relationships and business opportunities for creative products of African origin,” he stated.

He also noted that his company partnered with WHO to execute an ongoing project, ” Music vs Virus Africa Challenge.”

“What we did was to invite music artists and music producers from all over Africa and we brought them together to do music that has to do with educating Africa on how to protect themselves against COVID-19.

“So we have people from Togo, Malawi, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa and everywhere in Africa. They created their music and uploaded it.

“So we sat down with music experts to look at the best 10 of them, we got them together on May 23.

“We had coaches from Egypt, Cote d’ voire, Uganda and Nigeria. As participants did performances online, the judges were able to judge their performances and give the result.

“Voting for finalists is ongoing and this will result in all these talents from Francophone, Anglophone and other parts of Africa, coming together to create an EP body of work that will feature these various music producers and artistes,” he said.

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