Support your favorite musician with an investment in his or her tracks

·3-min read
The Nigerian streaming service uduX has joined forces with PiggyVest to launch the funding platform PopRev.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, musicians have been largely dependent on revenues from streaming platforms. A method of remuneration that has its pros and cons, which often proves to be insufficient. With this in mind, a number of music industry players have come up with an idea to enable fans to provide direct support for their favorite artists by investing in their catalogues.

It may not be the most reliable proposition in the context of the ongoing pandemic, but it does offer an opportunity for investors to express their personal tastes. The Nigerian music streaming service, uduX, and fintech PiggyVest are hoping to convince music fans to invest in the success of their favorite artists. Starting in mid-May, the PopRev platform will enable music lovers to provide financial support for their idols by buying shares in some of their tracks. They will also be able to follow their investments on uduX, which will relay real-time information on the number streams generated by the tracks they have bet on.

For Chidi Okeke, the initiative will enable music lovers to be more involved with the careers of artists they already adore. "For fans, it's a way of sharing in the success of music they like, and literally becoming more invested in those artists," explains the uduX CEO. The new scheme will be strongly communitarian because it will enable "investor fans" to invite friends and family to the platform to listen to tracks they have funded, and thereby increase their investment.

The additional remuneration afforded by the new system has already attracted the attention of Nigerian singer and global afrobeats star, Davido, who believes it will be a lifesaver for musicians who have been hit hard by the cancelation of concerts and tours during the pandemic. "The COVID-19 and lockdown situation made it more obvious than ever that it is not sustainable for artists to depend solely on live performances to fund and extend their art. An initiative like PopRev will afford a lot of creators who, for example, struggled through the lockdown, the privilege to create without concerns of funding. This is timely and needful," points out the musician.

The advent of music crowdfunding?

Chidi Okeke goes even further to affirm that PopRev, which will give local artists access to funding from all around the world, could be a potential game-changer for the entire Nigerian music ecosystem. Having said that, the idea of allowing fans to invest directly in their favorite artists is far from new. Thanks to the likes of Kickstarter, Patreon and the now-defunct PledgeMusic, crowdfunding initiatives have been part of the music-industry landscape for some time. And not all of them have proved to be successful. Let's not forget Sellaband, which, when it launched in 2006, offered the world's musicians the option to bypass traditional labels to seek funding from their communities. The German start-up lasted only four years before it filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

In spite of misadventures like this, many music professionals are still mulling over the possibility of giving music fans a chance to invest in their favorite acts. Big Hit Entertainment, the label behind the wildly successful K-pop phenomenon BTS, did exactly that last October when it went public on the South-Korean stock market with a capitalization of 8.4 billion dollars. Although they have since climbed back, Big Hit shares declined by 40% after only two weeks. Let that be a word of warning to anyone who believes that investing in music is not a risky business.

Caroline Drzewinski