P-Unit latest African act to sign up for digital distribution

Rapping trio P-Unit have signed a “multi million shillings” deal which will see their music exclusively distributed by M-Tech Communications using mobile channels.

The Star reports that the trio – which consists of Francis Amisi a.k.a Frasha, Gabriel Kagugu a.k.a Gabu and Boniface Chege a.k.a Bon-Eye – are the latest act to sign such a deal, which will see music publishers dealing with the P-Unit after M-Tech pays them.

M-Tech CEO Ikechukwu Arthur Anoke said: “M-Tech is keen on developing music in Kenya and ensuring that artists profit from their work and gain the right visibility in the industry.”

“M-Tech believes in the Kenyan music industry and will continue to supports its development.”

“Our fans have really supported our music and we intend not to disappoint them for years to come, this partnership is therefore intended to give our fan base improved access to our content through multiplicity of channels – wherever they are,” said Frasha.

It has already been predicted that digital distribution is set to be a big revenue stream for African musicians in the next few years, as live performances revenues are set to decline. Digital music company Africori predicts that digital music distribution will account for 30 percent of revenues by 2020. Live music entertainment, which currently constitutes 85 percent of revenues, is predicted to fall to 30 percent.

 This shift to digitalization is already evident, with Kenyan companies such as Cellulant and Mobile Planet already opting to sell music through premium SMS services, as well as Safaricom’s SkizaTunes service. Iroko Partners has made its name on the continent by introducing distribution channels for audio and visual entertainment which rely heavily on technology to make local music and movies available to consumers.

Yet some musicians and content developers in Africa have accused services selling their music in such a way of taking the lion’s share of the revenues – often between 70 and 80 percent.

Frasha himself has been critical of such schemes in the past, saying: “The contracts with these mobile operators are handled by Premium-Rate Services Providers (PRSPs), who divide with artistes what is left of 85 percent made from the sales or downloads of our content.” It must be assumed that he has negotiated himself a better deal this time around.

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