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Photo: Ikenna Nwagboso (BANKU MUSIC)

Mr Eazi.

Mr Eazi Launches Africa Music Fund

The financial venture is raising $20 million to invest in African creatives, with the goal of setting them up with economic and creative freedom.

Nigerian musician Mr Eazi has revealed the creation of the Africa Music Fund (AMF) with 88mph, which invests in mobile/web-based startups, as lead investors.

The music fund was created to shake up the music business across the Africa continent, providing direct financial support to African artists to master their crafts. Of the project, Mr Eazi says, "AMF will give African creatives the ability to create content without worrying about the financial burgers of production."

Music from across the African continent has been a hot commodity in recent years, with the popularity of Afrobeats and the rising Amapiano genre as a few examples.


"The entire world is looking towards Africa for content," said Eazi, "For the entertainment industry, Africa is sort of the last frontier to be explored. African creatives should be able to retain economic and creative control of the content and culture that they create. With funding from AMF they can go ahead and create, knowing that there are no strings attached—it's just an advance on their future earnings."

The inspiration behind AMF came in light of the financial hardships many artists are experiencing with the global spread of COVID-19. "Post-Covid, some independent African artists might be in such a tough spot they end up signing deals they would have normally not have signed," Mr Eazi said. "But what if artists could get funding without going through a record label? Individual artists can't get funding from a regular bank to create content, because banks aren't set up to understand what collateral they can secure your loan against. You need an institution really focused on artists and content. That's where AMF comes in. It's a financial engine that invests in intellectual property. You come to us, we see how much you make, we give you an advance, and it is secured based on your IP."

Funding will be made available to both new and established creators. It is awarded based on demonstrated streaming revenue, as well as projected incomes on future recordings. "The initial advance will be debited in installments as their earnings begin to rise, with all artists enjoying access to information about their earnings in real-time," AMF said in a statement.

Already on the list is Nigerian producer DJ Neptune, whose single"Nobody" is one of the most streamed Afropop releases of 2020.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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