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Idris Elba Trademarks His Name To Launch A Beauty And Lifestyle Brand

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LONDON – Thursday, May 21, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Idris Elba has trademarked his own name as he prepares to launch his lifestyle brand with his wife Sabrina. The actor, 47, and his partner, 30, are said to have submitted applications with the Intellectual Property Office earlier this year for “Sable Labs and their podcast Coupledom”.

One application for their lifestyle brand suggests the couple will make dozens of products, including soaps, aftershave, cosmetics like lipstick and mascara, and bubble bath, among others. Another list of products sees the pair venture in medical items such as medicated acne treatment, dermatological products, nutritional supplements and treatment of hair loss, The Sun reports.

It was claimed that Idris requested to trademark his name and made the applications for the brand through his UK firm IE7 Holdings Limited, which he also uses for his music business, clothing brand, and production company Green Door Pictures.

The couple aim to make Sable Labs a ‘global community that celebrates partnerships of all kinds – romantic couples, business partners, creative duos, long standing friends, family ties and much more.’ Idris and Sabrina launched their first project, a podcast hosted by the actor and model couple named Coupledom, in February.

Speaking on their podcast, they explained the ethos behind their new brand and answer in-depth questions about their relationship. Idris said: ‘We’ve started something called Sable Labs – that’s Elba’s backwards! ‘We believe if we can create a Coupledom community, we can share our experiences and help each other communicate better, and achieve more.’

Sabrina continued: ‘We’d love to explore couples and relationships of all kinds under the topic of Coupledom – which is two people coming together to make a shared dream a reality. ‘My hope is that by listening to other partnerships, people will recognise themselves and their own relationships, finding common ground that they can apply to their own lives. ‘We hope that Coupledom becomes an inspiring space to help one another grow.’

The Coupledom podcast is the first project to launch from Sabrina and Idris’ joint partnership and will see the duo drill down into questions such as how did they meet, when did they ‘know’, why do they work and what lessons have they learnt from each other. The couple have been married for just over a year, exchanging vows at the Ksar Char Bagh hotel in Marrakesh in front of 150 guests in April 2019.

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How East African Musicians Are Generating Revenue Today

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As the world continues to embrace technology, and with the current state of quarantine in so many countries, musicians are in a constant search for new and better streams of income. In East Africa, artists and companies are looking to tap into a tech-savvy, smartphone-connected population of around 537 million people through several pathways.

Ahead of the MIDEM digital panel conversation on Reinventing Monetisation Sources in East Africa, which we will be moderating, we spoke with the panelists: Tanzanian star Vanessa Mdee, TRACE TV’s Head of Music Business East & Anglophone Africa and Swahili nation Founder Cleopatra Mukula, and Mdundo‘s Chief Operating Officer Wanjiku Koinange, and also hear from insider voices like Nairobi-based Camille Stormto get their takes on income options for artists in East Africa.

The best way for East African artists to make money right now—given the current situation

“Currently the best way is to monetize off of digital content and brand endorsements,” says star singer-songwriter Vanessa Mdee. “Beyond concerts, artists in East Africa make most of their revenue on social media and off of their music streaming platforms. However being a brand ambassador is the most lucrative means of making revenue aside from the above mentioned.”

Locking in partnerships with brands is a point that comes up a lot throughout our discussions with the group. Vanessa herself has had numerous deals with the likes of Samsung Tanzania, Doffi washing powder and others, as do all major artists in the region.

Mdundo’s Chief Operating Officer Wanjiku Koinange.
Photo courtesy of Mdundo.

“It’s a positive thing that artists are monetizing through their partnerships with brands,” says Cleopatra Mukula of TRACE. “Thank god for endorsements, that check goes a long way during this current situation, and most of the artists that I’ve spoken to say that. Some companies have started to do digital concerts sponsored by brands. Some of the brands in Uganda have been even sponsoring artists to do indoor concerts, all well controlled, but I can’t say names.”

But what can up-and-coming artists who can’t secure lucrative deals with brands do? “The obvious way is endorsements and brand ambassadors, but even then it’s the top 10 artists per country [getting them], specially those known in recent times,” weighs in Wanjiku Koinange of Mdundo.

“It would be great to see more artists working with brands that want some impact on social media to do monetized live streams and the like,” adds Camille Storm, founder of the Nairobi-based creative agency Camille & Co. and current OkayAfrica contributor. “Beyond that I would say a big source of income is digital ringtone downloads.”

“What I love about artists from the East is that we like to think about smart ways of monetizing our business,” mentions Mukula, “If we look at Vanessa Mdee, she’s not just an artist but an entrepreneur. She has merch and a record label—that keeps a smart ecosystem. You’re not just making revenue from live shows but also supporting other artists and monetizing through the collective. Merch has been a big one. Quite a few artists have merch in the East. A Pass, Diamond Platnumz has his media/record label, Ali Kiba has partnered with brands.”

Streaming & online service options for East African artists

“The future is in data and East Africa has that,” says Cleopatra Mukula. “The East African algorithm and ecosystem actually drives lots of business for artists in the East and lots of Africa. Africa has 1.2 billion people. A minimum of 75% are on smartphones. Look at the data. The majority are 35-years-old and under. This is a demographic that consumes music. For East Africa, you have a population 537 million. In Nairobi, 80% of people have a smartphone.”

“East Africa like most of Africa is filled with Android users and the most popular music platform for the consumer has been Boomplay,” adds Vanessa Mdee. “Apple Music only recently became available for the music consumer in East Africa even though iOS/Apple products have been in use for years.”

“The generally cheaper data prices in East Africa (especially Tanzania) could see music on these platforms do super well as it has on Youtube for example,” mentions Camille Storm.

Cleopatra Mukula, TRACE TV’s Head of Music Business East & Anglophone Africa
Photo courtesy of Cleopatra Mukula.

The mobile-web based music service Mdundo has been operating in East Africa and beyond for close to eight years. It offers songs for free downloads and streaming directly from their website and Android app. “We’re predominantly a digital music service available as a web download and streaming app. We have 5 million users on a monthly basis and work with 50 thousand artists signed directly to our platforms,” explains Wanjiku Koinange, “but we also have partnerships with Believe, Tunecore and others.”

“We create an option for users to be able to stream, an option for low income users on the digital space, people who have very basic phones or smartphones. We’re trying to get all the music available on the catalog for free. Piracy is the number one thing we have to fight.” Any user searching for “download Sauti Sol” on Google, for example, will see Mdundo’s site in the top results. The company cites that it now has 7.2 million users in Tanzania, 7.1 million users in Kenya, and 5.4 million in Nigeria, 3.4 million in South Africa and more across the continent.

Streaming giants like Apple Music and American companies like Audiomack are also looking to the region. “Apple Music recently just expanded to Tanzania and are super interested in setting up closer relationships with more East African acts and labels,” mentions Camille Storm. “Audiomack also shows a lot of support for East Africa with their playlists and promotions. It would be great for East African artists to hop on these opportunities to learn and grow to get on par with the rest of the world in terms of roll-out strategies for their music on these streaming platforms for maximum impact as well.”

Build from within or look towards streaming giants?

“We have for a while tried to support and work with national/local streaming companies like Mkito, Mdundo, Mzikii, however the Chinese Boomplay and American Audiomack have been the most popular amongst the masses because of their ease on consumers as well as their availability to Android users,” explains Vanessa Mdee. “The consistency for consumer and artist with the local streaming platforms has been unstable over the years hence why the dependency on the more developed streaming companies.”

Vanessa Mdee.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Wanjiku Koinange of Mdundo has this to say: “We are learning from Apple and Spotify but we also understand that the systems that allow them to exist, like royalty collections, are not necessarily what we have here. In Kenya, for example, we don’t use credit cards/debit cards as often, we have the mobile money. So for these companies, if they’re trying to get into this market, the cost would be big. I don’t know if it would make sense. They could cater to the top income earning population that do have credit cards or do the required subscription payments.”

“I do think the solution will come from within and what I imagine will happen will be to tailor a product similar to services like ours (Mdundo, Boomplay),” Wanjiku adds. “The solutions will come faster from within. The model of Mdundo has changed a bit throughout the years and it’s focused on the app and changed our product market.”

“I think the whole of Africa in general needs to build from within first,” agrees Camille Storm. “There’s a lot that we need to do that can’t be fixed overnight by major companies or international record labels coming in. We can’t look to them for all the answers but I think international companies coming in to invest in the East African music industry would be beneficial and it’s something that is bound to happen anyway. But for them to effectively work with us or invest in us we also have to have made more progress in terms of creating a system that really works on the ground with regards to functioning labels and creative agencies, charting systems, and royalty collection and payments.”

“An option could be that big players come in to the market and find smart people to adapt DSP services locally,” says Cleopatra Mukula. “The smart players will understand that for you to really work with East Africa you have to understand the culture, the people and find ways of dealing with a demographic that’s sustainable on its own.”

– Kam Tambini/Okay Africa

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Munyaradzi Chanetsa Appointed As A&R Manager At Sony/ATV Music Publishing

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Sony/ATV Music Publishing South Africa has appointed Munyaradzi Chanetsa as its Africa A&R manager with effect from 1 June.

Chanetsa joins Sony/ATV SA from the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) where he served as head of licensing since March-April 2019. Before CAPASSO, he was head of operations at Content Connect Africa where he also assumed the role of managing director for Content Connect Ghana and Content Connect International. Chanetsa also served as the head of marketing and promotions in South Africa for New York label Putumayo World Music.

He will be responsible for finding new talent throughout the continent, promoting songwriters’ copyright and careers, and connecting them with bigger opportunities. He will also work closely work with his Sony/ATV colleagues to pitch new and existing repertoire to the marketplace.

“I have worked with Munyaradzi previously and I have no doubt we have a person here who brings with him dedication, passion and experience, which is key as we expand our publishing business across the continent,” Sony/ATV South Africa managing director Rowlin Naicker said.

Details of Chanetsa’s appointment come after Sony/ATV SA partnered last week with his previous employer, Content Connect Africa, on a deal that will seek to expand the label’s publishing services.

“I am joining a great team of talented people who share my passion, and I just cannot wait to see what we can all achieve together,” Chanetsa said.

Sony/ATV international president Guy Henderson said: “We are excited to work with him to achieve our goals. Munyaradzi is a creative talent with vast experience and a perfect fit for our company and its creative ambitions. With Munyaradzi’s position in the creative community both in South Africa and across the African continent, he will be a great addition to our global team.”

Chanetsa is a well-known music executive in Africa with more than 10 years of A&R and licensing experience. He has engaged mobile and online platforms, independent record labels, artists and music publishers. He has also been a featured presenter on music copyright at leading forums and conferences in South Africa, Angola, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

– Ano Shumba/musicinafrica.net

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Video Streaming Could Shatter The Cable TV Industry For Good

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Stay at-home measures have given people endless time to consume and enjoy media from all platforms, but there is one clear winner: online streaming. Quarantine accelerated trends we were seeing before lockdown– that consumers were cutting the cord from cable and moving to online streaming. In the first quarter of 2020, Netflix gained 15.7 million subscribers, and Disney+ gained 54.5 subscribers in five months. Experts don’t know if television subscriber numbers will recover from these losses.

– Forbes Africa

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Huawei Unleashes “P40 Pro” Model With Nasty C And SA Biggest Celebs

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JOBURG – Friday, May 29, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Huawei welcomed its new HUAWEI P40 series ambassadors to the Huawei family. These include rapper Nasty C, TV personality Thando Thabethe, actor and entrepreneur Nay Maps, former Miss South Africa Tamryn Green as well as fashion designer David Tlale. They joined forces with Huawei, handing out over R500 000 worth of prizes to viewers, including P40 devices and shopping vouchers.

Huawei on Friday unleashed its HUAWEI P40 series to South Africa through a live streaming event hosted by TV host and actress Minnie Dlamini.

The HUAWEI P40 Series is a comprehensive upgrade from the previous generation and is equipped with Huawei’s most sophisticated camera system to date, capable of producing breath-taking imagery with a lightweight chassis.

One of the impressive features is the Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera. The camera works as a highly unified system, making users shoot captivating pictures at any time of day or night, whether the subject is up close or at a distance.

It also has 45% better colour precision and is capable of accurate analysis and segmentation of environments and people. With pixel level enhancement, it restores the original look with great lighting, natural colour and sharp details

“These devices are testament to the fact that Huawei is unafraid to break the rules and to exceed expectations, and it does all of that in style,” said Huawei in a statement on Friday. 

The Huawei P40 Pro is priced at R20 999 and the HUAWEI P40 retails at just R16 999. They are available from 1 June from all mobile operators and www.huaweistore.co.za

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