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Here is a strong statement about music piracy from today's newsletter.
As most know, I am a staunch supporter of African artists in the anti-piracy fight. I routinely denounce this blood-sucking felony on air. I set the example by not knowingly buying the product. In July of 2007, I wrote an eleven page paper entitled, "Piracy and its effects on the lives of African artists", which I presented to the Committee on African Affairs at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Articles regarding the scourge of music piracy are printed every week in some media outlet in Africa. Check out three examples from this year so far. In Cameroun, a singer; Lady Ponce, is in studio recording songs every week for about six weeks for an upcoming album. The lady is totally unaware that some songs she recorded have been pirated and have been sold on the market for three weeks. Instead of receiving sympathy for her loss, many people blamed her for a lack of vigilance. In Nigeria, a court case against a big pirateur commenced at the beginning of the month with much interest. The man was arrested mainly due to the tenacity of artists themselves. Omar Niang is the manager of the music group; Daandé Leñol, which is the group that accompanies Baaba Maal. In a recent interview published in the L'Observateur, he urged religious leaders to join the fight in the losing battle against piracy. He expressed the opinion that sermons in the mosques could be a new weapon in the anti-piracy fight. Niang goes on to say that Senegalese artists lose even more money from piracy in surrounding countries. In Guinea, he says, all works sold in the market by Senegalese musicians were manufactured by pirates. He might as well include the United States. Indeed I am sorry for the artists affected but I am beginning to form an idea that the label and houses of production are to blame. There is obviously a lack of planning and vision beyond the recording studio. An unprofessional laxity and lack of initiative or imagination. I know of two entrepreneurs in the U. S. who have met with many label heads and proposed digital distribution deals without follow up on the other side. I know of many radio hosts who have requested promo copies to play on radio here. I myself have offered to buy copies instead of receiving promos. Without fail, there is a lack of follow up on the other side. On a trip to New York City last month I passed through Harlem and noticed six the ceedees I had contacted labels about available for sale. Two for five. They were so crudely "packaged". Back home, they obviously don't care and they need to put a quietus to the complaints.