Artistes in developing countries who are in dire need of publishing and distribution support can now heave a sigh of relief as Wyclef Jean and his Carnival World Music Group have raised $25 million in capital funding towards that.
According to the 50-year-old Haitian-American superstar, the funding will be allocated toward providing artistes with music publishing and distribution resources to promote their music and earn royalties.
The three-time Grammy Award winner, who is noted for his charitable initiatives, believes that it is high time artistes received this kind of support considering the rise in Afrobeats and digital streaming.
“The demand for music from Africa and other developing regions is growing and these creatives deserve to be part of the international marketplace,” Jean told Forbes.
“There is a need for them to have open access to global publishing and distribution options that protect their rights and ensure that they are fairly paid. This initiative not only introduces and launches new talent but helps creatives around the world thrive in their careers.”
Having been in the music industry for so many years now, Jean said he has realized that real money is not generated from singing or producing but rather from publishing rights, which are usually handed over to composers, songwriters, and the publishing companies behind the music.
“When I produced ‘Killing Me Softly’ for The Fugees, we were making money, but I made somebody like $3 or $4 million that had nothing to do with us or Roberta Flack,” Jean told Fast Company.
“The person that I made the money for was the composer. I understood then that I was on the wrong side of the business. I can’t just be on the side of the curtain cutting samples and doing a remix. I have to be part of the songwriting, and so for me, I also encourage kids that writing music is very important right now—not just for putting music out right now, but so that you can build your publishing catalog. In order for you to survive in this industry, we encourage kids to understand that their publishing is real estate.”
To realize his mission to support upcoming artistes financially, the hip-hop veteran recently partnered with Sound Royalties, “a speciality finance firm that helps music professionals fund personal and professional projects without ever taking ownership of their copyrights, empowering creatives to choose from a variety of flexible pricing options,” writes Forbes.
Jean is known for being part of the legendary hip-hop trio The Fugees and has earned accolades as a producer, actor, singer, and humanitarian in Haiti.
His music has always been influenced by his Haitian and African roots. In 2004, Jean traveled to Africa for the first time to perform with Femi Kuti, the son of music legend Fela Kuti.
He had then released what would be a worldwide hit song Diallo Diallo on the back of an infamous killing of an unarmed black man in New York on February 4, 1999, by police.
The U.S.-based music superstar and FaceList Award awardee has so far been behind charitable programs to support his native Haiti and other developing countries in Africa.