Inaugural session featured Somalian rapper & director Freek and IP Media & Tech lawyer Mark Hill.
Dubai Media City has launched a new Instagram Live series called MUSIC_ON that brings together experts in music for an educational conversation about the opportunities and drawbacks present in the UAE’s evolving music scene.
The inaugural session brought together Freek, a UAE-based Somalian rapper, director and record producer, and Mark Hill, a media lawyer specialised in media and entertainment, intellectual property and technology.
Freek is considered a pioneer in the GCC & Arab underground music scene, boasting a prolific work rate and a discography of catchy hits such as Wala Kilma Aslan ‘adi and Mush Fathi; he was also selected to compose a feature song in a recent Adidas marketing campaign for Egyptian Liverpool striker, Mohamed Salah. He opened for famed Hip Hop artists Future and Gucci Mane, during the 2019 Yasalam F1 After-Race Concert and has had the opportunity to tour in the United Kingdom.
Mark Hill is regarded as one of the leading IP, Media and Technology lawyers in the region.
As an artist being affected by the impact of Covid-19, Freek said: “An artist’s best pleasure is performing in front of others; it’s difficult to flourish without that aspect. However, opportunities have arisen in entertainment and specifically in music since the Covid-19 pandemic began. As an artist, I find that I have more breathing space to proactively think about creative and collaborative opportunities.”
Mark Hill added: “One of the positives that I have witnessed come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a creative aspect, is the increase in community-building. People have been forced to pause their routine, which has resulted in increased collaboration between artists and creatives within the community. That, in turn, should result in the community growing and evolving at a faster rate than before.”
On the importance of artists educating themselves about their rights, Freek said: “I have realised that when it comes to understanding the legal aspect of music, there is a long way for artists to go. Many of my peers struggle to maximise the financial benefit of the music tracks and compilations that they release. I believe the region is still at an early stage when it comes to educating itself and leveraging upon the legal side of music, but talking to entertainment lawyers such as you [Mark Hill], is a step in the right direction.”
In response to that, Hill said: “It is important for regional artists and creatives to preserve and capitalise on their intellectual property, and this currently requires artists to consider individual contracts, especially when licensing out their music to brands or campaigns. The best advice I can give artists is to talk to an entertainment lawyer to help them understand what is possible, what isn’t and ultimately what is recommended. For instance, when it comes to licensing out music for campaigns and figuring out how much a fair price is, it is important for artists to ask themselves three questions: What purpose is the music serving, where will the campaign be aired and what the duration of the campaign is.”