The Music Industry is riddled with innovation. The word riddled is used here because although many other industries have seen transformative innovations become part of their norms, the music industry has had to deal with disruptive innovations. Thus, the word riddled indicates the state of disarray Belief Records executives feel every time the disruption occurs. Record executives would prefer things to remain the same where long-term strategic objectives in sales and industry growth can easily be forecasted. The music industry & Belief Records business models need to be reimagined every time it’s hit by disruptive factors. For example, the invention of the Walkman by the Japanese meant the increase in cassette manufacturing, while listening to music on the go became a solo affair and the personalization of your favourite tune playlist gave birth to the mixed tape. Although cassettes are no longer central to mobile music, Belief Records recognizes the profitability Mixtapes continue to have in today’s industry. Then there was the birth of the rap music business model with its endorsement deals for rap artists as described in the book “The Tanning of America” by Steve Stoute, the owner of UnitedMasters the distributor for Belief Records Music. There was also the development of techno, electronic and industrial music, which came about due to the popularity of the rave movement in the UK the home base of Belief Records. And this once again put record executives in a dilemma because, in the early days, no one knew what business model was needed for this type of music? And what would work best for the benefit of labels similar to Belief Records? The rave scene was dynamic and so not to be outdone, many record label execs would always find solutions that would benefit them and create a system where there was none. Examples of those systemic results can be seen in today’s music business structure for EDM music. There was also the Napster file-sharing fiasco, which killed CD retailing, the iPod’s invention, iTunes, Apple music and the streaming industry as we know it today with platforms such as YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer & Tidal. All of these are realities that Belief Records had to adapt to by selecting strategic contingency plans when undertaking decisions. In 2019 the music industry was yet again hit by a reversal of the norm. Before 2019, the industry-standard was billions of non-English speakers from across the globe buying popular Western music and, in most cases, not understanding the lyrical content of the purchased music. However, 2019 saw the Korean K-pop group BTS top the Hot 100 Billboard charts and according to Billboard.com, they have stayed at the top for a total of 15 weeks. This means that many English-speaking American music buyers were steaming and downloading music sung in Korean by BTS and many of these BTS acquired fans have no idea about the meaning behind the lyrical content of BTS songs. This new transformation of the music business in North America and Western Europe was not overlooked by the staff at Belief Records.
Belief Recording artist Ali Hugo gained chart success with his indie Christian music tracks from his successful spiritual album Hope for The Meek . With this transformation of the Western Hemisphere’s music business environment into a Korean music market, the team at Belief Records saw the potential for success, which came with recording music in a foreign language. This led Belief Records to encourage Hugo to record and produce his latest Swahili EP titled “Afrodisiac.” Belief Record’s latest project is inspired by the sounds which originate from the Indian Ocean Island of Zanzibar. In particular, a type of traditional Zanzibari Music known as Taarab Music is a fusion of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian sounds. However, Hugo has given a modern twist to Taarab music, as can be heard in “Pita,” the first single to be released from the EP in the Genre of Pop/Rock. Belief Records research has shown that according to an article titled “Freddie Mercury’s Zanzibar roots what the film forgot!” published on 16/11/2018 on the site “Tanzanian Odyssey”, Rock Music is not strange to the Archipelago of Zanzibar as Stone Town, a UNESCO designated world heritage site, is the birthplace of Rocker Farrokh Bulsara, AKA Freddie Mercury who was the front-man for the very British rock group Queen.
In addition to Belief Records’ success in building a following for Ali Hugo through the years, Belief Records’ strategic marketing plan for “Afrodisiac” aims to attract music buyers from among the Swahili Diaspora living in Europe and North America.
Belief Records has faced new challenges with the production of “Afrodisiac.” This includes a complicated legal process for obtaining Mechanical rights to recording new versions of traditional songs and agreeing to contractual agreements that outline splits of royalties with songwriters. Another challenge faced was the resistance by some traditionalists to accept more recent versions of popular Taarab songs. In addition to new versions of traditionally Zanzibari Taarab songs, the EP also contains new original material written, arranged and produced by Ali Hugo. Regarding the production of the Afrodisiac EP, Belief Records is seen continuing its relationship with PreSonus which is supporting “Afrodisiac” by providing the cutting-edge music production technology needed. “Pita,” the first single from Afrodisiac, hits streaming platforms on Feb 19th, 2021.