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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Black music means business
Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child have secured huge album sales worldwide
A London university is launching a course to help black music artists and entrepreneurs get a better deal out of the industry.

The year-long course, at City University, is aimed at followers of the black music scene who want to make money as well as music.

The university hopes the course will instill a dose of business acument in budding stars, so they can emulate US success stories such as hip-hop performer and label boss Sean "Puffy" Combs and rapper and actor Will Smith.

Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, rap star, producer and music mogul
Course organiser Adeboye Adefolalu feels that while there are plenty of talented black British musicians, their talents were not being recognised by the music establishment.

"I was teaching people to sing but there were very few openings for them in the marketplace," he told BBC News Online.

"People are told there isn't a market for black music."

Students on the Business of Black Music course will learn how to develop sustainable business strategies.

Emphasis is placed on marketing and the legal pitfalls of the industry.

Mr Adefolalu has experienced the trials and tribulations of the industry for himself through his other career, as singer/songwriter Ade.

He runs the course with Kienda Hoji, an experienced music industry lawyer and former chairman of the British R&B Association.

The success of the Mobo awards, set up to recognise black-influenced music, has encouraged a greater awareness of black audiences in the UK music industry.

Des'ree at the 1999 Brit Awards
Des'ree gets her award for Best British Female Solo artist at the 1999 Brit Awards
Des'ree and Seal, who acheived large album sales in Europe and the US, are two examples of successful black British exports.

The recent success of US acts like Whitney Houston, Macy Gray, Destiny's Child and TLC have helped black music accound for more than a quarter of music sales in the UK.

But Adefolalu found black representation in the UK industry is "the exception rather than the norm".

He hopes the course will help performers and industry workers get "their rightful share of the returns offered by black music".

Co-organiser Kienda Hoji - an adviser on the government's New Deal for Musicians programme, said the emphasis is on creating "substantial and sustainable businesses".

The Business of Black Music course, for which no formal qualifications are required, will sit alongside the university's existing programmes for people who want to work in the music industry.

They include courses in music management, promotion and marketing; staging a live music event; and case studies which look at European markets for British music.

See also:

07 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Beverley's Mobo night to remember
15 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Mum's the word at Mobo awards
13 Jul 99 | The Economy
Music is sweet for the UK economy
08 Mar 00 | Brit Awards
Brit nominations: Hit or miss?
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