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Ali Hugo
Genre: pop/rock
“The Politics of Digital Marketing in the Music Business” With every new technological development which enhances music makers' abilities to take ownership of their career via the DIY approach, the prevalent belief that the destiny of an artist’s success is in one’s own hands gains wider ground. Without a doubt, the tools given to music artists to encourage those artists to follow the DIY pathway has transformed the music business and the common understanding is that artists stand to benefit more from the way the music business operates today than the old record business model pioneered by the likes of Clive Davis & David Geffen. However, is this true? Has the record business really made a shift from the old politics to an equal opportunity industry? Have musicians globally, if they only use the correct marketing strategies, work hard, and preserver been given access to the “American Dream”? There is one debate that states that the DIY approach to making and marketing music has led to the democratization of the record industry. On the other hand, others have the understanding that the cosmetic transformation of the record industry is just that and that the ball is still being squashed in the same court it has always been.

Canadian singer-songwriter and indie artist Ali Hugo known for writing Islamic country songs was recently interviewed by the Nigerian Musicology podcast where Hugo talked about some of the challenges of being an indie DIY artist in today’s music industry and Hugo expressed that industry accountability is still a concern for many artists. On the other hand, music manager Rick Barker who played a role in the success of Taylor Swift’s career runs a successful business that is based on the assumption that the right digital marketing know-how can certainly lead DIY to success.

So how has digital marketing transformed the music industry? Does the surgically altered face of the music industry today express that there is less collusion between industry establishments to achieve common goals of mutual interests? Well, for one thing, the burden of marketing and promoting content has been shifted to the content creator through the “share” culture. This is having a noticeable impact on the marketing budgets of many record labels. In addition to this, the new face of the music industry has extended a lifeline to the careers of specialists like Rick Barker who have digitized their many years of experience in the music industry into a successful online business. Like Barker, there are the online vocal coaches, virtual music managers, and many more services available for the DIY musician. However, the question which puzzles most is how much value can be added by virtual managers from the Atari age to musicians born in the play-station and Xbox age? Does the new music industry give equal opportunities to a Japanese manager in Tokyo who has superior digital marketing skills to launch a successful virtual music management career?

There are certain musicians who are skeptical about the rewards which can be reaped by the DIY approach and the idea that the ownership of the old music model has completely reached the end of its lifeline. Canadian Musician Ali Hugo’s team at belief records have frequently bragged about being known for successfully marketing Hugo’s music online, yet this does not explain the strange move by Hugo’s team at belief records to replace a premium owned website worth $12,000 and one which attracts 900 visitors a day with a free WordPress site. When asked to comment about this Hugo stated that the last thing any industry needs is another whiner. The team at belief records looked at the response from the fan mail coming in and that response did not match the performance stats being provided to belief records by some of its online service providers. Digital marketing is largely based on statistics and if we can’t depend on the data being given to us by our services providers, our team cannot strategies our next effective marketing moves which will take Hugo’s career to the next level. Resorting to a free WordPress site has many perks including accurate realtime statistics and associating the sites Ali Hugo content with Wordpress adds. The Ali Hugo team views this as a collaboration where the team will provide the content and WordPress ca push the content with sponsored adds to the mainstream and in this way, we have the assurance that the Ali Hugo music message reaches a wider audience and at the same time we avoid depending on phony numbers. Hugo also mentioned the need for cost-cutting. “cost-cutting for the Ali Hugo teams is not only about terminating a relationship with a website host thus relieving belief records from paying premium services fees, but it also means more dependence on organic growth rather than paid promotions. This leads to managing better relations which translate into Good Will on our end of year financial statements. An example of this type of relationship is the one the Ali Hugo team has with the Shift Radio and Television station based in Manchester UK. Our relationship with Shift has been fruitful. Sure there is a symbolic fee to it but the harvest includes access for Ali Hugo to a wide network of shifts music connections, for example, the Shift cafe, The music revolution, Shifts UK, and US talent seekers network.

Is There Hope for The Meek?

Despite the traditional music models and its oligarchies fighting to the death to live on, the hope for many indie artists is on the new innovative technology and new players in the industry. For example, TikTok has completely revolutionized the game where a person in Pakistan can gain instant celebrity status based on the equal opportunities provided for the content being published on TikTok. The team at belief records responded to opportunities provided by the likes of TikTok and other new players “well it's astonishing! the numbers speak for themselves.” Our video content was able to reach a wider audience for free with higher realtime statistic figures in a short period of time than what we achieved through paid promotions on some well-known digital platforms."

So, does this mean that experience has no value in this new music industry, “it certainly does not” was belief records response, there is no room for the old biases and equal opportunity is non-optional. However, it might take Alibaba’s digital music platform a long time to reach the kind of success achieved by Amazon Prime and the Amazon digital music market. This may also be an impossibility if Amazon continues its ability to support its music streaming and download services with cutting edge technology which benefits all DIY musicians. more
Musicology Podcast Interviews- Ali Hugo "Musicology is a podcast broadcasted from Lagos Nigeria. The show interviews musicians from all over the world about the changing face of the music industry. In this Episode show host, John Ngarimo talks to successful Canadian singer-songwriter Ali Hugo about his success as an indie artist and the challenges of the digital music industry" 

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The Fascinating World of Indie Charts Music lovers are all too aware of the music industry charts which may or may not have an impact on an artist’s career. When assessing the sway established charts like Billboard have on influencing listener’s choices in music, and whether or not those listeners will end up spending money on buying an artist’s music, just because that artist has made it onto the billboard’s top 20, a question should pop into any music strategist mind, and that is, how relevant are the mainstream charts today? In a world where musicians have to keep track of the numbers of Spotify streams, FaceBook likes, Instagram follows and YouTube subscriptions, is topping the mainstream charts still viewed as a major accomplishment in comparison to getting 2M views on TikTok? Many would still answer with a resounding yes. British charts like Top of the Pops are no longer a reflection of record sales and popularity rather, it is a cultural institution equivalent to what American Bandstand and Soul Train used to be in the US. However, it’s worth mentioning that whereas shows like Soul Train, American Bandstand and Pop in Germany which was once a major force in the European music scene have all ran out of steam along time ago. TOTP has survived through the years because of its dynamic transformation capabilities and being able to keep up with the latest music trends. Facts such as Robbie Williams securing a Christmas number 1 album in the UK this year which was knocked off by Rod Stewart who became the oldest person in the UK to have a Number 1 Christmas album still grabs the attention of headlines. Nevertheless, there is another world that exists. A world of ethnocentric music, indie artists and DIY musician. Welcome to the world of Indie charts. First, there is the Ethnocloud Indie charts, these charts are categorized by the different regions of the globe and their musical influences. The charts are divided into audio and video charts. For example, there are the  North American top 40  and also the  West European Top 40  Ethnocloud audio and video charts. In this world of indie charts having a number 1 Christmas song on the N1M Canadian  Christian pop charts  is very much a celebrated accomplishment. The same goes for being in the top 10 of the  Canadian Latin Pop charts  and the  easy listening Indie Music charts . Although many of the artists on these indie charts are undervalued by mainstream music buyers, there can be no doubt that technological progress and factors such as globalization are increasingly bridging the divide between artists featured on mainstream charts like Billboard and those artist featured on Indie charts. In addition to this, established musicians like Nile Rodgers are gaining new followers by collaborating with other musicians featured on these indie charts. Known for giving Madonna her success with the Like a Virgin album and remixing George Michael’s first posthumous single, Nile who is estimated by celebrity to have accumulated a net worth of 70 Million Dollars still has clout in the international music industry with royalty cheques still rolling in from the disco era and Studio 54 heydays. However, what remains to be seen is the rising of a breakthrough artist who achieves iconic status as a result of successfully dominating the Indie charts. more
Hope For The Meek Ali Hugo is a recognizable name in the indie music circles, one which increasingly needs no introduction. Hugo has been back in the music scene since 2015 and in that time, Hugo has been able to achieve 3 number one hit singles in the North American indie charts and “This Love Is True” became a number #1 Global hit single in the Global indie charts. Recently Hugo has been working on a new album titled “Hope for the Meek”. The album is a blend of Christian Rock, Gospel Music, Jewish Hymns and Islamic Qasidah. This new work is a radical departure from Hugo’s 2018 Gold-certified “Time Machine” EP. With “Hope for the Meek”, Hugo is inspired by the commonalities in the three monolithic faiths which trace their roots to the prophet Abraham, they are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although the lyrical content of Hope for The Meek is spiritual, the music is radio-friendly straight-up pop music. The album is being released on Hugo’s Belief Records label. The first single from the album  “Marching Saints”  was supposed to be released this Christmas Eve, however, Phoenix FM in the UK picked it up early and prompted Belief Records to make the single available for streaming on various platforms before the official release date. So how does “Hope for the Meek” differ from the previous [Time Machine]? For one thing, there is a commonality between both records and that is they are both based on Hugo’s personal experiences. As far as “Hope for the Meek” is concerned, in 2000 AD Hugo picked up  Karen Armstrong’s A History of God , a book that has had a lasting impact on Hugo. “What really struck me was the fact that many people view the three religions as being very different from each other instead of focusing on how the three are revealed by the very same source” “What Armstrong put across to me is the sequential theological progression of understanding the almighty through history’ ” As an artist, the book has definitely had an inspirational impact on the subject matters I want to write music about” is what Hugo conveyed when talking about “Hope for the Meek.”  Hugo affirmed that “Hope for the Meek” is certainly not the soundtrack of any theological book. “I’m sure that there are better musicians out there who are more qualified at undertaking the task of creating a soundtrack to a theological or historical book” “Hope for the Meek, is just my way of saying I’m fully committed to praising Adonai, Jehovah and Allah” “Hope for the Meek” highlights what I’ve learned from A History of God which is “He is the one same God with many names”. “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t even attempt trying to write a soundtrack to any book let alone a book which deals with the themes of theology. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before, I remember reading  Kenny Loggins book “The Unimaginable life”  while at the same time listening to the book’s soundtrack. I was quite impressed at how Kenny was able to do well on that project what he has done for movie soundtracks. At the same time, I remember reading somewhere what a challenge it was for Kenny to get the book publisher and the record company to agree on anything ”The market of “Hope for the Meek” is of a different segment, whereas “Time Machine” was targeting audiences of “80’s & 90’s retro radio shows” along with stations that play contemporary Music. “Hope for the Meek” is taking the approach of gaining airplay on Gospel and Christian music radio stations and stations that also play contemporary music. Judging from the popularity Hugo has already gained from the first single of the album ‘Marching Saints’ which is currently getting extensive airplay in the UK, “Hope for the Meek” is likely to achieve more success than “Time Machine”. Whereas Canada was the home base for [Time Machine], The UK is the home base for “Hope for the Meek”. Hugo’s first single from the album will be available on YouTube Music by Dec 23rd.   By Belief Records PR Machine more
Ali Hugo is an Omani/Canadian singer-songwriter. Ali started his professional singing career at the age of eight when he joined the family “LEO” band as the lead singer. In his teens, Ali launched the “Spin Around The Mall Tour” playing at various local shopping malls. After graduating from high school, Ali focused on developing his skills as a songwriter and studio reco... more
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