Creative Tracks Series - Beyond the platform : Sama Abdulhadi

Sama, manager of Awyav a music publishing company in Palestine, received a RCF/Creative Tracks travel grant to take part in Womex, a world music expo in Poland.
What is your professional background ?
I have a BSc in Audio Engineering and Music Production from SAE Creative Media Institute London. For the past four years I have been working in sound for film as a sound designer and music consultant. I am now managing Awyav, a music publishing company working with a diverse network of writers and composers around the Arab region related to music publishing rights & initiatives. We try to help musicians and composers develop and publish their work as well as to register their intellectual rights.
How and why did you get involved in this cultural venture ?
First of all there intellectual property rights are not respected in the Arab World. The royalties and copyright systems are supposed to exist but there aren’t any. For example TV, radio or the film industry rarely buy a licence for the use of music. In that context Awyav started to advocate about this. We are working on reaching out to students and the artists themselves to spread the idea of intellectual property.
Second, Arab or Oriental music is not well-known in the world so we constantly try to find new ways of promoting this music to international filmmakers. Awyav has an online library to discover new music and buy a licence. Recently we started to handle the publishing of writers and composers and defending their rights.
What local context motivated you to start your venture?
Awyav kicked off because indie artists need revenue to sustain their creations; and there are no Arab music companies creating a proper revenue system which would give publishing & licensing rights for music works used in the media. On the other hand filmmakers have a problem finding good non-pop original Arabic music for their work. We try to resolve both of these issues in our work.
What impacts do you anticipate at a local level ?
We are hoping to create awareness about music rights amongst filmmakers, content makers, and musicians themselves. We are also working on creating a higher revenue for independent composers and writers, enabling them to live off their art, and to sustain it.
How do you insert your company on the local market?
We are working hand in hand with artists to help them build a strong portfolio of their compositions/lyrics, and work on publishing and monetising their work in a proper manner through new methods locally, regionally and internationally.
What are the next steps for the development of Awyav?
We build partnerships with international publishers so we can extend our business with them. This is why we need to take part in international events like Womex, in Poland, which is one of the biggest music market. So next year we will try to continue to go to these kinds of expos, as well as grow our catalogue.
How do you include global exchanges in your development strategy ?
We make a lot of deals with international companies as sub-licensors or sub-publishers. Until now our market is open in United States, Switzerland, and Turkey. In Womex I started talking to new companies from different regions, including Chili, Poland, Hong Kong, Germany and France. International cinema is a big part of our target market because filmmakers rarely find quality original Arabic music in various Arabic sub-genres, and this is why Awyav is an important resource around the world.
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