You might have read my previous post about music industry and the struggle some Nigerian artists need to go through to get noticed….Recently I have received an anonymous letter about this situation and I thought it would be fantastic for other readers to hear about the real facts in the industry.
Enjoy! And thank you my anonymous reader.
“I am not claiming to be super famous, but my name is relatively big in
Nigeria, so I didn't wish to publicly comment on the post and be miss
quoted later in some interview, so thought I'd drop the comment by
e-mail and you can use the info as you wish.
You did touch on the right aspects when you mentioned marketing in the
industry and the lack of funding, as well as how popular you are.
You can Group Nigerian artists into two categories. Street artists and
non-street or Commercial. The street artists, are those who are very
well know on the streets, but not commercially until they blow.
Oritse-femi is a Perfect example of a street artist. He had a great
reputation for about ten years. Then came the collabo With D'Banj
"Double Wahala" and boom, he is big.
The non-street, or Commercial ones usually make it pretty quickly
because they're either Rich, or have good sponsors. In Nigeria there's
a saying that you need Money to make Money. And this is certainly true
in the Music industry, because the big radio and TV stations force you
to pay to have your stuff played.
And what artist won't have their song on HipTV, Soundcity or The Beat FM?
Looking at some of the top artists inn the industry today, I can tell
you from knowing them personally that they buy promo and spend
millions of Naira on it. They also buy visibility such as press
coverage, Facebook and youtube likes on a very large scale. They even
pre-pay to get nominated and win Music awards.
Not everyone does and there are honest artists out there. But personal
wealth, or being signed to a record label is everything.
Of course, when Your name is established enough, you don't need to
spend so much Money on Promo. Kind of Ironic. Rich Tiwa Savage gets
free airplay while up and coming somebody else has to drain their
Unfortunately, as with everything in Nigeria the Music industry is
corrupt. Though it is an exciting and vibrant industry I thank God to
be part of, this money draining aspect can sometimes be extremely
depressing. And on bad days, I ask myself whether talent plays a part
at all or if it's all about the Money.
There are also no such Things as royalty payments in Nigeria. so the
payment system goes one way. There is a small movement trying to
change these practices, but as one producer told me, when the likes of
P-Square and Davido are not in on changing everything, it's hard to
make it happen. Because if they removed their songs from the radio
stations, only New content would be played and the radio stations who
earn big Revenues from advertising would probably eventually start
paying these big legends to get them back on air.
I may be oversimplifying a little but I hope you get the general idea.
A Nigerian artist is lucky if he or she is a European or American
Nigerian. Because there are now increasing markets for African Music
in both Europe and America. So a way many artists are securing
royalties and more airplay outside Nigeria, is to register With
European and American Companies like BMI, etc for songwriting rights.
And a lot of the promo in the diaspora is much less about money and
more about connection. So And there's the supporting factors there's
not in Nigeria. So having one foot in Nigeria and one outside is the
best thing for any Nigerian artist who wants to succeed.
Piracy is also a huge problem in Nigeria and Africa in general. And
streaming services like spotify and Deezer, and buying Music on iTunes
isn't something everybody does. This is again where a Nigerian artist
has to grab the diaspora market. They love the streaming idea in
Nigeria though. I showed it to some People who were fascinated. And
they were Music Professionals, so let's hope it comes there.
I hope I haven't painted a too bad Picture. Or been boring you with
stuff you already know. The Music industry is tough anywhere, but in
Nigeria it's just that little bit harder. But I believe honesty and
hard work pays off in the long run. And if you make sure to put out
Music to the People, which often means free Music blogs, which doesn't
generate Income, then at least you may get loyal fans.”