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Need For Music Artistes, Label Groups To Re-invent, Professionalise



In this report, SAMUEL ABULUDE, writes on issues that arose  from the music conference of the 2018 Social Media Week

Never before has the Nigeria music industry particularly the major players- music artistes gotten this mileage and attention from the global space. This is because Nigerian music has gotten the world to look in its way. Our music artistes have continued to showcase their brand of Hiphop and Afro hiphop music which has caused international music artistes and top music labels to want to do business our own.

The likes of Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Olamide, Tekno, Flavour, Banky W not to talk of the earlier players- Tuface Idibia, D’Banj, Psquare, Ice Prince and MI to name a few have exported Nigerian music-Afro hiphop to the outside world with its attendant success. This has got global players in the music industry- Sony Music, Universal Music Worldwide, Roque Nation to name a few talking of the potential of Nigerian music which has been leading the way in the African music for some time now.

The wide acceptance and youth friendly brand of Nigeria hiphop music which started almost two decades ago or more, has shaped pop culture in this divide to the extent that one out of every four Nigerian youths wants to be a musician. But how can the business of music become deepened in Nigeria and create a healthy and stable industry where music artistes, record label owners, distribution networks and collecting management organisations CMOs achieve their objectives and generate resources and wealth for all and sundry?

Dealing With the Scourge of Piracy

According to the Nigeria Copyright Council NCC director-general, Afam Ezekude’s 2012 report, the copyright-based music industry has contributed N1.2 trillion to the Nigeria economy but infringement or piracy on local music can be as high as 40%. It was discovered that an estimated amount of N400 billion was annually financial lost to pirates in recent times (NCC 2007 report). This huge amount if was not stolen, can obviously impart an economy and enrich an industry. In this digital age, the need for cybersecurity cannot be undermined as the story of Sony music executives who lost their jobs on account of hackers penetrating into the file of the corporation and tampering with their software and operations therefore threatening the survival of the company.

According to the country manager of a cybersecurity company, eseT, Mr Olufemi Ake, the entertainment industry should invest in cybersecurity. He stated that this will go a long way in keeping off pirates who always go a step ahead of the content owners, music artistes and movie produces. “The time for Nigerians and stakeholders in the entertainment industry to look into protecting their works from pirates has never been this immediate because of huge influence of technology on the music and film industry.

The story of pioneer comedian and producer, Moses Olaiya popularly known as Babasala is still fresh in our memories- his movie ‘Orun Mooru’ was massively pirated in 1980s leading to collapse of his company and health concerns. With eseT, a pioneer in IT security in 1987, musicians, film makers and owners of content can protect their intellectual properties by encrypting their data which is their information, making it useless for pirates to be able to undo. It also reduces the menace of hackers to the barest minimum. We may not be able to totally eradicate piracy but we can reduce it to the barest minimum,” says Mr Ake at the music conference of 2018 Beat Fm Social Media Week.

The session on Brand Power and financing the industry afforded the audience to see the koko master, D’Banj speaking on his experience as a musician and industry stakeholder. The singer sat in the panel with Managing director of Diamond Bank, Mr Uzoma Dozie along with Obi Asika and Michael Ugwu of Sony Music Worldwide.

On account of the relevance of the music industry, the Diamond Bank sponsored session created the need for stakeholders in the music industry to discuss issues and forge out a way of addressing these issues. One of the main discussions was how to structure the unstructured music industry and the need for the music artistes themselves and their management to adopt best global practices. Since music is big business, then efforts should be made to adopt a meaningful framework that will guide different aspects of the music industry across the value chain.

Adopting Global Practices In Nigeria Music Industry

Obi Asika noted that musicians should create products from their brands that will be merchandized and keep the brand value and identity in the eyes of the people who are largely the consumers of music. He added that this can only be possible if a music artiste has a team of quality people working with him to push the brand out.   He made an example of the music mogul, Jay Z whose brand value had sky rocketed over the years on account of how he manages his brand and organise his team to get results. “Nigerian music has come of age. If we are talking of this year’s theme as Game Changer: Artistes Are Leaders, then musicians in Nigeria should have a change of heart and think globally.


What of musicians creating brand products that will evaluate their brand values and identity? Since these musicians have a strong influence on youths, trends and pop culture, then they can exert their influence and make merchandize out of their brands. Any product can be improved. Nigerian artistes should think global and recruit a team of managers, brand experts and others professionals that will enhance the brand. Look at Jay Z for example his brand value keeps going higher on account of his team. You are as good as your team. As long as D’Banj is and I have known him for some time, he is only as successful as his team. Humility is important for artistes. You’ve got to put some hardwork to that talent. There is still a lot more that has to be done,” says Mr Asika.

D’Banj who represents the Nigerian music artistes responded that, artistes indeed are involved in a lot of things that should be contracted out but how many artistes have financial muscle pull to recruit different personnel into their team or management group. He noted that since most artistes own their music label, they cannot do more than they know and work within their means as the fear of going broke looms for each artiste as the major revenue is performance fees. He said, “The future of Nigerian music is digital and there has to be a collaboration or partnership between us and distribution network companies. We need a lot of capacity building in the music industry.

It is high time we look at who we can partner with and get the artiste brand out for the people to assess and engage. It is high time artistes create brands for themselves and be ambassadors of their own brand and then look out for the support of the corporate world. Fame will not guarantee money. Fame will not give you wealth but it can give you what you need if you channel it properly. Channeling your fame properly to create wealth is another advantage that stands you out. Jay Z for example will release an album and then promote the album through tours. This happens in an established society not ours. “

Lack of Valuable Data Inhibits Music Industry     

Diamond Bank MD, Uzoma Dozie in his remarks noted that the music industry is going more digital, hence the need to professionalize. “How much is D’Banj worth? Who can tell us? Probably D’Banj doesn’t even know in terms of figures. You see the music industry is growing fast there is need for putting structures and processes in place. The opportunities now are that we are all going digital. We need to get some more professionalism into the music industry. Banks would invest in artistes and music production companies if information and data are available.  The cash flow is important and if we cannot see it in black and white that we can make our money from investing in you, we’ll have a problem investing you”, says the bank chief.

Mr Michael Ugwu (Michael Powers),who represents global music label and distribution company, Sony Music Worldwide, responding to Obi Asika’s bold statement that Sony Music is reluctant in investing in Nigeria music industry, responded that he is not a regular employee in Sony Music as decisions are still taken in New York. “Do you put 20 million dollars into Nigeria or you put that same 20 million dollars in New York which is a known market? That is what goes in their minds as they are still observing the Nigerian market but are willing to invest if the environment is more conducive,” he stated.      

Others Speeches

As we go digital and people begin to prefer downloading and streaming of music  online,  measures should be put in place to evaluate how much is coming in and how much is needed  – Uzoma Dozie

Investing in talent takes times. Investing in infrastructure is what we need as well to create a robust music industry – Obi Asika     





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