The opportunities in the music industry abound. While the industry puts money into the pockets of talent, it can also aid the health of the nation through economic growth. But only if the opportunities are leveraged by stakeholders in the music industry, the government and corporate bodies.
– By Lehlé Baldé
Nigeria has a very popular and vibrant music scene that reflects the country’s cultural richness, and over the years this has translated into international recognition for many. With a huge population of over 150 million, the country offers a domestic market large enough to sustain and ensure the commercial success of most artistic endeavours, so much so that unlike other African artists who maintain success locally, many Nigerian artists have found success beyond Nigeria’s borders into continental Africa and overseas. Artists like Wiz Kid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, Mayorkun, Korede Bello and many others have conquered their locality and have been able to maintain an equilibrium of carrying the pride and success of a ‘local champion’, while still keeping international appeal and marketability.
Whether you are in Cape Town, London Accra or Toronto, it is very likely that you will hear a Nigerian song as you go about your day, on the radio, at restaurants, in the club or at the gym. Nigerian music is penetrating the world’s eardrums and the world is more than happy to listen.
The Nigerian music industry is arguably the most popular music genre/industry on the African continent. If one were to critically take a look at the Nigerian music in its entirety, the relevance and importance of Nigerian music on the continent and beyond is evident and cannot be ignored.
Music is the core of many aspects of society. Walk by any street anywhere in Lagos and you are guaranteed to hear the electrifying beats that will get you in a good mood. Be it at the local Suya spot down your street, high society weddings like the one of Halima Dangote where Davido and Wiz Kid performed, corporate end of year parties, you name it, almost every aspect of Nigerian society benefits from the wonderful and creative sounds that come out of the Nigerian music industry. Not only does Nigerian music make billions of people feel good, but it is also a highly profitable industry.
According to a report by Pricewater Cooper, the Nigerian music industry was worth $40 million in 2011 and $47 million in 2015. By 2020 this figure is expected to double to $86 million which is approximately 30 Billion Naira.
Given the huge profits brought in by the industry, which has a direct correlation on the Nigerian economy, including benefits like job creation and cultural exportation, one would think that there would already be structures in place between government/corporates to enter into mutually beneficial collaborations that will enhance the viability of the music industry as well as encourage musically inclined youth to follow their music paths, but in doing research and having conversations with stakeholders on this topic, it is evident to see that there is little to no ongoing collaborations.
I had a conversation with Altims aka Aluku Timothy, one of Mavin Music’s top producers, about potential ideas that could enhance and improve the structure and industrialization of the Nigerian music industry. Here is a recap of our conversation…
- Change of mindset is vital : Given the sometimes, negative image that the music industry has, many corporate and government bodies do not get involved with musicians further than their end of year parties and endorsement deals. This is a good start but it shows that there are steps that need to be taken to bridge that gap.
- Endorsements/Collaborations with popular brands are great for musicians, but it is important to recognize that those in the music industry can do more than endorse an alcoholic drink or a soft drink. The reach that the music industry has is limitless. For example, many in the music industry do not have health insurance, which is why we see a lot of artists on platforms like Go fund me, looking for funds for life-threatening illnesses. If health insurance companies did brand ambassadorships with musician and those in the music industry, can you imagine how many more youth would be encouraged to follow their music dreams? This would alleviate a lot of the uncertainty that those entering the music industry face. Furthermore… imagine if banks gave out loans to video producers, stylists etc to get started in their career. Those in the music industry create music that unites people, therefore they should be given varied opportunities.
- Music conferences that bring together stakeholders in the music industry (artist, producers, DJ’s, video producers etc.) and relevant corporate and government entities to see how synergies can be created to work hand in hand to support those in the music industry. Vice President Osinbajo, just did a tech tour around Lagos visiting hubs that represent the future or tech in Nigeria. It would be encouraging to see a tour like that for Nigerian music.
- African streaming mediums: Why is it that we have to go Apple music or Spotify to buy Nigerian music? With further conversation and using technology this could be a hugely profitable, structured venture that could change the way revenue from Nigerian music downloads is made/distributed.
- Stock market: Why are music labels not listed on the Nigerian Stock exchange? This again goes to show that more work needs to be done to create synergy between stakeholders, to truly bring out the potential of the music industry as a truly viable and profitable one for the Nigerian economy
My conversation with Altims left me with a lot of questions and opened me up to a world that I was ignorant about. This is why conversations are important. It is vital to engage in conversations about the challenges and opportunities in various industries to continuously improve and innovate.
Music is the universal language that unites people regardless of race, tribe, religion or ethnicity. It is vital to recognize the value that the music industry brings to Nigeria, and find ways to unite relevant and important bodies to make the industry truly viable and profitable for all parties involved.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.
Lehlé Baldé holds a BA in communication from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a Masters in International Marketing Strategy from the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom. Originally from Senegal, she is a pan African strategy and communications professional, who has lived in over 12 countries and currently works at Business Day as a strategy and partnerships associate. She also interviews some of Africa’s brightest millennials through the various Business Day platforms.