The Nigerian music industry and its evolution
The Nigerian music industry is one of the biggest in the world and its constant evolution has not only kept the industry at the top but also kept upcoming artiste and producers on their toes as well. Nigerian songs are highly distinctive with its fast tempo sound and afrobeat tracks with random lyrics which sometimes have absolutely no meaning at all.
Nigeria has one of the most vibrant and popular music scenes that not only reflects its rich culture but has also translated into international recognition over the years.
With her large population of over 150 million people, the country offers a huge market that is enough to ensure and sustain the commercial success of its best artistes’ endeavors which is why their music style is fashioned towards the domestic needs of its population.
Nigerian songs, in general, are groovy and have a lot in common, making them sound so much alike and in most cases is what makes them so easy to spot and popular as well. The music industry’s revenue from music sales was $56 million in 2015 and has grown to $88 million in 2019, auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) reported, which makes it the fastest major expanding industry globally.
The commercial city of Lagos Nigeria is the predominant hub of entertainment, especially music. Its 22 million residents listen to music in different forms. It includes blasting music from speakers, on mobile phones, listening on the radio in private transits such as uber and taxis as well in danfos, that are ubiquitous.
The most popular genre in the Nigerian music industry is Afrobeat which has seen artiste who sticks to this genre become massively popular and this popularity has in most cases spilled into massive record sales, big endorsements, increase in streaming and sold-out shows and concerts both in Africa and Europe.
We’ve seen artists such as Burna boy and Wizkid being nominated for both BET and Grammy awards with Wizkid topping billboard charts with collaborations with Drake and Beyonce.
So many Nigerian artistes such as Davido, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Rema, etc are breaking global records as well.
Nigerian music finding massive popularity abroad is not novel as a legendary artiste like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti created a cult following with fans of his peculiar octane infused brass instrument sounds in the 1970s till date.
Based on its cultural and musical output, the music industry’s annual revenue generation, and its strong industry relevance, Nigeria has once been described as ‘the musical heartbeat of Africa’ while being recognized as a strong center for African music.
New wave artiste has also developed a huge fan base that has made music a major cultural export for Nigeria which has other countries jealous of the loyal fanbase and massive revenue the Nigerian music industry generates annually.
“With the advent of social media, the music is more readily available outside, beyond the shores of the country,” said Deji Awokoya, general manager of Megaletrics Ltd.
Due to the massive cross-cultural appeal, artiste born and raised outside of Nigeria chose to join the legion of “repat” who relocate back to their motherland annually in search of fame.
This has led to an increase in the competition as the number of upcoming artistes increases yearly with the continuous rise of the Nigerian music industry.
One of the major challenges the industry faces is the exit of major labels which ultimately marks the collapse of structure for artistes.
This collapse is a result of the decline in the Nigerian economy which also leads to an increase in piracy and abuse of intellectual property which stifles the artiste as they are not properly remunerated.
Piracy is a cancer that has eaten deep into the Nigerian entertainment industry as a whole where the dearth of record labels has been observed. The challenges and problems can be seen from three different angles;
1. THE INFORMAL MUSIC MARKETING SYSTEM
This is basically about copyright issues. Piracy as an activity has eaten deep into the system and has also affected the livelihood of musicians. It is practiced everywhere but in Nigeria, it’s practiced with impunity.
2. LACK OF ENFORCEMENT AND OFFICIAL POLICIES
The Nigerian government is yet to put an official policy in place or create a way to enforce the policies to protect the right of artistes. Despite the launch of STRAP (Strategy Against Piracy) by the N.C.C which is supposed to be an effective anti-piracy arm of the commission, piracy is still rampant in Nigeria, especially in Lagos.
3. LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS BY ARTISTE
The lack of proper understanding of the intricacies of the music business by artiste is a sad and dangerous trend that might stifle the continuous growth of the industry and destroy its structure which would lead to investors pulling out of the industry. Lack of awareness of this issue leads to a display of unprofessionalism by artiste which makes the artiste engage pirates as an avenue of publicity and marketing most times.
Music in Nigeria has come a long way and the vibrancy of this particular aspect of popular culture has placed the country on the international map. The Nigerian urban sound has been able to occupy the international space with rave reviews and great recognition signifying what these artists have been able to achieve with years of hard work and consistency – global recognition.