It’s no doubt the Nigerian music industry has grown and as well, drawn huge corporate and international recognition over the years. We’ve had our music exported to the West through collaborations by the likes of Tuface, P-Square, D’banj and Wizkid to mention a few. New sounds emerge everyday and it has not remained a one-man-spotlight show. Several new artists have also emerged (and still emerging) and climbed up to the A-list. And the existing big players who have tied themselves to the top like a hangman’s noose are not letting loose either.
We still have Wizkid, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, P-Square, Davido, Iyanya and co making back-to-back hits and getting the international recognition to cap the numerous musical success they’ve garnered here in Nigeria. But the reality of making music and becoming a huge success can’t be said to have been a coaster-ride for a large number of the Nigerian artists. One thing is spending late-night studio sessions, another is recording that breakthrough hit. And then, who is ready to listen to your “hit”? Producers can be excited about your new sound, they can tell you, you are the next big thing, you can be excited about that in-studio buzz. That’s just part of the assignment, a huge part of it if I must say. But then, there is another team of “hit makers” you need to get your music out there. It’s true you can send your songs and music videos to blogs and expect a thousand downloads or even generate some online buzz.
What happens after the tide of an online buzz ebbs? You’re thinking of making that music video, right? Impressive. Now the truth is; twitter trends, airplays, free performances, music videos and club raves all sums up to a successful record or album but not necessarily a good return from your investment in your music.
While the digital technology age has largely influenced the growth of the Nigerian music industry, it has equally presented a hitch in the profit making process for artistes, record labels and music publishers.
The business of music making, publishing/marketing is not a thin slice off the cheese, it’s a chunk of efforts that’ll meet the opportunities the industry have to offer. Before you place that ‘lucky’ or ‘illuminati’ tag on those Nigerian A-Listers, you must know most of them have hired the right boots to trek the music industry terrain and dust off with huge endorsements, sold-out shows and robust paychecks at the end of the day. New talents and record companies within the Nigerian music industry could come a dime a dozen theses days but the promise of creating a sustainable, marketable identity and relevance for an artiste costs the rare efforts of individuals and maybe professional bodies who influences the industry from various fields! While recording a good song is your primary assignment as an artist, it’s important to know that there are several mediums of promotion and publicity that needs to be engaged so you can generate your returns. Expecting a gut reaction to your music is not enough. And while street credibility or some class-act, soulful appeal can always lend that edge to your music, it is important to know that you can’t freestyle your marketing ideas, you need to have all the strategies in place.
One thing is key to sustaining your relevance with fans and even more importantly these days, the corporate audience. Yea, “corporate audience”, those are the endorsement people. It can be said that selling a number of records or getting a good marketing offer doesn’t even matter when the corporate audience can find that appeal in your music as well as your image as an artist and want to relate it to their brand. You know what comes next, right? So, your key to staying in the spotlight and being relevant is: an effective PR.
Forgetting about establishing your image and relevance to your audience is a soundtrack for a nosedive for any artist. We want to pay to see your performance, thousands trekked the Eko Atlantic to see D’banj on stage. Where you stand with your fans goes a long way to determine what number of records and show tickets you can sell! P-Square’s consistency and the cult-like admiration they’ve drawn from fans across Africa is a result of calculated efforts from their creative team. They are in a regular limelight as the powerful duo they obviously were set out to be. And in the present Nigerian music industry where a free performance at the Industry Night has been the peak of the career for some artists, your image is just as important as your music. And whichever way you chose to sell yourself to the numerous musical audience, you need a well connected team of PR/publicity personnels. Trust me, those ‘people that knows people that knows people’ matters. Those artists could appear to be having the media in their pocket, yes they do, but it’s because they have right people working! It’s all about connecting the dots in the right places to achieve results. Building an image around your music and selling the both with an effective use of the media by a PR team can be a surefire means to attract some good returns.
We’ve seen promising acts disappear from the music industry, this might be due to various factors (that could even be outside of music marketing) which the artists are probably not aware of. The music industry has a terrain that only few have treaded to a huge success. The essence is doing your homework very well – from start to finish. There’s a huge opportunity to succeed within the Nigerian music industry and there are innovative thinkers in various fields that caters to these needs.