Challenges facing Upcoming Artistes in the Nigerian Music Industry
Music is one of the most lucrative careers in Nigeria, it’s second to only professional footballers and like every career, it also has its own challenges.
Over the years, the challenges have been more cumbersome base on the fact that the Nigerian Entertainment Industry is not well structured.
I was thinking about the Nigeria music industry and wondering why out of the millions of talented youths we have in the country very few of this youth breakthrough.
I used ‘a lot of talent’ because I have watched several auditioning of talent hunt show and I see several youths with talent come for this auditioning but like every competition, there can only be one winner.
Although there are also people who come to these auditions without having the needed talent, the higher number of the contestants have something to offer. This makes me wonder what is happening to the upcoming artiste who didn’t make it and some others who don’t come for auditions. Have they all given up?
This made me talk to some upcoming artistes and from my conversation with them, I realized some of the reason why it is hard to break through in the industry.
Let discuss a few of them.
Discovering and Defining your style
The Nigeria entertainment industry is a very dynamic and strange one. We change style very often and once we have changed from a style nobody wants to listen to that old style of music again. I know you are thinking “how does that affect an upcoming artiste?”.
Well, for an upcoming artiste entry into the industry means to be accepted and to accepted in the music industry in Nigeria means you have to give the people what they want and this is mostly a danceable song which is termed ‘Club Banger‘.
Some are lucky to give people what they want but in so doing they lose their style as they will keep hoping to continue releasing ‘Club Banger’. This set of people are the ones we call “One song wonder” They don’t last.
According to one of the artiste I spoke to he said,
“Discovering your style is simple but with the way we change styles in Nigeria defining it is hard, you can get lost in style while still thinking that you have it”
Cost of Production
Everyone knows that when there is no production there is no music, in fact, the quality of production defines a song. Some of artistes I spoke to made realize that to get a prominent music producer to produce a song for you in this age requires a lot of money and even the ‘not too prominent’ ones don’t take upcoming artiste serious. This is why several talented artistes resort to recording a cover to an already blown song by an A-list artiste and post on social media just to get help from a willing helper who can help them get a record label. Only a few get lucky.
Cost of Promoting
An artiste told me straight that in the Nigerian music industry to break through needs millions of Naira unless you are lucky. According to her, when you have successfully produced a song after spending a lot of money you still need a lot more to promote as DJs, OAPs and TV host won’t play your song without getting a huge sum of money. This according to her was caused by the invasion of fraudster into the music industry. Most of them threw money around trying to promote their song which is the reason why most of these DJs, OAPs and TV host still demand from every artiste.
A record label should be able to take care of most of the challenges an upcoming artiste might face but the structure of the Nigerian music industry doesn’t favor the record label so most of them are very careful and the one who cares to sign an artiste will offer the artiste a deal that won’t make sense much as the record label will want the largest percent of the income. This is why the ones who are fortunate enough to get a Record Label leaves after the expiration of their contract.
These are people who organize show and events. The challenges upcoming artiste have with this set of people is that they don’t rate upcoming artiste enough to add them to a show or concert they organize.
One of the artiste told me that it cost nothing for a show organizer to put an upcoming artiste on stage in a big concert just to sing for less than 5 minutes after which another big artiste will come up but most of this Show organizer don’t rate upcoming artiste.
He further added that some Show Organisers even promise artiste performance in their concert only to disappoint eventually. This to him is a morale killer especially for an artiste who is not that rich.
Promise and Fail
This according to most of the upcoming artiste I spoke to are the people who listen to your music, like it and then promise to help you get either a record label or help take care of some other aspect such as production, promotion or show organizing. They never fulfill their promise which is a dent on the artiste’s hope.
These are some of the challenges I deduced from the conversations I had with some of these artistes who are hustling on the street to break even in the music industry.
There are other challenges which were not mentioned but to most of them, these are the important ones.