Nigeria hosts some of the best musicians in the continent. This is indeed the entertainment capital of Africa. Nigerian artistes are wildly followed in anglophone countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania.
The love for Nigerian music makes it even more difficult for local artistes from these countries to get airplay on their own stations. An auditing firm, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, reports that $56 million was generated from music sales alone in Nigeria in they year 2015.
The firm also forecasts that the Nigerian music industry’s revenue could reach up to $88 million by the year 2018. There is money in music and it’s no coincidence that young people head into the industry in numbers in search of the big luxurious life.
About two decades ago, this wasn’t the case. The veterans who started the money maker did not enjoy this harvest. It was all about the art back then, it meant everything to them. But music has now become more of a professional business with its own industry, one that has its own independent supply chain and market structure.
Now it isn’t just about the art or talent anymore, you can be skilled and be broke. To be the next top shot, there are things you need to to take seriously. To start your journey on the right track, I’ve got some nuggets listed for you below.
The way you look and sound mean everything. Right now there are too many alternatives to choose from and you cannot afford to be shabby as an upcoming rapper.
You are expected to know how to distinguish a music producer from a sound engineer. There are a lot of music producers out there unprofessionally taking up the role of sound engineers to make quick profit.
The quality of your music is under threat when your sound is handled by the wrong guy. Media people do not joke with quality, no one wants to publish a song that sounds like a drunk choir rendition.
Also your song should have a clean radio version, OAPs do not play songs that have censored words in them.
If you’re going to do a music video, make sure you get a good video editor. There is no point shooting a video that comes out really rough.
You need to get a location that related with the kind of song you’re doing too. This does not necessarily mean you have to hire Clarence Peters or Moe Musa. Quality and expenditure go hand in hand but you can find something that suits your budget.
Your cover art should be exquisite, images can motivate downloads in unexpected ways. You don’t have to pay much. With 1 to 3k you can get a well designed album photo from a studio. Thank God for Photoshop.
2. Social media
Social media is a world of its own, it has brought people together to live in virtual communities.
You can be in touch with people without even knowing them. This is a great place for you to push your music career.
Its not only for chatting. Unfortunately, a lot of upcoming rappers take it very lightly.
We are in the computer age, the world has become a global village according to Marshal McLuhan.
Social networks enjoy an endless stream of free traffic from users with similar interests. People on social media are looking to find new and attractive things. Justin Bieber owes his success to YouTube and Twitter.
He was discovered on YouTube and now has the highest number of followers on Twitter. Its time for you to post great videos and pictures of yourself. You might not even have an album yet but you can start building a online fan base.
3. Blog power
This is Nigeria where there are hundreds of blogs that ready to talk about upcoming rappers provided you have the quality and a little change of course.
Blogs are really powerful in this part of the world because of several factors. A lot of upcoming rappers do not maximize blog power to their own advantage.
A lot big blogs will ignore you and that’s to be expected but you can’t stop reaching out. You have to build a relationship with at least 10 bloggers who are based close to you.
No blogger is small and the best blogger to work with is the one you know. You become a hot property when a lot of blogs are carrying your story.
4. Publicity moves
A lot of young rappers already know this, its takes some gut but it can be the catapult you need to shoot up your career. Many things you hear about artistes in entertainment news headlines are fake news, they don’t really happen. Its a crowded space and everyone is competing for attention. Its a battle of the best liers.
A clear example of a missed opportunity was ClassiQ’s controversial “I Love You” video, which featured Kannywood actress, Rahama Sadau. Rahama Sadau was banned from Kannywood because they claim she had violated their terms and conditions by dancing unethically with a man in a video.
The controversy that trailed the video was so loud and it dominated the entertainment news headlines for several weeks. The video also got so many views on YouTube because everyone wanted to see the dance that caused the ban.
Yet ClassiQ and his management did nothing. This would have been a great time for him to release a strong statement justifying Rahama and condemning kannywood’s decision.
His moves could have sparked dating rumors or started a beef with Kannywood; both would have been good for a rapper like ClassiQ who needs mainstream attention.
5. The Business
I started this article with this and I’m ending it with this. There is a place for the art, and a place for the business.
The business makes the art work. You need to have a road map for how you intend to make money right from the onset. Overdose once asked in his track the game “What part of the game is to be sold when you can’t make money off the skills you hold?”
Its very important for you to know that the celebrity lifespan of a Nigerian rapper is relatively short, so when you start getting attention you should not waste any time.
The next thing you have to implement is your business plan for selling and this is when your fan base comes in handy.
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