What is the future of our music?

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It is very lovely and heartwarming how fast Nigerian music has grown in the last few decades, we now have artistes who do not only earn their pay from selling CDs but also majorly from endorsement deals and other industry means.

As encouraging as this massive growth in our music scene is, it is also very disturbing to note that our musical artistes follow a particular trend just to be famous, and any of them who isn’t following this mainstream pattern seems to find it very hard to attain this famous status. Some artistes work very hard but simply because they are not on that mainstream pattern.

Talking about being on the mainstream and working very hard, one will wonder if they don’t all work hard to get their songs on air, I mean before a song hits the airways it must have come from lots of hours with a lamp on the table trying to get the song written, followed by a series of studio sessions with lots of “let’s do it again” from the studio manager and then finally the song is ready and handed over to the record company who in turn manages the way it will hit the market and also ensures it gets massive airplay.

Unfortunately, it is not the same for some artistes, there are some artistes who put in more work just to ensure their finished work stands out from the mainstream ones. There are prolonged times just to get the perfect lyrics, same goes to getting the best soundtrack for their song and then a lot of time is still spent trying to fine tune them to the music at hand.
So the question is, does these prolonged record production timing reflect on their bank accounts? That brings us to the issue at hand, how our taste of music is affecting our artistes’ growth.

How do you listen to your Nigerian music? Do you just dance along to it? Or you pay attention to the lyrics?
Your taste of music affects our artistes, yes it does.
A little look at the foreign music scene shows songs as old as 40 years still trending and the lyrics still fresh on our minds, anytime these songs come on it gives the listeners a nostalgic feeling as they sing along. Note that these are songs that are 40 or more years’ old.
So back home to our own music scene, do we really have these kinds of music? About 40 years old? And it still creates these nostalgic feelings?

Yes we do, we have the likes of Fela Kuti, Chief Osadebe, King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, etc whose music still has people singing along whenever it comes on. But over the years we do not seem to be producing artistes that follow these trends anymore, our artistes produce music that makes us dance and become happy but then just a year later we move on and stop listening to that particular music.
In our urge to make ourselves happy we have streamlined our artistes to a realm where they can only reign if they do what we want.

Artistes who do just dance music have taken over the scene simply because dance music in Nigeria is on the high demand. This makes other genres find it difficult to fit in, we have instances where artists who started out as rappers switched to singing simply because it is market friendly, and when you are market friendly, you are constantly smiling to the bank. Dance music easily becomes club bangers, and fetches quick money.

So in the bid to remain market friendly, we have seen very good artists dwindle in their performance, just like the biblical Esau and Jacob some very good artists have sold off their birthrights for “a pot of beans” thereby destroying their creative and artistic side. But in the midst of this brouhaha kind of market rush we still have artists who are silently doing the right thing, they have braved the odds and are just concerned about passing their message across to the people. 

These set of artists have one common problem, and that is getting underrated.
You do good music, and yes the people know you are good and that you do good music but you don’t get to top the music charts, you don’t get the juicy endorsement deals, you don’t get the big awards or get invited for the big shows, this set of artistes get their accolades on our minds and that’s where it stops. This is a very bad trend in our music industry

A quick look at some of these underrated artistes, we see that a good artiste like Runtown has been nominated for an award four times and has only won one, Niyola has been nominated three times and has only gone home with one award, Brymo has never been nominated and has never won any award, Burnaboy has been nominated ten times and has won four awards, Nneka despite getting huge international recognition for her songs from FIFA, EAsports and also making it into the UK music charts has never won any major award in the country!
I agree getting your music to enjoy massive airplay is hard but sometimes it’s obvious the media plays a role in this, there is so much hype on zero talents and praising of artists with swag, so at the end of the day, you have a lot of junk with very few talents in the industry. And to think that the various record companies encourage this trend is very disheartening, and if this trend continues, the future of our music industry looks very bad, which music will be remembering with nostalgic feelings? Your guess’s as good as mine, none! 
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