Problem With Artiste/Label Crisis—Ruggedman

Source: Nathan Nathaniel Ekpo/

With the new face of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) through its new executives, the Nigerian music industry can be said to be on the verge of revitalization as all hands are on deck to ensure that musicians now enjoy their works.

In a recent chat with newsmen in Lagos, singer, Ruggedman, spoke extensively on what musicians stands to gain from the new structure experienced in the industry and also stated what causes problem between an artiste and the record label.

What is your perception about PMAN's Biometric Card?

I think today is the birthday of music, so that is what World music day is all about to me. We all get to celebrate music. So today, I expect a whole lot to happen and we the musicians here will be able to get enlightened and understand what the new PMAN is all about, which is biometric card, back coding of songs by artistes meaning artistes songs can be track when sold and they will get paid no more free downloading and then the biometric cards connects the artistes to the bank so that when your music is sold or downloaded the money goes straight into your account, no more 'wait until next week when I finish selling then I will give you the money' and then the major part of it something that has never happened in the Nigerian music industry, if you register with PMAN, once you get the ID card, it comes life insurance, health insurance and a pension scheme, which has never happened before and it's starting now.

Do now think this strategy introduced will favour someone like?

It is going to favour me and for everybody. There is this company called GS3, what they do is once they bar code your songs and its put in the system, anywhere your songs have been downloaded, it will track it and get there, any site that your song has been downloaded even if its 20 years ago, it will track it there and your money will be paid that is why it will be good for both old and new artistes. Now some artistes that might have stopped singing because they weren't get paid anymore or because they weren't popular like before, can now release songs and register the songs and their fans even from old and young everybody likes music as long as your music is good even if its 10 people that download it if they like. Then to me now, this is when I will know if Nigerians thoroughly like their Nigerian artistes now that they will have to pay to download the songs, lets see if they will rush to download the 200,000 downloads, 500,000 downloads free and the artistes will come out and brag yeah, I got 1million downloads but without any kobo in his account.

With the sudden death of singer, Dan Maraya Jos, how would you describe him?

I will not lie to you, he is an icon, he is a legend in the Nigerian music industry and I will not lie, I was really hoping if it was going to be possible to do something with him because I am one person I'm very spontaneous, I'm adventurous, well it's a big lose for the Nigerian music industry especially now that we are celebrating music.

Your song, 'I can't come and kill myself,' sounds commercial not your usual rap why that style?

Yeah, I'm more of a rapper but overall, I'm still an entertainer, I'm a musician, I'm not a one track minded person, I like to experiment. I wanted to do something a bit different from my normal rap thing and I remembered a saying in Yoruba, 'Mi ole wa lo pa arami,' I just switched it to pigin, 'I can't come and go and kill myself,' so I just wanted to do a happy song and that's why I did it.

Nigeria 'Jagaga' sang by Eedris Abdul Kareem, do you hold the same opinion?

Well, a bit has changed but, well, we have a new president but if it is about the past president, a whole lot of things were done wrong, there was too much embezzlement that was allowed to go, a lot of misconduct, a lot of financial mismanagement which to me were part of the major things that worked against the Jonathan's government.

What is the way forward for the Nigerian music industry?

This is the way forward for the industry, what PMAN is doing right now, this structure PMAN is trying to put in place, this biometric ID card, bar coding of songs and what this means is that once your song is bar coded there is a code to your song just like when you go to the super market and they scan it, that's the bar code. They have the ones for the songs and the one for your CD and you scan it then automatically money goes into your account. PMAN gets the percentage, the artiste gets his percentage and the record label gets its percentage and I like the fact that PMAN is coming with NIPOST even though they are not as effective as they use to be because a lot of people use emails but they are still there so basically once an album comes out, they are spread to every NIPOST office so all the marketers in those cities will not have to come to Lagos anymore to come and buy albums rather they will go to the NIPOST office in their state and once you are picking it up from NIPOST, it will be scanned if you have paid for it and straight money goes into the account, this is why I said this is the future of Nigerian music.

Who will be handling the whole transaction, won't it be hijacked?

By who? Banks are handling the money, Microsoft will be handling the collation of data, GS3 is handling bar coding, who will hijack it? Once you register, it indicates that you have registered, these are your songs and the bar codes and your ID card who can hijack it?

With all of these packages, do you intend to do more music?

Definitely, you do music until you can't do music. See, in America, Diana Rise is still there doing music. Do you want to know how old she is? There are people that are 80 in America doing music because they have a structure. A James Brown is dead today but his family still makes money from many of his songs because his songs are registered. It is an organised society with a structure which we've not had in Nigeria which is what Pretty is bringing in now.

What do you think is the problem between artistes and record label these days?

Structure. This is because if the artiste does not really know how much you put in, he will not appreciate it and if the label does not come out plain with the artiste. Now there is a structure, finances and every other thing put down on paper, the artiste is told how much the label has spent in fact let me say structure and greed. Because a label will push an artiste and spend millions when an artiste becomes big and suddenly; I heard an artiste some time ago saying that the artiste brand is bigger than the label, forgetting that it was the label that made it a brand that is where the greed comes into play. For the label, at least you should let the label recoup the money they spent on you.

You have an artiste in your record label, don't you think your time is going to over shadow theirs?

Not for me because for Ruggedman, what I have done is I slow down a bit maybe to my own sacrifice to my artiste, slow down a bit on my own activities to enable me push my artiste and until I build him to a certain level, then everything will pick up. Then what I do is you hear me releasing songs Ruggedman featuring Mbryo that's my artiste so that way he is still focus and I am carrying him along.

How many year contract do you sign with your artiste?

Four years contract

How did entertainment all start for you?

I have been interested in entertainment from as far back I can remember so I guess I just followed suit because back then when I watch music videos and read musical magazines I see that the artistes have other businesses they do like clothing, books, movies, drinks, I guess that is why I decided to get along.

When will your album be ready?

It will be ready this year in a couple of months and my artiste Mbryo will be on the album because he is my property and if I don't bring him on the album, it will slow his growth down. Also, I will be officially launching my clothing line soon though it is already on sale but will be doing the official launching soon.