‘CNN Marketplace Africa’: The worldwide growth and influence of Nigeria’s music industry Friday 22 April at 1615 WAT

By Maryann Balogun

This week, ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ explores the Nigerian music industry, which is increasingly generating both revenue and recognition worldwide.

By 2019, Pricewaterhouse Coopers predicts that Nigeria’s entertainment and music industry is predicted to surpass $8 billion.

This year, the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, included a panel on the Nigerian music industry for the first time.

At the conference, ‘Marketplace Africa’ met with artists and industry insiders to learn what makes Nigeria such an appealing market, and to hear what they believe can be done to assure that Nigerian musicians and artists will generate revenue and recognition for years to come.

Sony are the first major record label to operate in Nigeria, indicating a more global direction for the country’s music scene.

‘Marketplace Africa’ speaks to the General Manager of Sony Music in West Africa, Michael Ugwu, who reveals what their involvement signifies: “It’s a big deal for Sony, it's a big deal because it says we are taking this market seriously. Not just by talk or rhetoric… it's let's get functional, physical offices with a physical manager running a business in West Africa.”

Sony have already signalled their intent by signing several Nigerian musicians to their new label, including one of Nigeria’s most popular artists, Davido.

Ugwu explains to ‘Marketplace Africa’ how this new deal can help artists like Davido become a more global figures in the industry: “Davido sells out stadiums. 60-70,000 people. You know as big as you get in Africa, it's hard to now cross territories, and that's where we come in. We're going to help him scale up and create more impact globally.”

Whilst other Nigerian artists such as WizKid, D-Banj and P-Square have also found success by reproducing a classic Nigerian afrobeat sound for to a global audience, ‘Marketplace Africa’ learns how this is not the case for many upcoming artists in the country, who are struggling to support their art.

DJ Cuppy, who spoke on the SXSW panel, explains to the programme: “As an artist it is very challenging. Nigeria doesn't have the infrastructure to pay out royalties or give artists the right publishing arrangement, so artists are having to depend on endorsements and shows to keep their creative going.”

Born in Lagos, DJ Cuppy now travels around the world mixing Afrobeat with other international sounds. With the ever-increasing importance of mobile technology to the global music industry, DJ Cuppy is not the only one who senses reform coming to Nigeria.

According to Bloomberg, mobile music sales generate $150 million annually for Nigerian artists, as well as offering the largest distribution platform for digital music and world music.

‘Marketplace Africa’ hears from Ademola Ogundele, the Co-Owner and CEO of one of Nigeria’s most popular music sites, NotJustOk.com, on how mobile technology is influencing upcoming artists: “With a growing digital environment artists are now becoming more informed with what they do. They're learning that actually – ‘I should be getting royalties, I should have a publishing deal’… so people are realising their skills and their talent is worth something.”

As the Nigerian music industry evolves further, Michael Ugwa explains some of the other challenges on the horizon to ‘Marketplace Africa’: “A lot of artists tend to write their own music. We haven't built up an ecosystem of songwriters… As big as Beyoncé is, she needs songwriters, as big as Sam Smith is he needs song writers… so we need to get that right.”

‘Marketplace Africa’ also hears from the Co-Founder of Mixerpot, Rab Bakari, who represents young African musicians, on the direction he believes Nigerian music needs to take: “We need collaborations where Nigerian artists are writing songs for American based artists or actually producing for American based artists.”

‘Marketplace Africa’ asks Ugwa for his predictions on how the Nigerian music industry will develop in the next five years.

Ugwa explains: “I think five years from now, people are going to be paid a lot more from this industry. 100 percent I believe that is going to happen. That's the trend. People are going to consume music and they are going to pay to consume that music because it's going to be convenient to consume world class, top quality local and international music.”

‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, Friday 22 April on CNN International at 1615 WAT

The show also airs at the following times:
Saturday 23 April at 1615 WAT
Sunday 24 April at 0100 WAT and 0715 WAT
Monday 25 April at 0200 WAT and 1745 WAT