As a young person, how to start a music career in Nigeria may be the last thing on your mind, but the Nigerian music industry is one of the most dynamic and richest industries in Africa, with major music artists earning in excess of $2 million per year and the entire industry worth about $47 million.
Nigerian music genres and artists are popular on the African continent with Nigerian sings dominating most music charts around Africa, and on the international scene including the US Billboard 100. The current appeal, stardom, and wealth attached to the music career in Nigeria have attracted plenty of talented and less-talented individuals.
Nigeria probably has the highest number of upcoming music artists from every genre in the whole of Africa. This makes the Nigerian music scene a cut-throat one, where only the smartest and most connected survive irrespective of talents or natural gifts. Although all your dreams will come true as a successful music artist in Nigeria, the road to stardom is not an easy one.
There are as many one-hit wonders, as there are successful artists in the industry. Therefore, to break through in the industry and to remain in the game takes a host of factors. This article helps to outline how to start a music career in Nigeria, from the upcoming to getting blown.
Getting started with your music career in Nigeria
Do you have the talent?
Lack of talent is the sole reason why many upcoming artists fail in the Nigerian music industry. while music is profitable and has the capacity to lift people out of poverty, it is not compulsory that everyone becomes a musician. Within this context, it is not enough to have a passion for music, you must have a natural talent also.
You can write music, or learn how to produce or market music and make a lavish living from the industry.
Choose your genre
To start a music career in Nigeria, you have to discover the type of music that fits your jive and gets you groovy. This step forms the foundation of your art and provides inspiration for the type of music you intend to produce.
Selecting your music genre also involves knowing yourself as a person and channelling your emotions into your art. For you to make real music, it has to come from deep within your soul to make a connection with your audience.
It is not enough to have talent, it takes hard work to develop and hone your skill. To become really good at your selected career, you will have to devote long days and hours to your art. The A list artists making waves in Nigeria today spent years as underground artists. It takes time to mature in the Nigerian music industry but the hard work and patience are worth it.
Find ways to get into local gigs and shows around your neighbourhood. Take advantage of the freedom offered by social media apps such as TikTok and Instagram to create content and a fan base.
Have a steady flow of income
The music industry in Nigeria is very expensive. To break through into mainstream music, you need to spend a lot of money on recording, producing, brand and image building, and so on. A lot of upcoming artists cannot shoulder the burden alone (except your last name is Adeleke) and have to rely on record labels or sponsors.
These record labels are good as long as the money is coming in, but quickly turn into demons when things go sour. This is why, it is advisable for intending artists to have other talents, and build other careers besides music. This second career will not only provide funding for your early days, but it will also serve as a fallback option when the music doesn’t pay as well anymore.
Find a good producer
It is important that you find a good producer. A good producer can change your life and accelerate your music career faster than a spaceship. Good producers of the calibre of Don Jazzy and Olamide invest in the careers of their music artists and give them a lift (Just ask Adekunle Gold and Arya Starr).
What is the Cost of Starting a Music Career in Nigeria?
As mentioned earlier, making music in Nigeria is expensive. The least amount you can get for a mid-level production of a single song is $500, and this includes payment for a beat, recording of the vocals, and professional mixing and mastering of the song. This amount is much higher if you intend to work with already established producers.
The cost of producing and recording can be reduced by negotiating with a studio to produce a number of songs with them at a reduced rate. You can also agree on a monthly fee to a studio to grant you access during free slots or after hours. At this rate, you get to release more songs at a cheaper rate.
Asides from paying for studio time, you’ll also have to pay for branding and publicity. This includes photoshoots and social media adverts for your music and your brand as a music artist. You will need to market your audios and videos on Spotify and Apple direct streams, radio stations, music review shows, small playlist placements and so on. You will also have to pay social media influencers on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to promote your audio and music videos. These services will cost you at least $3000.
You also need to budget for videos to your songs. To make an impact, you will need the services of cinematographers, video vixens, stage handlers, fashion designers, and video directors – these cost at least $2000. High-end producers and music video productions are worth much more with A-list artists spending as high as $10,000 on one music video.
As an upcoming artiste, you can make use of high-end mobile devices such as iPhone, and Samsung devices to shoot mini videos for social media. In addition, making use of platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to create and post content can provide more visibility at a cheaper rate for you.
On a final note
This article has elaborated on how to start a music career in Nigeria and the average cost of the important aspects of the industry. however, it is important to note that success in the Nigerian music industry involves a lot of hard work and smart work. It is one thing to position yourself to be seen, it is another thing to have quality content to provide to your fans.