In this article, I am going to show you how musicians make money in Nigeria.
But before you ever think of making money from music in Nigeria, you really need to understand the following 2 important points:
- Why you should choose music as a career.
- Is a music career profitable?
And without much ado, let’s explain the above 2 points.
Why you should choose music as a career.
The aim of every human being in life is to have a source of livelihood. That is something that helps them to make money.
There are lots of careers in life to choose from. And some will require you to learn and study in school for years to obtain a degree or certificate which will guarantee your job or employment opportunity.
But with music, there is no degree or certificate required.
In fact, 95% of musicians all over the world are school dropouts who represent the street. Some of them are from broken homes which never gave them the opportunity to have any informal education, talkless of the formal one.
So in case, you find yourself among these kinds, then you really need to consider music as a career choice in your life.
Because it is really worth it to enter the Nigerian music industry.
Is a music career profitable in Nigeria?
To confirm if a music career is profitable, you need to have an overview of the life of the current musicians who are very relevant in the Nigerian music industry.
There is no denying the fact that modern-day musicians or artists are living very flamboyant lifestyles.
Even though some people think these kinds have a side hustle, come from wealthy backgrounds (like Davido), or engage in other illegal means as a source of income; we cannot deny the fact that there are various ways musicians are making legit money in this country.
And without mincing words, I will firmly say that the music career is very profitable in Nigeria. And let me support my claim by stating the various ways Nigerian musicians are making legit money from their music.
How musicians make money in Nigeria.
Musicians in Nigeria make money from record contracts, paid shows, endorsement deals, revenue from online streaming, physical sales of their music, selling of merchandise, etc
Let’s try to explain the following point briefly.
1. RECORD CONTRACTS
The majority of the musicians you see in Nigeria have signed record contracts with record labels both in Nigeria and overseas.
Recently Don Jazzy signed a new artist ‘Boy Spyce’ into Mavin Records while Davido signed Zheno Boy into DMW Records.
2. PAID SHOWS.
Nigerian artists make so much money from selling out show tickets both in the country and overseas.
Recently Davido sold out the 02 Arena in London while Buna Boy sold out Madison Square in New York.
3. ENDORSEMENT DEALS.
Endorsement deal is the process where companies pay a musician to be their brand ambassador and promote their products or services.
It is one avenue that fetches so much money for the artist in Nigeria.
Recently a fast-rising artist in Nigeria known as Portable signed a 50 million naira endorsement deal with Obi Cubana’s gin company for the alcoholic drink ‘Odugwu Bitters’.
Now let us move on to see how to start your music career in Nigeria.
How to start your music career in Nigeria.
My step-by-step guide on how to start a music career in Nigeria is as follows:
- Confirm that you have the talent.
- Learn about the music industry to understand how it works.
- Money plays a very important role.
- Humility pays a lot.
- Be willing to learn as you grow.
- Shun that record deal mentality and aim to be an independent artist.
- Do not insult the industry people.
- Join social media platforms for musicians.
- Shoot and promote viral and freestyle videos.
- Compose or buy your first 3 songs.
- Source for artists to feature in your songs.
- Get a good studio and producer for your audio recording.
- Arrange your promo package.
- Design a dope artwork.
- Begin your music promotion.
1. CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE THE TALENT.
You need to be musically talented if you want to become a successful musician in Nigeria’s music industry.
Never try to do the confirmation by yourself, rather record a demo of yourself singing or rapping; and play it to people asking their honest opinion if you have the musical talent.
2. LEARN ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS.
You really need to understand how the music industry works if you want to become successful in it.
You might have a myopic view of the industry, but when you study it you will get to discover how enormous it is in essence.
Knowing how the music industry works will help you figure out a way of getting into it.
3. MONEY PLAYS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE
There is a popular saying that even in Freetown nothing is free; likewise the music industry in Nigeria.
From your music recording to promotion, you are going to spend a lot of money.
But you need to replace the word spend with invest because you definitely will get a return on whatever you spend if you are able to achieve success in the music industry.
It’s rather unfortunate that the majority of upcoming artists do not make provision for the money they are going to invest in the music industry.
But instead of toeing this same line, look for ways to raise money that will help you fund your music career.
4. HUMILITY PAYS A LOT.
Pride is going to make you step on the toes of those who matter most in the music industry.
Also, pride will never allow you to learn about the things you should do in order to blow in the music industry.
For that reason, you need to be very humble and you will be able to spot the opportunity that will present itself to institute your entrance and success in the music industry.
5. BE WILLING TO LEARN AS YOU GROW.
So many upcoming artists in Nigeria do not want to learn, all they want is quick access to the music industry.
But don’t think because the music industry does not require a certificate or degree to enter, that you should not learn about how to utilize it.
The internet has loads of articles, tutorials, podcasts, etc that can really help you learn about the music industry, so ensure you make good use of it.
6. SHUN A RECORD DEAL MENTALITY AND AIM TO BE AN INDEPENDENT ARTIST.
Nearly every artist that approaches me on a daily basis is asking after a record deal.
But am always surprised to realize that they don’t even have what it takes that will make a record label look at them a second time.
But instead of living with that record label mentality, work hard to become an independent artist, and watch how record labels will look for you when your career reaches that point they require.
7. DO NOT INSULT THE INDUSTRY PEOPLE.
I can’t relate to how many times I’ve been insulted by upcoming artists who feel they are just good enough in the music industry.
After I review their music and tell them honestly that it doesn’t meet the standard of what the Nigerian music industry requires, they will call me a scammer, that people who have already listened are in love and recommend their music.
At times I just have to block these kinds from my platform to have peace.
But they fail to realize what they are missing from the lessons and guides am providing for upcoming artists to help them succeed in their musical careers.
Thus, insulting people is going to really bar you from the many benefits you should gain in the music industry.
The high point is that one of those you insult can turn out to be the only person to recommend you for a record deal someday. To learn how to respect them.
8. JOIN SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS FOR MUSICIANS.
You need to study the social media platforms that work well for musicians and sign up to join them.
Social platforms are always free to join, and it will give you the opportunity of meeting a wider audience.
But you need to understand how the algorithm of any social platform you join works; since they all vary.
However, one thing I know is that social platforms hate when you try to post or publish things that will take people away from their platforms to another.
So you need to use this as a rule of thumb and ensure you publish posts specifically for a particular social media platform.
9. SHOOT AND PROMOTE VIRAL AND FREESTYLE VIDEOS.
Viral and freestyle videos are contents you should be using to engage those who follow you on social platforms as well as proof to those who care that you are musically fit.
This kind of content will cost you nothing as you can produce them with your Android phone.
10. COMPOSE OR BUY YOUR FIRST 3 SONGS.
By now you need to compose your first 3 songs, but in case you are not good at that, never worry yourself and go online to see those who have hit songs that are willing to sell them.
There are renowned songwriters who have written hit songs for established artists, and buying your music from them will guarantee you’re having the best production ever.
If you are composing on your own, the thing you need to take into consideration most is the topic or theme of your song.
My popular advice on this point is that you should never attempt to make boasting songs while starting out as an upcoming artist.
11. SOURCE FOR ARTISTS TO FEATURE IN YOUR SONGS.
It is undeniable that music feature or collaboration is capable of blowing an upcoming artist overnight.
But the advice I always like to give in this case is that you should never let the artist you are featuring outshine you.
So before you feature any artist, make sure you listen to multiple songs done by him and study how he delivers his vocals. Then aim to make yours better when you hit the studio to record with him.
But make sure after the recording is done, you follow up with the artist to help you in putting the song out for his fans.
Cases, where an established artist refuses to post the song he features with an upcoming artist, abound. And the reason always arises from the fact that the music is just not good enough.
But because the offer was worth it, he had to do the recording, solely to make the cash.
12. GET A GOOD STUDIO AND PRODUCER FOR YOUR AUDIO RECORDING
Your audio recording is the high point of your music career because this is what will show people how talented you are.
As in business, this is the goods and services you are going to sell to the masses and make a fortune out of it.
So if you bust it, then your music career will definitely go down the drain.
90% of upcoming artists out there are going about with very low-quality recordings, but leave it to them they will tell you they have the best music ever.
But can you compare a track record with 10k with that of an established artist record with 250 to 500k?
My one and all advice when it comes to an audio recording are for an upcoming artist to settle for a popular producer.
Though this is going to be very expensive, the advantage is that the producer has a lot of experience and knows the selling point at any given point in time.
And for that reason, he is going to give you that kind of production that will meet up the standard established artists are getting in the industry.
13. ARRANGE YOUR PROMO PACKAGE.
Your promo package must contain your short musician bio, artwork, press review (if any), photo gallery, etc.
It is this promo package that you are going to send to blogs and media houses, so they could carve any story they want about you from there.
14. DESIGN A DOPE ARTWORK.
Especially when you will be promoting your music online, your artwork is going to be the first view people are going to have about your music.
And for that reason, you need to make it as attractive as you can.
The best idea is to make your artwork or album cover align with the concept of your song. And you should start that with your photo shoot with the fonts and background image you are going to put up there.
As a rule of thumb, avoid taking photos with your mobile phone and instead visit a photography studio to get a nice shoot and edited photo.
After that, you can then scout for a professional graphics designer to give you that dope artwork design.
15. BEGIN YOUR MUSIC PROMOTION.
Now that you’ve had everything in place, the final step to start your music career is to promote your songs.
You can read this complete guide to music promotion and discover how you are going to have an effective music promotion.