How Leveraging Streaming Platforms Can Boost Nigeria’s Music Industry

“Ojuelegba Shitta,

ask my sister
my music travels without a visa,
oya ask your sister”. Nigerian superstar Wizkid, shouted in the opening lines of the hit song “No Lele” from his breakthrough 2011 debut album “Super Star”.

It will not be out of place to say that the prophecy has come true, as it is now common to hear the music of Wizkid and the music of several other rising Nigerian artists from loudspeakers in clubs, lounges , restaurants and entertainment centers in Europe, America and other parts of the world.

Recently, Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu said he was always happy to see Israelis rocking to songs by popular Nigerian singers including Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy. The midfielder, who plays for Israeli club Hapoel Nof HaGalil, said on his Twitter page.
He tweeted: “God knows how happy I am to see Israelis vibrating to songs of Wizkid, Davido, Burna boy here…I walk with my shoulder as a Nigerian. Ckay songs too.

Music streaming platforms have played a huge role in bringing Nigerian music to global attention.
Two decades ago, it was very rare to see Nigerian artists or their music making waves internationally, mainly because the majority of Nigeria-domiciled record companies lacked the structures and distribution network to get it out there. a wider audience.

The explosion of Afrobeats as Nigerian music is popularly referred to in the US and Europe, owes a lot to the likes of D, Banj, Femi Kuti, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage to name a few some. But the real driving force behind the invasion is a rapidly changing globalized music industry, boosted by music streaming platforms.

Thanks to streaming platforms, songs can now be transmitted quickly and easily, creating strong consumer demand long before supply arrives. According to Steve Kovsky of Current Analysis, a US-based media research firm, “streaming platforms allow niche music categories to exist and reach ‘affluent audiences’ without the backing of a major label.

For music lovers in particular, streaming is a blessed relief, a conduit to a world they previously would not have had access to.” Music streaming platforms have given aspiring and even established Nigerian artists an unprecedented degree of control over their careers. Until recently, record labels had a distribution monopoly.

But after the launch of the pioneering music streaming platform cdbaby.com, and others like “Distrokid”, “Tunecore” Ditto, Gateway Music, Freeme and many others, made it possible for Nigerian artists to sell their music directly to fans around the world.
Increasingly, Nigerian artists can live well off the revenue generated by streaming platforms.

Chukwuka Ekweani, popularly known as Ckay, whose global hit ‘Love Nwantiti’ made him the world’s best-selling African artist, has racked up over N2.6 billion in streaming royalties, according to a BusinessDay report.

“The 6 official releases of the original audio, remixes and videos of the song have generated over 1.5 billion streams from streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music Boomplay, Audiomack and YouTube.

“Spotify appears to have the most numbers as versions of the song have over 824.9 million streams on the platform. Various streaming royalty calculator sites with updated figures on “average payout per stream take the song’s earnings on Spotify to $3.3 million, which converts to N1.3 billion.

“Apple Music recorded a total of 100.08 million streams which converts to $500,400, which is 208.2 million naira when converted to naira.

“According to a recent report, Apple Music‌ subscribers accounted for 15% of all streaming service listeners in the global market in the second quarter of 2021, putting it in a distant second place behind Spotify, the dominant platform with double the amount with 31% of the world market.

“Locally, Boomplay would pay artists N20 to N50 per stream, and with 24.3 million cumulative streams, Ckay is expected to earn an average of over N607.5 million or $1.5 million. Audiomack numbers for the song reached 33.2 million streams and with an average salary of N1.65, it will earn the singer N54.8 million or $131,654.

“Video versions of the song released on YouTube have amassed 559.3 million streams and according to streaming royalty calculators, the song earned him over 407.2 million naira ($978,775).

“The success of the hit song which has been certified gold in the UK among other global certifications has had a ripple effect on his other works such as Emiliana which has over 26 million streams on Spotify alone” . The report says.

This shift to streaming platforms has created a situation where artists are now getting more compensation for their hard work. Esther Adekeye, mediapreneur and founder of Estol Africa, put it succinctly when she said that “Music streaming is simply about getting songs from artists on paid music platforms, where fans can either stream for free, or pay to download, which then turns into revenue for the artists.
Founder, Estol Africa, Esther Adekeye

Similarly, RAVE Media founder Samuel Isong noted that “with streaming, your fans can reward you financially. As an artist, it’s the only thing you have left when you’re not playing gigs and when you’re not a lifestyle artist in which you can influence trends and also associate with brands and some products.

Before the rise of streaming platforms, Nigerian artists, who lacked the financial backing of a record company or promoters willing to inject money to market artists they liked, were left to their own devices. thank you from the “Alaba Boys” (a pejorative name for unauthorized music distributors operating out of the popular Alaba Market in Lagos, Nigeria).

Although their contributions to the growth of the Nigerian music industry cannot be undermined, they have made huge profits by pirating the works of artists. A good number of Nigerian artists gained popularity through the illegal distribution of their works by the ‘Alaba Boys’, but most of them had little or nothing to show for their efforts.

But streaming platforms have helped eliminate these unauthorized intermediaries. Nowadays, artists can record songs from the comfort of local recording studios or, in some cases, at home and upload them to streaming platforms, which distribute them to global audiences with the support of music stores. digital like Spotify, Tidal, Boomplay, Audio mack, Apple music, Deezer and many others.

According to a report by IT publication, Tech Cabal, over 238,000 Nigerians attended Wizkid’s ‘Made in Lagos’ concert from London’s 02 Arena, from their bedrooms, through the uduX live streaming platform. Music streaming service, uduX, and a telecommunications company in Nigeria teamed up to host the iconic concert and gave the world a taste of the type of content that appeals to Nigerian music audiences.

The Nigerian music industry has benefited immensely from streaming services, and as more and more Nigerian artists consistently produce hit song after hit song, and continue to take advantage of the opportunities these platforms provide to exhibit their music globally. Afrobeat sounds will continue to linger on the world stage for many years to come.

Alice P. Darby