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It Doesn't Work Anymore...

March 2, 2017




Do you remember what we used to do with those battery-powered toys when they stopped working? Until we get a replacement, some of us would improvise and others would simply ensure it is totally damaged before we throw it away. 


I remember when my Super Man toy lost his arm after falling off the wall. I turned his hand into a “detachable weapon”. I would imagine that while the enemies are trying to attack him, the arm would miraculously show up and beat the enemy up… Please don’t judge me! 


What I am trying to point out is that we are all naturally resourceful people, Nigerians especially! We can improvise and make the most of the worse situations… most times. This is just who we are… 


Hmmm… That’s probably why so much junk is dropped off in this country. No? 


Anyway, my personal opinion is that sometimes we need to recognize when to call it quits and when to re-invent our ideas and activities, most especially in the music business. So much is changing in our society and the music industry is in the forefront. From production to final consumers, even though most people just want to dance, we all know when and where we want to listen to certain songs. Artistes are becoming more aware of the business of their craft and “con artistes” in the form of “managers”, “Music Business Consultants” and “publicists” are finding out that simply knowing the lingo will not get you far anymore. 


There was a time when it was the guys with the American and British Accents that “wowed” our musicians because most of them simply assumed that these people went to school abroad so must know better… Time told us the truth! 

Then it was the musicians coming from America and Europe that became victims to “Music Consultants” and “Industry experts” and “Publicists” who they felt would know better because they live here and do business here. Not to mention the name-dropping! It’s a real hustle! 


While some of these people have managed to re-invent themselves and their “ways”, others have done their best to be better at their jobs and it is for the latter that I write this article. 

People like me who realize we don’t know or even do much but genuinely want to create impact and build something that will stand the test of time. Those who want to build a legacy for the future ones to come through our work. Those who are ready to learn and to teach what we learn… People like me! 


There is just one tiny issue…  A lot of the things we are doing don’t work anymore! 


As I have said in my previous articles, things are changing. An artiste can now do most of the things that a label used to do, talk less what the manager or publicist’s do. If an artiste can push his music wide enough, he can get the direct and undivided attention of his audience without a label… A good example is the US born Nigerian Artiste, Wale! Oh! Sorry! He is American! 


This now brings us to the next question. Are we, the managers, publicists, AnR, and labels really needed in the new era? Yes, we are… Just not the same way we did it a few years ago though! The artiste still needs his/her manager to manage… Manage situations, career, crisis, money, time/schedule, expectations, staff, and label, among other things! The manager’s new job is business development as I had said one of my previous articles “Is That Why You Are Here?”


We are tasked with the job of developing business ideas and opportunities for the artiste and using those opportunities to create revenue… It’s no longer as easy as finding a label. It is now about finding the revenue streams and using that to create more opportunities for more revenue! And the bigger the artiste gets, the more opportunities you are expected to create or identify. 


It is not “ok” to know people. It is no longer cool to know what you are supposed to do… It is no longer about following the artiste to shows or being recognized by the DJ at the party or club… It is no longer about payola… These things don’t work anymore! 


What works is using the network of people you know to create results and ultimately revenue for the artiste and yourself… Taking the information you have acquired to get the work done. Following the artiste to a show is nice but that’s meant to be the simplest of the tasks on the “To Do List” for shows. How proactive have you been? Knowing a DJ or media person is cool, but how does that translate to the success of your artiste’s career? At the end of the day, these are the things that make or break the talent manager… Stop focusing on the things you did last year, and create a new plan, a new process, new ideas, new strategy and Manage the Artiste’s career! 

Talking about managing the artiste’s career, our job also deals with relating with and managing the other elements of the artiste’s career. I will focus on one of those elements today and that is the Publicist. 


The Publicist is basically the one who devises strategies to market and ultimately sell the artiste’s music and personality to consumers. Consumers include, but are not limited to, the audience, media, agencies, and corporate organizations. 

I used the term, “devises” and “strategy” because they would help me explain the activities of the publicists. 


To devise basically means to create or invent a procedure, not necessarily complex, through careful thought. Strategy is about a plan of action to achieve a major or overall aim. I put emphasis on the last part of that definition because the aims or objectives will continue to change or at least center on re-occurring themes and activities. 


Basically, the publicist develops a plan is detailing the best ways to communicate with target audiences in order to achieve career goals for the artiste. This also means that there must be a plan before the publicist is employed or hired. From a management point of view, it makes no sense to hire a publicist if you do not know what you are trying to achieve. It is your goals and targets that determine the deliverables for the publicist. In other words, the publicist looks at your plan and develops a series of activities or actions to get your goals achieved in relation to reaching your target audience… whoever they may be.


Unfortunately, this has not been the case in the music industry here. It is flooded with people who do not want to learn the proper way to get the job done or people who just believe the know better… Until they disgrace themselves! 

Please note that I am not a publicist and this is by no means an attack on publicists… Over the years, I have learnt what to expect from a publicist. Those who know their work have absolutely nothing to worry about! Selah


In my career as a talent manager, I have worked with several publicists and I have seen most of them make the same mistake… No Plan! Definitely promises, but no plan! No strategy… No new ideas! Nothing! Just talk! It doesn’t work any more guys so cut it! 

It is no longer that hard to get music on blogs besides, you cant make that promise because you don’t own the blogs, especially the major ones. You honestly can’t guarantee more than talking to the bloggers to put it on… Stop empty promises. It doesn’t work anymore! 

An email blast is nice, but that’s not the job. I have found out that the bloggers even appreciate it more when the artiste sends them material… So why should your email be so special? What extra benefit does it have compared to an email from management or the artiste himself? These are the type of questions the publicist needs to answer. 


Recently, I had a conversation with a certain publicist about online publicity for the release of one of my clients’ project and she said to me… 


“I really want to do this thing differently. Everyone is doing the same thing… There has to be a better way to build more buzz and get more attention…”


What followed that conversation was Waje trending in 4 countries during the release of “Na The Way” Remix featuring Sarkodie and a few days after, Waje was trending at no. 3 worldwide. Oma did it! She thought it through, proposed a plan and executed and eventually delivered. I am not saying that twitter or trending topics is the job of the publicist, I’m simply pointing out what can happen when publicists plan and execute strategy. The difference is Clear! 


The industry is becoming more challenging and demanding as it continues to get saturated. Every soon, we will not be able to hide in the shadows of unnecessary grammar and vocabulary, it will be all about the work… the results! Very soon! 

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