Hi Guys… It’s been a while… Way over a year! Missed me?
Brief update… In the time I have been away a lot has happened. I stopped working with Wizkid as his manager. Set up a new company and signed a few new acts like Solid Star, Uzikwendu, SDC, Ayo Jay, and Juliet Ibrahim to my management company…. Basically, I have been very busy! You should check out our website www.imanageafrica.com
Anyway, in my quest for global domination, I stepped away from the chaos and noise and took my time to review a few things and to ask questions… Do some research. I didn’t find much here. We don’t have a habit of keeping records and most of the information communicated is in pieces or irrelevant. So my research was then based on the current situation of things and how we can all move forward or find a solution to the issues and concerns no one seems to be addressing. That’s really what this blog is about to be honest. Highlighting and discussing concerns.
With the level of saturation the industry is experiencing, is the Nigerian Music industry about to crash?
Major events are being sponsored by the same companies and with lower budgets every year. What happens when it stops?
What other avenues can artiste make money? How are the artistes doing on itunes and spotify and other online platforms and how can they do better?
What’s the situation with distribution channels other than Alaba?
I could go on… but I will stop here and focus on what I am writing about today… How can artistes sell music? Who are the people the artistes and managers should focus on reaching?
My response is… Only Serious Buyers!
Recently, Reminisce released his latest album Baba Hafusa to massive reviews. His endorsement deals also played a huge role in creating more buzz and anticipation for the album… Then it dropped. A website felt the need to get the full album and put on their site for free download. Over 12 thousand downloads and everyone started computing how much was lost… even me! Over 1.5 million Naira lost and that story goes on… 12000 people have listened to and/or enjoyed the album. Baba Hafusa didn’t benefit from that. Even I can’t explain that to be honest.
Piracy is everywhere… the case is just worse in third world and developing countries like Nigeria. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is online. Going further, not everyone who comes online is on social media. The numbers get smaller when you check, of all the people who have access to internet, how many have cards or access to payment tools. Then, from the ones who have access, how many actually make purchases online? Compared to the population of the country, these numbers are nothing!
Yet… Mall for Africa, Konga and Jumia are still in business. They are doing so well that they can afford to sign Ambassadors and run TV adverts. They are doing so well, that there are so many new online shopping platforms in Nigeria. Think about it… Why isn’t the industry benefiting from this too? Or are they?
Nigerian music is constantly on the number 1 spot on iTunes… well, iTunes in the African region. So are they really making money? Is there a different standard? How many people are really on iTunes in Africa? I mean, if the highest amount of buyers is 100 and 100 people bought it, you will be number 1, no? These are serious real life issues and questions… I think!
So, who are these serious buyers?
This simple question has so many sub questions like: who are the artiste’s primary target audiences? What are the different distribution channels the artiste uses or can use to reach his/her target audiences?
At the end of the day is it all about time management. One of the most important rules of time management is to give priority to what will benefit you more. Whatever benefit is more important to you. Applying that to this conversation, focus on the people who are willing to pay. A few people will also go through the stress of finding a way to get it for free anyway so focus on those who will pay.
I have spoken to some many people with different views on buying music versus downloading music. As a businessperson, I focus more on the person who I can tell, “buy Waje’s album on iTunes or Spinlet” instead of trying to convince the other person that he or she is not helping the artiste grow by downloading the song for free. People naturally like free things. That’s why we negotiate. Left to the other party, they would get your products or services for free. But you put a price on it now they have to get it at the best price or get the best value on the price charged.
Let’s treat the artiste’s work this way…
Develop a strategy. Find the audience… Then find the audience that will pay for the service you offer. Put the music out to the public but sell to the serious buyers first. Even if it’s just for the first month… Focus on those that show willingness to pay.
Don’t just put that song on iTunes because that’s what everyone is doing. Sell it!!!
I will give an example. About a year ago, Waje did a world cup song of her own after being a part of world cup songs for Coca Cola, Glo and even Guinness. It was a long shot but we wanted to test responses to putting out a song and not giving it out for free download. So, we teamed up with producer and writer Olaitan Dada and made “Spirit Of Africa” happen. We did not release any thing for free download. All blogs got a soundcloud link to a page where people could stream and buy the song on iTunes. Before release date we had announced pre-orders and on the day of release, the popularity bar for the song on iTunes was full. We have used this method since and revenue from digital distribution has seen Waje make more money from iTunes in 3 to 6 months than she used to make in 2 years. Did the song still get on some sites for free downloads? Yes! But we made something of it.
That’s one example. This applies to events, merchandising, marketing activations, licensing, etc… Make the most of the resources and tools closest to you while you source for new ones.
Every good song has a market and though you don’t get it right the first time, look at your strategy and tweak it… But never lose sight of your serious buyers! Focus on them! At the end of the day… This is Business!