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The Customer Is Always Right.... Right?

March 2, 2017



In 2013, 51% of the global music revenue came from CD sales with digital revenue increasing significantly. By 2014, Digital revenue rose to 46%... Same as physical sale revenue with 8 percent left for Sync and performance rights etc. My people, 8% left for performance and sync… What has caused this shift? 


I will tell you for free… 


In 2009, global digital revenue was 4.4Billion Dollars and with the increase in revenue over the years, more digital distribution companies have entered the market to take advantage of the opportunities. With more options, the power shifted to the consumer. The consumer began to decide how they wanted to listen to music… thereby forcing a trend and ultimately altering strategies developed by the biggest labels and distribution companies worldwide. 


Spotify gave the consumer an option to listen to the music before purchasing. Thereby, helping buyers make better buying decisions... Well, as far as the consumers are concerned anyway. You don’t even want to know how many times your music has to be streamed on spotify to make a dollar. So with more options, the consumer became more powerful and ended up “promoting” their best option(s). 


The average person doesn’t actually mind paying for content but it must meet a few conditions 


-       Can I afford it? 

-       Do I have access to it?

-       How easy is it for me to buy this content? Like, how easy is the process to buy? Or How many stages do I have to got through to get the music?


In Nigeria, no one but Alaba could answer this question for a long time… These days, Music Blogs and websites are answering these questions online and some people in some bus stops are charging phones and giving people an option to load new music on phones for a small fee. 


Where does the artiste benefit in all of this? 


How many platforms have artistes put their music on… either by themselves or using third parties? 


How many Nigerian songs are on soundhound or Shazam or Spotify or Deezer…? I could go on! 


Are we doing enough work to reach more people with our music or are we just ok with Instagram likes and Twitter retweets? 


The average Nigerian artiste is not making money from this global revenue pool because he/she is not listening to the consumer… he/she is listening to the middle-men. Guess what… The middle man will only sell his medium! Nothing else can ever be better than his medium. 


Get it? 


Some people want to buy physical copies of your album… Others want to stream music… from global reports, most want to download (by most, I mean 52% of total global digital revenue)! 




One of the biggest problems have been reaching the mass markets and several businesses globally are investing heavily in marketing and promotions of different services online to reach these markets… Tap into it… All of it!!!!!!!! 


Nigeria is the most populous black Nation and we always win twitter fights with Ghana but we are not on the list of Global Music markets… However, South Africa is. With the number of Nigerians in SA, how do we tap into that market? There are so many questions to answer! 

Kenya pays royalties… And Nigerian Music is in high demand and rotation. Go figure!


There are 43m licensed tracks worldwide and there are over 400 digital music services worldwide grossing over 6.9 Billion USD in 2014 (2.5 Billion Dollars More than 2009) and there are only a hand full of artistes making the bulk of that money… including Michael Jackson who happens to be No. 6 of the top 10 global recording artistes of 2014. Don’t ask… God bless his catalogues and evergreen singles. 


I digressed… 


 As I said in my last article, focus more on the people that will buy. IFPI’s 2015 Global Music Report shows that though ISPs (Internet Services Providers) in 19 countries were ordered to block access to more than 480 copyright infringing websites, about 20% of fixed-line internet users regularly access services offering copyright infringing music. BitTorrent is an example and they alone account for 4 Billion illegal music downloads… lets not even attempt to convert that to money. Lets not… sigh! 


So… What do we do? 


Simple if you ask me… Listen to the consumer! 


In my honest opinion, the consumer is not one person... The consumer is 60 million active users on spotify who are in 58 music markets where the service is available.


The consumer is in one or more of the 32 countries where Rhapsody/napster service over 2.5m fans. 

The Consumer is on iTunes and Spinlet and Youtube. 

The Consumes uses Caller Ringback Tones.


My point? 




Find your audience and feed them. Make it easy to find you and your music. It doesn’t matter how you feel… OR what you think you know. The bottom line is that the customer is always right! 


Find a way to reach Him/Her! 







Reference: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) 2014 and 2015 Reports

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