Hello guys, I would like to thank the readers and people who have spread the articles on this blog to countries I have never even heard of before lol… Thank you guys!
Today, I will be touching on a very sensitive issue. So I will write the next sentence in a new paragraph…
I have no intention to hurt your feelings (if that even happens), neither do I intend to take any shots at anyone. I simply want to encourage all of us, including myself, to think about how we treat this music business and how we can collectively move it forward. With that said… I owe you no apologies!
Hi… My name is Godwin Tom and in the last few years I have worked in several sectors from advertising to Merchandising and printing to a magazine company. I have worked in a sports marketing company and now I find myself in the music industry. Also, over ten years ago, I was in a rap group called the “Seventh Seal” and we were signed to a label called Testify Records. We were label mates with Kel at the time. A lot of people tell me that they are sure I have seen it all… That I have experienced a lot! I believe I have... but I also believe I do not know enough. I still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn.
In all the places I have worked, the music industry has the unique ability to damage one’s “shock meter”… How business is done… Why business is done… How people interact with each other. The music industry is… Unique! We are very special people!
In this article, I will discuss something that intrigues me about certain businesses or individuals in the music industry… I call them “The Guys That Do It All”
Let me tell a short story about me. Again!
At a point, I was working as a talent manager, consultant, PR “Strategist”, booking agent and any other activity I felt would put food on my table. In a quest to satisfy so many needs, I ended up satisfying none! Inconsistencies were the order of the day and deadlines were not met and I basically took more than I could actually handle. To be honest, I realized I couldn’t cope but I continued because I had to maintain a lifestyle and it wasn’t too long before it all crashed… By all, I mean my businesses and I! All of us were tired. It got so bad that my good friend Os… lets just call her “O”, asked me one day, “What exactly do you want to do Godwin?” lol
I see a lot of people in the industry making the same mistakes everyday. From broadcast messages or email messages or both, we notice that one guy or company is a publicist, a promoter, a talent manager or Management Company, a distribution company, an image consultant and stylist, amongst other things and they are not known for any of the numerous things they say they do… They are just those guys in the industry. We are not sure of what they do, but we just know they are in it…sha! A daily occurrence of a classic case of “jack of all trades and Master of…”
There are a lot of reasons for this. Life is hard and man must chop! We want to take advantage of everything we can get our hands on to make an extra buck. Its about survival… It is human nature to try to survive in difficult situations, to adapt to changes and to cease opportunities. The question now is, is this the best way to do it? Is there a better way to do it? Is there a way I can do what I am good at and be relevant instead of engaging in other things I know nothing about and mess everything up? Remember a good job is rarely talked about as much as a bad job. Like a “talent manager” who suddenly becomes the “publicist” (guilty) but you are unable to actually do the job because you have 2 full time jobs and then you have 2 "fully"angry clients. I have a lot to say too about publicists or the lack of it in Nigeria… but not today! I will not digress. Someone I read this article to, before I added this part of course, asked me “What about eLDee? Wasn’t he doing everything in Trybes Records by himself” Well, here is my answer… eLDee is a well-informed entrepreneur and a product of over a decade of development and innovation. He is a combination of a creative mind, a business mind and your regular hands on guy. This is what I gather from conversations and meetings I have had with him. So I guess what you see now, is as a result of the things I mentioned or maybe more… Ask him!
I have a few suggestions and recommendations. You can reject them and throw them out the window or support them and try to apply them or better, suggest other solutions and ways we can all work better. Please no finger pointing. Thank you.
So… What if;
We paid attention to one job and get better at it. One we are good or one we have practiced over time and are more likely to make an impact with. If our skill sets push us towards becoming talent managers and we have practiced and learnt the ropes. We can start to create practical solutions to problems based on our experience and abilities.
For those of us who have no previous experience with the job, what if;
We take some time to intern and learn what the job entails. Understand the industry and build a reputation as “that guy that get the job done”. Network and meet people. Build relationships with media, publicists, promoters, stage managers, other managers… basically build a profile. Know the industry we are in, which referees are in charge of the game and how to interact with other players in it or we might just be getting a red card before the game even starts.
Those of us who are getting opportunities in other areas of specialization, What if;
We find people who are actually good at that particular area of specialization and hire them as vendors or partner with them. For example, as talent managers, when we speak to a client who is asking for services and also wants to do distribution across Nigeria for their music. How about not telling them that we are also a "distribution" company? Imagine if we know a company that actually specializes in distribution... you know, companies that actually have better relationships with radio stations and OAPs... companies like Hype Nigeria, and we collect their quote or partner with them and give them the job. That way we only focus on doing what we completely capable of… Talent Management!
I must add this though… A lot of people say “but we don’t have money to pay another company to do that”. Well, think of it this way Mr. Label Exec or CEO, By paying one person to do three to five different jobs, you will end up paying more for jobs that are not done right because you would have to pay twice for it. In this situation, every time you try to save costs you will end up accumulating them. Seriously think about it… How many times have you paid people more than once to do a job and got no results? There are many reasons why this happens but sometimes, it is because a guy who is competent in one job takes on more jobs in which he lacks competence and the end result? Disaster!
Now, where were we? Oh yea, what if;
After focusing on a particular type of work and being good at it and generating revenue and hiring and training people to expand our business and become more efficient at that job. After achieving this and we see the need to diversify, we can simply allow our team continue to work on existing projects while we focus on another specification and work towards being the best at that too. Alternatively, we can partner with businesses that support ours or are more competent in the area you are interested in to reduce your risks of failure and/or our costs.
My friends and colleagues, it is time we stopped kidding ourselves and hoarding all the work we see… even when we can’t handle them. The Industry will grow when people who are willing to develop a skill and specialize are given the chance to grow. It might sound impossible but we will all end up making more money, as revenue will be consistent for us all. The less clients and investors we piss off, the more opportunities and return businesses we create for ourselves. I have met a lot of people who continue to complain about how they were treated by someone they had paid etc and then they take it out on people who can actually do the work. Most times, the work never gets done as the clients cant pay to get the best hands to finish up what was started or start all over. Let us all respect our selves and our abilities, and be truthful to our clients and ourselves. Stop making promises you know you cant keep. When you think you cannot keep it, you probably can’t!
Dear clients, please be realistic with your expectations.
NO! Your artiste cannot become Wizkid or Davido in 3 months!
NO! You cannot get a 3 Million-Naira result for Three Hundred Thousand Naira!
NO! The blog sites and music sites don’t owe you anything and if they do not think the music is good enough to be put on their site, there is little or nothing you can do!
NO! Advertising is not free! Something has to give and if you don’t have anything to give, money is pretty much what you have to part with.
NO! Hiring another clueless person is not a good idea either because you pay for services you really need.
In conclusion, understanding the concepts of job specification and division of labour will help create opportunities which will create employment/job opportunities... This will happen when people stop doing other people's jobs. Specification will help us tailor our solutions. Solutions will give you relevance and Relevance that is properly managed will bring riches and wealth.
We all play a role in the development of this industry and country and until we get our act right, we will keep running in circles. Let us all do the right thing… Start now!