How do Nigerian Artistes make money? The average person on the street doesn't know. A lot of people think that the artiste makes money from those N150 cds they buy on the road (laughs in Alaba). The truth is that making money from music in Nigeria is quite difficult and it takes a lot of hardwork and sometimes a bit of luck.
Besides royalties, performance fees and endorsement deals, the only other source of money is from sales and digital distribution. Let me take you through how sales in the industry are currently structured.
1. Sell to a marketer: If an artiste has spent long enough in the industry and has a good enough body of work, then they release an album. In most cases, the album is then sold to a marketer for a lump sum, depending on how they value the body of work. What this means is that the marketer takes all the risk and gets all of the reward. Let's say hypothetically that a new artiste releases an album that is a big hit with music lovers. The artiste is unlikely to get a great deal from the marketer because he is unknown. However the marketer will make a killing on the album on account of the real sales value. Another thing is that some of these marketers never tell you the actual number of copies they sell, so there is little data available for the artiste to work with it.
2. Sell by themselves: Some artistes may have the money and the network to sell and distribute their albums themselves. They will have pirates to contend with, but it can be done.
3. Digital Sales & Distribution: Here lies the main thrust of my post.
Digital sales is a billion dollar industry worldwide. Low prices plus millions of subscribers equals tons of money. This is all powered by internet and mobile technologies; you can literally get new music as fast as your internet speed will allow you.
Nigeria hasn't been left behind. Telcos make billions from callertunes and streaming services which they operate. Some artistes smile to the bank every quarter with decent cheques.
A lot of these artistes are however not making as much as they should from digital sales. They do not take it seriously enough to protect their intellectual property from pirates and rogue bloggers. I daresay that these bloggers make more money from intellectual property theft than the copyright owners themselves.
Only a few artistes actually take protecting their music seriously. For most, it's an expensive waste of time. While artistes in the U.S. spend thousands of dollars and man hours protecting their music, our Nigerian artistes display an unusually lackadaisical attitude towards it.
The law in Nigeria protects copyright holders and their intellectual property. However most artistes are content to allow people download their albums for free because they don't want to spend money on legal takedown services and don't have the time or knowledge to do it themselves.
Digital distribution is a mass market with millions of consumers. Sadly the people making great music are not ready to fully tap into it. If you're an artiste out there with great music, don't take protecting your music for granted.
I should also mention that foreign digital distribution companies are beginning to take Nigerian music seriously. Isn't it time Nigerian artistes took themselves seriously?
If you need help, send me an email via the contact form on my website www.adetoyan.com or send me a DM on Twitter. I will be happy to help.
Written and originally published by Adetoyan Adeniji-Adele on http://adetoyan.com/blog/digital-sales-music-pays-we-are-not-yet-ready-2...