The word music means different thing to different people, but the Cambridge Dictionary defines music as “a pattern of sounds made by musical instruments, voices or computers or a combination of these intended to give pleasure to people listening to it”. While the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary sees music as “ sound that are arranged in a way that is pleasant or exciting to listen to”.
Duke Orsino in William Shakespeare Twelfth Night declare: “if music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it”. This is exactly what the Nigerian musicians have been giving to the world since the colonial era.
The unprecedented achievements recorded in the Nigerian music industry so far could be attributed to Technological development which has brought about several changes in the industry and launched the Nigerian artistes into the global platform. For instance Vinyl cassette tape dominated the industry for the first 90 years of its existence but in the 1980s a new challenger appeared not only to the cassette but all analogue formats.
In 1982, the compact disc ushered in the digital age, for two decades, the CD ruled and the record industry boomed with popular artistes pushing millions of units, artistes got rich and major labels got richer. Nigerian artistes were not left out of the new trend as the industry has rarely been a stranger to change.
After the end of the 1990s, the next form of digital music went mainstream. mp3 was the first recorded music format,the files were completely digital, stored in either on a computer hard drive or one of the primitive devices invented to playback the new format.
For the first few years of 2000, mp3 was on epithet used to summarize all that was wrong with the millennium, the perceived favouring of quantity over quality and art’s dominated value. But in 2001 Apple launched iTunes, a programme designed to organize and play digital audio files.
The inexorable progress of technology brought about a new digital format even easier than downloads. In October 2018, Swedish entrepreneur, Daniel Ek launched Spotify and with it the music streaming revolution.
At the beginning of the 2010s, streaming was mostly associated with videos on YouTube and Netflix, by the end of 2010 major companies like Apple, Amazon and Google had launched their own on demand music streaming services to compete with Spotify, a signal that the format is here to stay.
The Nigeria music industry has gone through these changes hence the increasing appetite for Nigerian music across the world and the importance of investing in the industry. The update on the Nigerian music industry has become even more interesting with their global exploits.
The likes of Wizkid who had already penned a deal in 2017 had began to collaborate with more A-List artistes like Ty Dollar $ign, Chris Brown, Gold Link, Swae Lee, Metro Bromine and Offset( from the Migos). Wizkid also played a huge part in the recent Lion King album by Beyonce which showcased and celebrated an impressive array of mind blowing Afrobeat.
He went ahead to win many award which include:MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act (2016), The Headies Award for Artiste of the year 2016, Bet Award for Best International Act African 2017 and Headies award for best collabo 2018. Others are Echo Award for song of the year 2017 (One Dance), Billboard Music Award for Billboard music Award for Top RnB collabo and City People Entertainment Award for pop artiste of the year, own a record label, Starboy Entertainment, Etc.
Another Nigerian music great Davido also went ahead to do major things in Diaspora. His songs ‘If’ and ‘ Fall’ which were released in 2017 became very trendy amongst the American audience recently. In fact these songs are still constantly played on U.S radio’ daily.
Apart from these two singles,he also collaborated with foreign artistes like Casanova, 2x, ROC Nation and RnB crooner Chris Brown. He was also “ brought out” to perform at a recent musical outing with the rapper, 50 cent in New York.
He is recipient of two Bet Awards, a KORA Award, a Channel O Music Video Award, a Ghana Music Award and the first African to perform at the MOBO Awards. Sold out global concert venues in UK and South Africa, his music tops New York music charts and he owns a music label, Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), among other achievements.
Rivers State born artiste, Burna Boy has also achieved global acclaim as he has signed with Atlantic Record and released two album that have greatly boosted his reputation in the Diaspora. Earlier in 2020, Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant’ album lost the Grammy nomination for the World Best Album to Angelique Kidjo’s reimagination or Celia Cruz’s music on the eponymous.
On November 24,2020, the Nigerian Super Star got his second Grammy Nomination in the Best Global music category. He has various awards to his credit such as Best International Act at Bet Awards (2019), Best African Act MTV Europe Music Awards (2019), Apple Music up Next artiste (2019), owns a Record Label Spaceship Records.
Tiwa Savage recently inked a management deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Company she won the Best African Act, MTV Europe Music Award becoming the first woman to win that category in 2019, she has a record deal with universal music group among other musical exploits globally.
Yemi Alade is the first African female artiste to reach one million views on YouTube for her ground breaking single Johnny. Currently, Johnny holds the You Tube record for the most watched African female music video of all times. She was nominated for a Grammy award in 2019 for the fact that she had acquired over a million global streams in addition to several awards.
She has been listed as one of the most influential people in African in 2018 and is been introduced as Mama Africa.
Other Nigerian artistes have not been left out in this list, Teckno has produced for the likes of Swae Lee and Drake, Mr Eazy has began to to collabo with foreign artistes like J Balvin and Bad Bunny. The defunct P-Square, Timaya, Don Jazzy, D’bang and a host of others have equally excelled globally with various awards and mouth watering endorsement deals.
The surge of the Nigerian music industry has been very impressive over the years, however, the issue of intellectual property remains a problem for artistes and foreign investors due to constant piracy of content.
By: Jacob Obinna