This post will provide you with a detailed guide on how to begin your music career in Nigeria. We hope you found this article useful. For many years, the Nigerian music industry has existed and thrived. It has produced legends who are even recognized internationally, such as Fela, 2Baba, and Sunny Ade, among others.
Many young Nigerian artists are making us proud outside the country’s borders, and you can be the next big thing in Nigeria if you plan your career properly.
If you want to pursue your dream of performing your music in front of more than 30,000 people at Teslim Balogun Stadium, I will show you how in this article.
Overview of the Music Industry in Nigeria
The Nigerian music industry is vast, and many factors must be considered when pursuing a career. Many young upcoming artists fail to reach the spotlight because they do not properly plan out their careers.
Many of them only release one track single per year and have no fan base, social media presence, career plan, or goal. Even though there is no pattern to success, many different musicians rose to prominence in unique ways.There is a standard approach to achieving professionalism, because music is a job, and you must look and act like one.
This is an ambiguous term, profitability can mean a lot of things when it comes to music. However, I will assume the financial aspect.
The typical show fee for A list artistes in Nigeria (Wizkid, Davido, Burna boy, Simi, Olamide e.t.c) is between 3 to 2 million naira.
However, this price is negotiable as some A-list artiste have been known to take as low as 500,000 naira, and some as high as 10 million naira for a 10 minute performance.
Furthermore, endorsement deals are also another gold mine for artiste, as they get huge yearly endorsement payments.
Tiwa Savage signed an endorsement deal with Pepsi worth millions of naira, followed by Wizkid, Davido, and a few other artiste.
Another big advantage is that, this artiste can endorse more than one brand so far they do not produce the same thing.
Some of them even receive a lifetime supply of the company’s product, yes, if you represent a brand like Pepsi, you get Pepsi delivered to your home every month.
Note– I advice, that you do not delve into the music industry because of the money, this is the mistake a lot of people make and they usually end up lost in a world of regret. Do music because of the passion, and the money will come later.
How to Start Your Music Career in Nigeria
Pay close attention, as I will explain in clear terms how to start your music career in Nigeria.
Set a Plan
I call this the “I promise myself list”, this is a detailed list of things you wish to achieve in your music career, in a given year.
If you want to release a song every month, release an Album or Mixtape, grow a fan base or feature a top artist in your music.
Write all your goals in this book and make sure to follow them, and come back to check them as you move forward in your career.
Release Songs (Especially Singles)
Nigerians hardly pay attention to albums or mixtapes, however they are more interested in a hit single. Do not try to change this mentality at an early stage of your career, instead just go with the flow.
Furthermore, it is cheaper to record single tracks, than an album of about 9 songs. You should only consider an album when you have grown a fan base of about 200, that way you are sure of listeners.
Now let me explain how you can release a smash single in Nigeria. I am a broad music listener, and I usually can tell when a song is going to be a hit.
Nigerians love songs that are danceable, relatable and have a nice rhythm to it. Take songs like Case by Teni, On the Low by Burna Boy, Fia by Davido.
Lyricism is very low in the Nigerian Music Industry, it doesn’t mean you should settle to sing “baby your waist na kprokopro”, however, try to sing meaningful things.
This will really help you stand out in an already over-saturated industry. Concentrate on your chorus, if you plan on doing afro-pop, establish a rhythm to it and make sure it can hook your listeners.
Always consider bringing in a backup artist, although it might cost extra, it will really give your music a sense of depth.
Choose Your Producer Well
There are a lot of wacky producers out there, I will tell you from experience. Many of them just buy a laptop, microphone and speakers and call themselves sound engineers.
Take your time to choose the type of studio you would work in, reach out to your fellow upcoming artiste on social media and ask for help.
A typical standard recording studio will charge about 15-20,000 naira per session. However, as you grow in your music you will begin to see producers who charge up to 200,000 naira e.g Kidominant, killerbeatz, Fresh, Sarz e.t.c.
If you like, you can even set up your own studio in your house. This is not only cheaper, it enables you creative control of your music, this way you can wake up one morning and decide to do a song without paying anybody.
To set up your music studio you will need a laptop, DAW (Digital work station) software, Condenser microphone and a two good speakers.
In total buying and installing this hardware and software wont cost more than 100,000 naira. This is a worthy investment, as it will cost you way more by the time you record 10 songs at 20k each.
You are a musician and you should look like it. I am not saying you should go and get tattoos or piercing, what I mean is that people should know that you are an artiste just by looking at you.
Things like your dressing, hairstyle and social media should be a priority. Once in a while pay for photo studio sessions and take a beautiful picture you can post on your social media.
Try to interact with your fans on social media, no matter how small they are. Collect their email address and send them links to your new song release, make them feel part of the journey.
Once you release your first song on online streaming networks like Soundcloud, Spotify and notjustok.com. It is time to market yourself, and secure shows and paying concerts.
Depending on the success of your song, show promoters might even be the one approaching with six-figure amounts for you to perform. However, you need to make proper efforts to secure shows nevertheless.
Do Not Jump Into a Record Deal
Many young artistes feel that a record deal is the all and all. Most times, record deals are a trap that promising young musician’s fall into.
Many Nigerian labels do not know what they are doing, some do not even have an A&R department or marketing team.
They only have capital and a bunch of other artistes with uncertain futures. So before you fall into this trap, be careful not to sign anything without a qualified entertainment lawyer present.
Do not let anybody rush you into signing anything, while making promises. Because when there is a problem, referral will be made to the contract and not the individual’s statement.
Make sure to read every clause in the contract and have your lawyer explain the ones you don’t understand. Because there has been situation where dubious record labels hide clauses which state that the artiste cannot leave the label until 6 to 8 years and a very little royalty and show fee split cut, like the label taking 80％ and the artiste 20％ or lower.
They usually come with six figure advance payments, and “Wow” their victims so be smart and be enlightened, not all that glitters is gold.
Most of the big names you see in the industry today, including
Davido and Wizkid started from somewhere. For some of this musicians it took them almost four years before they could really break through. Once the consistency is there, and commitment is your watchword, you will surely make it.