Nigeria’s music industry set to hit a high note - CNBC Africa

Nigeria’s music industry set to hit a high note

Western Africa

by Dara Rhodes 0

Nigeria's music industry is the most dominant in Africa. PHOTO: Getty images.

The industry produces over 550 albums of different kinds of music annually, record sales have more than tripled in the past five years and industry stakeholders have projected that the country’s entertainment industry would hit one billion dollars by 2016.

“It’s been an incredible growth. Going back five to ten years ago, artists were flying okadas as we call it, going to shows and they were really being paid like slaves,” Sam Onyemelukwe, managing director at Trace TV told CNBC Africa.

According to homespun statistics, global annual Nigerian live performance revenues reached around 105 million dollars and despite the several infrastructural problems and copyright issues, the industry continues to thrive.


“Now, you have artists that won’t lift a finger without getting proper pay. That’s just the tip of the ice burg, the growth has gone well beyond that to opportunities in digital media to exploiting their music, their videos and their content,” he said.

According to Obi Asika, the CEO of Storm Records which is a leading record label company in Nigeria, mobile operators generated 150 million dollars selling pop music ringtones and other music related services in 2011.

(WATCH VIDEO: Unlocking the potential in Nigeria's entertainment industry)

Onyemelukwe further explained this aspect of the industry, “Mobile networks have been critical to the growth story. Ten years ago, they wanted nothing to do with [the industry], but now MTN, Airtel and Etisalat are becoming major platforms for artists. This is where they can derive value.”

He believes that music is a special business because it’s emotional and music channels such as Trace TV and other entertainment channels are essential to reach a critical mass for artists.

“It’s a very glamorous business so a lot of youths think they can make an album, shoot a video and next week, they are driving a Bentley. It is far from that but rather, it’s work and hard effort,” he added.