Building The Industry
Moses Umoh :
90 percent of Nigerian Contemporary Music Artistes (especially Gospel Artistes) who do not live or practice their crafts in Lagos where the economy is strong and not one sector driven, can not boast of an average of 100 to 200k constant income per month.
This is the sad reality we may not want to face but the truth remains, Music Artistes plying their trade in regions where the economy is greatly driven by the political class, finds it difficult to make a mark as their contemporaries in other climes where the case is different.
But, is it really true that making fortunes in cities where the economic and purchasing power is low is an unachievable feat? Without being sentimental about it, I will be fair by giving a No/Yes response reasons being that, for the NO, I can argue with the point that generally, any place there are two or more people exchange of value is inevitable. It is believed that there is money in their pockets and you can only get those monies from them by making them see reasons with you, before they let go of their hard-earned money especially on the grounds where you have provided certain goods of services.
The YES part can be because, it takes more time and energy to teach people who throughout their life have never seen Entertainment as what to exchange their value for.
In my few experiences in both the Gospel and the Secular Entertainment scene in the state, I can say that the rate of patronage and respect of arts especially from the indigenous practitioners has been on a low side though of recent, the story has been changing due to the turn up for different events in the past few years.
As Music Artiste and practitioners in the entertainment industry, should we allow this low patronage to be an excuse that will keep us perpetually stuck in a circle of poverty and penury? Let me pretend to believe that we are all chorusing NO as the response and if that’s the case, so,
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Every new goods or services that seeks to be patronized, first of all invest in the process of letting people know what they have (Promotions), what they can do and probably what they’ve done. Taking myself for example, I am able to make some fortune and also get to know and meet top people in my industry because I first of all, made myself available (Promote or Publicize) by writing about them which was a great avenue for me display my strengths. Imagine I only knew how to write but never wrote about people, how do you think they will get to know me?
Secondly, I know of a Pastor that relocate from another city to Uyo and in the space of 2 years the church grew amazing. One thing I can remember is that, the pastor invested heavily in promoting all the event the church had, as the whole city will be flooded with the posters of the events the church is holding.
We can remember how TSTV took everywhere dense with the knowledge of them tho it’s yet to go as planed.
I can go on and on with examples but the fact remains that we promoting our craft is the best way we can gain the market we are looking for.
Statistics has shown that nearly half of the 5 million people in Akwa Ibom, has access to the internet and they are living in the Urban areas and only a few of them have practically explored the internet or even buy things from online stores. Most of them still patronize the offline market and hard copy materials while those in the other region who are not internet users still patronize music via the hard copy (CD).
The idea of promoting Artistes has always been my intentions and doing it in a way which I won’t be the only one benefiting, but the Artiste too made me pause the countdown I did last year. I realize that just projecting the Artiste(s) to my 5,000 friends on Facebook and a couple from the Artiste(s) will not make the dream of wider publicity a reality. I had to invest all I could afford just to make the first edition of “Promise Tunes” (a compilation of 15 songs from Artistes here) a reality without much external support.
Today, I’m happy that I do not only post the name of the songs and the Artist(s) on my timeline, but I also have it packaged and sold a rate, creating job opportunities for me and people I’m working with. The plenty people who are opportune to listen to the songs anywhere I have sent it to, are served with beautiful and amazing songs that are done in and by Akwa Ibom Music Artistes and others residing here. I can remember the feelings and the expression of the people I met at some places I went to supply when ever they see the Artiste they know in person. The feedbacks from those that have played the collections are quite incredible and encouraging.
Let me use this opportunity to debunk the belief that Music Promoters do make money of Artistes illegally. That they will get money from Artiste and also from the buyers inasmuch as there are some level of truth in this, but it is not entirely true. For example, most promoters sell their products at a very unimaginable amount if not half or very little above half of the price the retailers sell to the final consumer which is sometimes the total cost of production there by making NO MONEY from the marketers or retailers.
Take for example, empty CD is N50, CD Jacket N10, burning of the CD is N10, that equal to N70, and since these guys (some Artistes) are new people in the market, the retailers will buy it at 60 to 70 Naira, some promoters will reduce it to N50 so that they don’t loose out. You can see that promoters loose while selling to the retailers and they will be selling at N150. If they are selling it to the marketers that will sell into to the retailers, you can imagine what that mean and in case of most promoters who are promoting Artistes that do not have any purchasing audience, find it difficult to convince the retailers to buy from them and some will buy in credit that the promoters may never even get the money.
Sometimes, promoters do empty their accounts to produce a Mixtape, even without Artistes paying because they still want to keep their name and brand alive.
Most times, promoters will distribute the products FREE just to give the music some audience (I can testify). Note that all this I’m saying, excludes the design fees, transportation to the shops, and every other activities during the production and the distribution cycle.
Music Promoters do not make such fortunes as fantasied, instead they give more and gain little except the song(s) they are pushing gains massive acceptance by the people (blow) which is a win too for the Artiste(s) involved because they will get invitations for gigs too.
My candid suggestions to some Music Artistes that hopes to make money from their craft are:
- First all, accept the fact that you are yet to have people that can pay for your arts.
- Know that the only way you can make them buy you, is when your create yourself in them by constantly engaging in promoting your works via the different promotion platforms be it online, on airline and off-line.
- Remember that if you want to sell only your craft as a stater, it will take time, but if you partner with others your arts can spread easily. What do I mean. If you team up with another artiste(s) who wants to promote themselves too, to meet a Promoter who will combine the works, go through the production and distribution process. Get a certain number of the products from the Promoter depending on the agreements you had, while you are selling or sharing the Mixtape, you are also introducing the other Artiste(s) to your audience and other Artistes are also distributing your song(s) to their audience and you realize the growth becomes faster.
- Don’t forget that promotion is expensive. It is an investment you are investing into your business/craft. Don’t expect your song to spread by luck but be practical about it. Pay for it to spread.
- If you are an Artiste Akwa Ibom State, there are a lot of Music PROMOTERS in town you can meet and work together like JayRazor Alaba, Orange etc and please, do not believe in the logic of trying to promote your work from a city that is not your base. You will just spend your money because people buy who they know after the satisfying with the taste and quality of the products. Example, Filling Stations in Uyo do not make money from people living in Asaba. Saturate your base first and watch them spread your vibe.
Don’t forget that “Promise Tunes” from E.I.M Entertainment is a good brand you can trust as our products are in Shops, Supermarket etc. We run radio promotions in all the radio stations in the state. We also in partnership with Urua Uyo Hub, an online store where you can buy music and other products.
Success is mostly achieved if it is properly planned and executed accordingly, not just mere wishes but also, taking advantage of the existing opportunities to create the future we deserve. Accepting the fact that, patronage in a city like ours is low, yet we do nothing about changing the status quo will still keep us in the complaining region but taking promotions seriously will really better our endeavors.
Moses Umoh is an Entertainment Journalist, Promoter and Service Provider and works with E.I.M. He will help you on any of your entertainment needs. He is based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, from ONNA.
E.I.M Media 2019©