2020 was a very tumultuous year for all. In the USA, the year started very normal until news broke about suspected cases of Covid19 discovered in the USA, which was up till that point a “Chinese” problem. The USA went on to become the number one host for the virus and the rest is history. However, the global pandemic that ensured caused millions of people to lose their lives , shut down a lot of businesses, and crippled the normal day to day activities for people all over the world. One can argue that artists and entertainers were the most affected because these people basically make all their money from touring, but with the grounding of flights in airports across the world , it meant no income for artists.
Surprisingly , there was still a reasonable amount of activity in the music industry, artists turned to streaming services for income which led to a more than anticipated amount of albums and EPs being released. In Indianapolis, a few artists had a very strong year and here are the nine artists that had a very solid 2020.
Oluwatimileyin keeps impressing us long after we first stumbled on his work and projects. The Nigerian artist from Indianapolis USA released several compelling singles in 2020 which cumulated in the release of his Debut EP titled “The first Epistle of Oluwatimileyin” . A videographer by trade , he is also making sure his videos match the vibe of his singles and projects. His hard work has earned him a spot on this list. We are looking forward to his sophomore EP and listening party.
Rilo had a very productive year starting off with the release of his “Out of the blue” EP around the second quarter of the year. The impressive EP showed a lot of growth and versatility from the young Afrobeat artist and endeared him to Afrobeat faithful’s in Indianapolis . His sound bore a close similarity to that of the original Afrobeat sound created by Fela Kuti in the early 70s.The high point of 2020 for Rilo came when he lent his voice to the End sars protest in Nigeria, the song and the video went viral.
Hamzy west started the year quite strong with the release of his single and then followed it up with the release of the music video much later in the year. We were really expecting to see much more from Hamzy west but his EP was pushed to the first quarter of 2021. Hamzy west also made some very meaningful appearances in events and shows for 2020 and earned himself a spot on this list.
Timmy Rochy put in a very productive year with the release of singles like “Dem say” and “International Kondo” alongside T-ME Singsong. His self titled EP has been in the works for while and the tracklist reveals massive singles featuring the likes of Dotman and General Pype. Through out the year, Timmy Rochy was a constant feature in events in and outside Indianapolis while also making appearances at shows and clubs.
This is by far the number one French artist in Indianapolis . The Togolese artists is a regular on chats in Indianapolis and did not disappoint in 2020. The only reason he is not further up the list is the fact that he barely appears in shows and events in Indianapolis USA, hence we are not able to determine how much fans in this city engage with him while on stage . After speaking to him, it looks like this is about to change in 2021 as his management is on the verge of releasing schedules for a few shows and events he will he will be headlining in 2021. He is a multiple award winner in his home country of Togo.
Teeklef always seems to be around every year and even in a pandemic year with all the distractions around he still able to put in a very impressive year comparable with previous years. His music videos “A prayer for Black America” detailing the social injustice and the struggles of the black man in USA, which was released during the George Floyd protest and another single “Wanting” featuring Camerudeboy really shaped the music scene in Indiana USA in 2020. He also released a Joint album titled “NonZeroSum” with Skypp and played a huge part in Afrorolls massive single “Trianna”.
Afrorolls had a hugely successful year with the release of his “Don Corleone” EP. We were not only impressed with the content of the EP but we were also taken aback on how organized the entire process was. From the photoshoot to the actual release party Afrorolls managed to pull off the “Don Corleone” look. Wizkid’s longtime Producer and friend Samklef was also in Indianapolis, USA to witness the release of the EP. Afrorolls continues to set the pace and set trends with his music.
We were particularly impressed with Olawalekentucky this year. He seemed to have gotten a lot of things right with his Branding in 2020. The Brand is looking Prim and proper. He also packs a crowd and is able to fill up descent sized event halls and venues. This is something you cannot take for granted. His Publicity skills is far superior to what i expect from a local artist in Indiana, and if there is one thing we learnt from Olawalekentucky this year, it is the ability to keep your fans entertained and thrilled on social media. He has by far one of the most engaging social media pages in Indianapolis and is attracting a lot of business to himself. He also appeared in multiple paid events in 2020.
In our opinion T-ME singsong had the strongest year in 2020 releasing his much anticipated “Take II” EP and moving on to become the most booked artist in Indianapolis for 2020. One can argue that while many artists were refusing to be booked for events , T-ME and his team were busy scheduling events, but the truth is that the number of private shows and parties T-ME Singsong was booked for shows how much his influence has grown in the city and how much people crave for his music. He also released strong singles like “Low” and “international Kondo” while featuring in almost everyone’s project. “Holiday” by Zarnotti and “Tonight” by Mr. Carter are some of the most notable. His “Superwoman” video featured top business women from the city of Indianapolis.
Tell us below who you think Indiana’s strongest artist for 2020 is and also name artists we may not have added to the list.
Are you conversant with the Nigerian music industry? If your answer is yes, then you must have heard of Fefe Blanco the “uncommon” singer from Nigeria whose rise to the top is nothing short of exemplary especially in a male-dominated industry.
Efemena Olori Tracy also known as Fefe Blanco, is a Nigerian musician and entrepreneur. Her radio debut was a track titled “Aura” which was released on May 17th, 2013; it received rave reviews – including a nomination at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards for the Most Promising Act that same year.
Fefe Blanco was signed for a few years, to The Goretti Company & CAPital Hill Music Joint Venture, owned by renowned video director Clarence Peters and celebrated rapper illBLISS. She released several singles under this imprint, such as “Kilowi” and “Make Sense”, which also got good reviews.
Her big break came with the release of a song called “Baby Bad”, which scored over 1 million music streams within its first year of release. She embarked on a successful street tour across different cities in Nigeria. She has been featured on Jamaican talk radio station, Power 106 FM, on Dermot Hussey Show on Sirius XM, the MTN Yello Top 10 show, to mention a few. She also featured as a guest artist on Davido’s annual 30 billion concerts in 2019.
Her recently released “Uncommon” EP marks a new start for the independent artist, who is poised to break boundaries with her music. Uncommon EP is a highly rated body of work that dropped in 2020 and we would like to share this with the rest of the world. Listen to “Choco” the lead single off the EP here
Leaving one’s home country to a place like the United States could be a very daunting task. A lot of people are not able to cope with the change, and at the end become a shadow of their previous selves when they get her. These societies are very different in terms of values, cultures, economy, or tradition and it easy to be lost in the system. To most, it is as good as starting all over again. Even the most talented people struggle. Settling down takes a lot of time, and one has to be mentally prepared for such a journey. These early struggles are often the reason why many creatives have abandoned their talents in pursuit of financial stability in the USA. That is why we have reserved special recognition for Aderonke Moyinlorun, a strong woman who has had to battle many challenges in the United States to make a mark.
Aderonke Moyinlorun left Nigeria in her teens to study at the University of Indiana. Everything did not go as planned. One thing led to another and she left college briefly to pursue her talents in order to raise money to fund her education. Aderonke discovered early in life that she could write great stories, so she decided to pay more attention to that gift. Some of her books like When love hurts, After dark, I choose you, and the promise we made, which primarily focuses on social issues like love, marriage, rape, infidelity, and sometimes crime, are now best sellers on Amazon and helped her return to college.
Aderonke founded a company called “Starling Empire”, and incorporated film production into her line of work. “This was something I have always wanted to do”, she said. “I have always wanted to bring my books to live and I will be fulfilled to see my stories air on some of the biggest platforms in the world. A lot of people have told me that my books will make great movies because when they read them it feels like they can see and feel the characters in the movie. For them, it is almost the same experience as watching a movie. it’s like I am painting a picture in their heads”.
Aderonke’s first movie Dear Husband directed by Bayo Alawiye is out and is already doing very well as market leaders Amazon have partnered with her to show the movie on Amazon prime – One of the world’s largest markets for buying, selling and renting movies. This is a great achievement given that this is only her first movie and she only just started.
Dear husband centers around Steve and Funmilola, a happily married couple who seem to be a match made in heaven until a past mistake, in form of an old flame, and pressure from friends test their commitment to each other. Dear Husband tells a heartwarming tale of love and how loss can bring about forgiveness.
Her next movie is already in the works as she has started to invest the revenue that is being generated from “Dear husband” on her next project. Her coming movie is titled “OUT OF HER MIND” and production is ongoing, watch out for that also. Ronke should be commended for pushing the culture in the USA, not only because she makes movies that entertain and educate us but also because through her business and production company she is employing local actors and giving them a platform. Follow her on Instagram @authoraderonke
The rap industry in Nigeria has come alive in the last few months. There has been a resurgence, a couple of significant events that have regenerated and rekindled interest in the art form. At the turn of the millennium, rap music could pride itself as the most followed form of music in Nigeria. Rewind time to the days of Ruggedman, Idris Abdulkareem, and Eldee, rap in Nigeria at one time had a very honest and fanatical following.
Blaqbonez albums, E.P’s and battles, Chocolate city’s Martell Cypher, Mi vs Vector Beef, Blaqbonez vs Khaligraph Jones, Timi Kei’s soul soup Album, and Dr. Barz record detailing the killing of a Mechanic in Port Harcourt are some events that have lifted the face of rap music in recent times.
Today, we had a chance to sit down with Dr. Barz who is emerging as one of the best rap acts in Nigeria and this is how it went.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Born Victor Akpomon, Dr. Barz is a uniquely versatile Afro-hip-hop music artiste. Born in the early ’90s in Benin, Nigeria and raised in the southern city of Port Harcourt, his love for music began from his early years as he started writing music at a tender age of thirteen in high school.
Dr. Barz’s music is an expression of his vast life experiences, societal struggles, and deep knowledge. With a voice texture and rhyme scheme likened to that of Kendrick Lamar, the soul of J. Cole and the spirit of a Port Harcourt hustler, Dr. Barz produces all shades of dope any day.
Why did you choose the name, Dr. Barz?
I chose the name Dr. Barz because I doctor bars. At first, it was just Barz, because I needed something simple and self-explanatory but it needed some distinction. I switched to 16 Barz for a short time because most of my verses were 16s, but in the end, I finally decided to be a Dr.
Can Tell us who your creative Influences are?
My major influences currently are J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Burna-Boy. Although at different times during the span of my music career, I have had several other influences
Who do you consider the best rapper in Nigeria?
I consider myself The Creative God and one of the best rappers in Nigeria. I personally hold the opinion that the best is a set of people and not just one person, contrary to many people’s beliefs.
What is your opinion about mumble rap?
I think mumble rap is largely overrated and glorified – sad. I personally think real hip-hop/music should be comprehensible, possess clearly defined messages and inspire people to a positive end
What do we expect from you in the future?
In the future, expect way better songs, videos, bigger collaborations, award-winning projects and definitely real poo-poo
I’m working on my debut album, can’t specifically say when it will be out but it promises to feature a number of amazing artists worldwide.
What are your thoughts on selling digitally?
I think digital platforms are an amazing inclusion in the music industry business, one today’s generation of artistes should feel privileged to have Traditional hard copy sales should not be overlooked too as different regions have their preferences and this is also a good source of revenue during tours.
Are making enough money from streams?
Not enough But I am making some considerable amount of money
Would you say you have all the support you need?
I would say I am grateful for all the considerable amount of support I am getting, but I wouldn’t say that getting way more is a bad idea. It is required for growth
Are you signed to a label?
No, I am independent but I am currently managed by an independent outfit, Kporwell Inc. There are big advantages of being on big labels, but for the integrity of my sound and creative freedom, I would prefer to be independent
But you sure need some type of investment, right?
Music is a business Businesses need investors The more the merrier.
Thank you so much for joining us today. we honestly think your video is pretty solid, gritty and dope. You are one of the best rap act out now.
Real names Ayodeji Oladimeji Oke, “YOUNG PABLOZY ” is one of the emerging stars in the Afrobeat circles in Chicago IL, USA. He has shown Us potentials of rising and aspirations to succeed with his unending hard work, good songs, and great stage performances and very friendly Attitude.
In my opinion, he has the Don Jazzy vibe.
He released his first Single Titled “OLADIMEJI” under the F.O.B RECORDZ last year, which earned him a place on the playlist of the biggest club DJs in the States with the Likes of Dj Deemoney, 3k, Bosun, Matrix, BODE, Phlame Rymzy just to mention a few.
I met him at a gig with DJ Deemoney and I definitely feel Pablozy is on track to reach the pinnacle with his abilities to be diverse in songs. He currently has two songs out OLADIMEJI and BAMILO and An official video to OLADIMEJI. According to his team, He is set to release another club banger “Call on me “ on Feb 14, 2020, which he refers to as the lover’s anthem.
Check out the visuals to Oladimeji below. It is such a vibe.
Just released photos by Timi Singsong’s management shot by Bree Danielz
The last time we heard from Timi Singsong on the big stage was around 2017 in Lagos Nigeria, he just released the video to his popping single prove holy featuring one of Nigeria’s heavyweight rappers Vector and everything was looking great for him. But, Soon after the release of the video he relocated to the USA to find greener pastures and has since been under the radar.
Timi Singsong surfaced a few weeks ago as the host of Afrique Entertainment Awards in the USA alongside another artist Kambria Moncrief and we got the chance to have an interview with him.
Mazifeanyi: Good morning Timmy how are you doing?
Timmy: I’m doing very well boss, how about yourself?
Doing ok, I would like to know, is it Timmy singsong or TME singsong and how did you come up with that name?
It’s actually T-me singsong but due to some requirements from some music playing platforms, I’ll rather have it as Timi singsong. Some of them give you problems if you have special characters on your brand name. Timi comes from my middle name Timilehin, and singing is what I do, I just used a little from my 250 IQ to come up with the name Timi singsong
Lol, at 250 IQ so you have such a high IQ, Great! Thank you for the clarification, officially it is Timi songsong so that we do not confuse you with someone else.
What took you so long, we saw you in Tsunami and in Prove holy ft Vector and all of a sudden you disappeared from the radar. We were wondering what happened to Timi singsong, can you take us on your musical journey?
So, after the release of prove holy featuring vector tha viper I moved to America to chase my music dream internationally, so I took a 2-year break from the scene to study the environment and the lifestyle before I started doing my thing again.
Are you back to doing music now and what are the plans for your music?
Yes I am. I have an Ep coming out in March 2020, so y’all should look out for that. The title is Take 2
Why Take 2?
Take 2 speaks about my journey through the music industry from Nigeria and my reincarnation back to the music I’ve always loved doing
Do you have any collaborations on the E.P? If yes, who are they, I mean the artists and the producers.
Well, I have Afro rolls, Rilo, Mr duke, vector and juniorboy on it.
Can you speak on Afro-beats in the USA ad compare it to Nigeria and what impact will your project have on USA or Nigeria. Where do you think your E.P will have the most impact?
I think most of my peers would want their music to make an impact in the USA which is also my aim like I said earlier, I moved here to make my music go international.
Finally, tell us where we can find you and your music, especially the ones that have been looking for you all along.
You can follow me on Instagram @therealsingsong and you can add me up on Snap-chat if you want to interact with me personally @t-mesingsong. My new music when it drops will be available exclusively first on your site and later on all streaming platforms. I also do like the fact that you are focused on Afro-beat acts in the diaspora because we do need a channel and a voice. Thank you.
Many things have been said about blackfaceNaija in recent times, especially as the case between his former groupmate Tubaba Idibia continues to heat up. The two were part of a group called Plantashun Boiz who in the 90s brought smiles on people’s faces. I was in High school at the time when their singles were all over the airwaves in Nigeria. We were all miming their songs and we would use the lyrics to the songs to make passes at females. At least i was…
After enjoying unprecedented success together, Plantashun Boiz which also included a third member faze, had to go their separate ways. Life after Plantashun Boiz came with its ups and downs. They enjoyed individual successes here and there but members of the group are still battling the effects of that split. It is no longer news that Blaqface and Tubaba got into a tug of war about the ownership of African queen, the song that gave Tubaba his international breakthrough.
Blackface said he was not credited for the parts of the song he wrote and that the song was used without his permission. Tubaba on the other hand claim that no part of the song was written by blackface. I recently met up with BlackfaceNaija, and he shared his version of African Queen produced by Nelson Brown, Plantashun Boiz original producer as at the time the group was still around. His version of African queen is also a masterpiece but sounds very different from that of Tubaba although there are still similarities. He also shared Collabo, Badder than them, two hot tracks that he has just recently released.
Kudos to BlackfaceNaija for re-inventing himself even in the face of controversy. Regardless of what happens with Tubaba and the rest of the Legendary Planttashun boys team, BlackfaceNaija still remains a Legend and should be treated as such.
The DtwinZ Cargo services have opened a branch of their logistics company in Ondo State Nigeria to add to their already existing branches in the USA, Lagos, and Ibadan. This is a move to cater to the high volume of goods and items that ship to the southwestern state on a regular basis. The CEO of the company Ibrahim Salami insists that customers from that part of the country (Nigeria) go through a lot of hassle to convey their goods from their Lagos office to Ondo State. “Now, with the new branch opened people can conveniently pick-up their goods at our location in Ondo city.” He also said that the company is looking to open more branches in the USA and the Eastern part of Nigeria.
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If you are really conversant with the music industry in Port Harcourt and in Nigeria in general, you should be very familiar with the name Duncan Daniels. He is a true OG, the one responsible for the hit single Like this ft MI Abaga that was heavily rotated on TV and on the radio all over Nigeria.
Duncan Daniels is a Nigerian-British singer, producer, and songwriter. Born in Massachusetts, raised in England and Nigeria, Duncan found his way back to Boston to study Music Production & Engineering at Berkley College of Music.
The good news is that Duncan Daniels and his team have announced that he has a new album in the works and the album titled “Afroeclectic” is expected to drop in a few weeks. According to Duncan Daniels, the date of release has been set for Valentine’s day February 14th, 2020. The album which has been 10 years in the making promises to be a strong album that details several aspects of Duncan’s experiences. He also chose to feature some pioneers in the music industry in Port Harcourt Nigeria such as Korkormikor, Speseamen A, Mackgee and Lyrikal both formerly of Tuck Tyght – The Hiphop group that set PH on fire in the early 2000s. When asked about this decision to put the OGs on the record he says;
“I am repping PHCity heavy on my upcoming album. Majority of the artists I’ve featured on this album project were at some point based in PORT HARCOURT and have been making music for over 15 years some true pioneers of the industry, they may not be as famous right now as the Wizkids, Davidos or Burna boys but if I had the choice between those big names in Afrobeat and these names on my track-list, I’ll still choose them for this project.”
In the last decade, the music business has seen more startup failures than most money-making endeavors. This is mainly because it involves a lot of money, ideas, and an enormously gifted artist to stand out and get noticed among the fierce competition. I am privileged to have been an artist myself, under the stage name ReDkAd, and I have seen first hand many successful and unsuccessful startups, the biggest of whom is Burnaboy who has recently been nominated for a Grammy award. Sugarboy, Ms. chief, Onosz, and most recently Blaqbonez are other acts I have studied closely. I do not claim to have made any major contributions to their successes but I was close to these acts enough to see what worked and what failed.
After Introducing Onosz to Preye, Onosz got the chance to record a track with Burna.
Social media is a great way to get ahead.
In this article, I am looking to point out ways to become a more successful brand in today’s constantly evolving world of music business. Let us get a bit more specific or in-depth on how to get ahead in the music business as an artist.
1. Nurture the Talent
Every artist who wants to make it in the entertainment industry has to have some level of talent to showcase. An artist has to be convinced and confident about the talent they possess and ready to showcase it when called upon. It is also very important to continuously get better and to keep improving. It is not enough to stay consistent, artists have to re-invent themselves constantly, because the skill-sets required to survive in 2019 may be different from what is required to stay afloat in the near future. When I use the word “Talent”, I mean every aspect of creativity. The uniqueness of the songs, the concept of the photo-shoots, and the direction of the videos are all an indication of how talented an artist is. It even goes as far as how you handle interviews and how you carry yourself. Having a different perspective is what makes a brand compelling and attractive to its fans. Talent is the raw material but uniqueness is the packaging that attracts buyers to the product.
2. Understand Business principles
This is, in my opinion, the most important key to running a successful music business. A lot of artists with enormous prospects and potential, wither and die because of having no business aptitude. As a matter of fact, an artist with minimal talent but great business acumen is more likely to survive than if it was vice versa. Many artists do not understand the basics of Business or the ones that do, find it hard to apply these basic business principles to their music. In my opinion, there are two parallel sides in entertainment as a whole, One is the artistic point of view, and the other is the business or commercial side of things. Having knowledge of only one or the other will limit the chances of success. Most successful brands take both sides into consideration when making decisions or they have partners that do. One side handles business while the other party concentrates on the creative side of things. It is recommended that even with a partner, it is important to understand how both sides work at least to a certain extent. A good example is Roc-A-Fella Records; an American hip hop record label founded by rapper/entrepreneur Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Damon “Dame” Dash, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in 1995. Jay Z and Dame Dash were partners and complemented each other. One thing I have learned is that what is good for creativity may not be necessarily good for business and vice versa. It may be creative to do an entire album about gangsterism and violence, but if the goal is to be in as many shows as possible like weddings and parties you may want to consider making songs with a different focus to meet the business goals for the brand. A creative song about doing drugs or rape may be creatively cool but if you want to become a brand ambassador for many reputable companies such songs may disqualify the artist. Many people say that women who pose nude have no creativity and need nudity to push their brand but from a business standpoint, it may be the reason she is making millions of dollars in revenue. Understanding how an idea impacts creativity or business will position an artist for greatness. It differs for everyone.
Therefore every artist has to educate themselves on a few basic Business and economic principles such as buying and selling, marketing, the scale of preference, Budgets, Production, distribution, credit, debit, profit and loss accounting, business name registration, Patent, copyright, contracts laws, branding etc. because decisions that are made every day without understanding these underlying principles will hurt the process in the long run. Most importantly, research to find out about topics specific to the music industry. An upcoming artist discarded a great deal with a record label because he had reasoned that since he has the talent( raw material) and the label was just coming through with the finances, he should get 70% while the label gets 40%. These great opportunities do not come all the time so being novice about issues like this can keep a promising lad grounded for years. A simple search on Google can provide answers on what a standard offer looks like and what the standard rate for an artist or a manager is.
Acts want to concern themselves with the creative process alone leaving behind critical knowledge required to establish and run a business. More often than not, this causes the death of many promising music brands. I have met artists that have no idea what a good business plan or model is, so they seldomly make good business decisions.
3. Have a Source of Income
Music is expensive, most businesses require a one-time start-up capital to take off, but the reality is that being an artist requires a source of capital – a constant flow of money, because It may take years of financial commitments and time to finally break out an artist. It typically takes millions of dollars to completely establish a major artist. This huge investment makes it impossible for a lot of aspiring musicians to go far in the industry without a sponsor. This is the reason several musicians and entertainers turn to record labels for help. Record labels have the resources to provide financial backing to talented acts. They typically pay the cost required to produce, distribute, manage, and promote the artist’s contents.
Getting signed on to a record label comes with its own problems. one of the major problems especially in Nigeria is that everyone with a sizeable amount of money claims to be a record label, even without the necessary know-how, networking, and connections. Another issue stems from the fact that many artists have no idea what a good contract looks like. The news of being signed on to a label is heralded with so much happiness, expectations, and buzz that it is almost as if the artist has made it in life, but little do they know that whatever penny is spent on the artist as either an advance, cash, or cost of production must be retrieved. Therefore the artist must be committed to working harder than ever rather than showing off. Whatever is written in the contract agreement handed by record label must carefully be reviewed and understood by the artist, his associates, or his lawyer (recommended). There is so much Jargon written in contracts that it is advisable to get a lawyer in order to understand it from a legal perspective. This will help the artist make informed decisions that will get you ahead. Artists have to understand what is expected of them and what the label has to offer. The main issue is that many acts disregard the documents, and then sign on to labels to later realize they do not really like the offer. Just like many of us also enter into agreements with online apps or websites without looking through the document – We simply just hit the I agree button.
Do not put pen to paper unless the entire document is understood.
Most issues arise from the artists expecting to get more than what was spelled out in the contract, or the record label not being able to meet up with their financial responsibilities they accepted in the contract. Both situations cause a lot of friction and both parties more often than not, find themselves in court, or go their separate ways. Today, social media has helped a little in the area of scouting talents, promotions, and distributions that a record label does not have as much power as it once had. Many acts who have the money and network to push their music locally have taken up the burden of being their own label. Platforms such as Youtube, iTunes, SoundCloud provide options for acts to make some money. Instagram, Facebook a huge pool of people to aid promotions and distributions companies like Distrokid, Cdbaby, Tunecore have simplified the process and now provide placements on streaming platforms like Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, Pandora e.tc. In the past decade, we have seen a lot of artists go from the comfort of their bedrooms to performing in great venues across the world. Although social media has thrived in this respect, it is also the goal of an artist to keep expanding and meeting new opportunities.
Yes, record labels still offer the artist much more exposure and opportunities than what the artist can do for himself.
Let me use this opportunity to state that, although over the years, artists have made record labels look like the devil, record Labels are still a fantastic way to get ahead of the competition, so long as every party understands their role. Labels take a lot of risk in investing millions of dollars on artists and artists should see this as a favor, at least until the investor starts getting a return on investment. They have the connections and network to turn a life around overnight.
Tubaba exploded internationally when he got signed on to Kennis music in 2004.
Even when there is a source of income, we do not just embark on a spending spree. An artist and his management will have to figure out the most effective way to spend his capital. Let us use a very basic example. A shoe cobbler plans to buy a hammer, threads, Polish, machines, gloves etc. He also pays for space at the corner and considers costs like electricity to run his machines. He calculates all of his expected expenses and comes up with a start-up budget/cost. The start-up cost and expenses associated with running the business will determine the price he will charge for his services. The same principles apply to music. An artist will have to answer questions like should I make more videos, or focus on making audios for now? Should I spend this amount of money on radio promotions or use that amount and pour it into buying outfits for my events? Are photoshoots the best way to engage my fans and increase brand awareness? These answers will differ for everyone and will guide the ways the budget will be spent. Whatever the choice, the artist should be sure to make decisions that will make the most sense at every point in time.
It is not unusual to come across artists who never want to pay for anything. The excuse is that they make no amount so they do not have to spend money on making or pushing content. Good Photos, studio time, videos, Management, promotions or distribution cost money and you are going nowhere if you cannot spend money to put your product together i.e a demo, a single, an E.P, Album, video, or a documentary. On the other hand, Some acts will spend most of their money on making the content, without realizing that promotions and distribution are equally as important as making the content. For any reasonable type of success to occur, the product must reach the intended consumer, there must be a budget for publicity, promotions, and distributions. It is not ok to depend solely on free services. You may take advantage of free services in the offering but from experience, it is better to pay top industry associates to get the best quality of content and service. It saves time and eliminates waste.
Would it surprise you to learn that many fledgling artists do not have a manager? The advantages of having a management far supersedes the disadvantage (cost). A manager’s role can never be overemphasized. He holds the key to unlocking the artists’ potentials on the field of play, let us just say he is “the Pep Guardiola of the team”. Well for Liverpool fans, he is your “Jurgen Klop”
A manager aims to turn the artist into a money-spinning brand. He is constantly looking out for businesses and deals they can benefit from. He has the artist’s best interest at heart and will do whatever is in his power to drive the brand towards making an impact. Mostly behind the scenes, a manager plans the schedule, negotiates pay, represents the artist in meetings, Plans events, tours or travels with the artist, and most importantly searches for new opportunities where the brand can thrive. Most Managers get paid a monthly salary but some of them agree to be a part of the brand’s growth process and may agree to collect a percentage of the money the artist makes. This implies that, if the artist is not making money, he is also not. Whatever the case may be make sure to have a management contract reviewed by a lawyer and signed to avoid any major disputes in the future. Some of the top managers in the Nigerian industry are Bankuli, Asa Asika, Osagie Omoregbe, Sunday Are, Kamal Ajiboye just to mention a few. It is also a smart idea to start off with a promising manager, one who just got into the business and is willing to take a pay cut for a start, that way the artist can save some money.
Not having a manager is a disaster, just like a soccer team with no manager at the touchline, there will be no form of organization, direction, neither will there be a clear game plan. A good manager knows the most effective areas to spend time and resources to make the most impact. They provide brand-specific strategies and also provide a pair of eyes from the sideline to know what changes to make for progress to be made. They are also effective in getting the artist paid gigs and endorsements to drive revenue.
If there is anything that can put an artist in the front foot, it is collaborating with different emerging or established artists. It is a great way to expose both acts to a different fanbase. The first time most Nigerians ever heard of Wizkid was on a collaboration with MI Abaga who was at the time emerging as one of Nigeria’s finest rappers. Wizkid has undeniable talents, but collaborating on this song with M.I set the tone for what was to come. It increased people’s awareness of his brand and made people eager to find out more about him. It is understood that collaborations with big brands do not come cheap but collaborating with emerging managers, Models, artists, designers, media outlets, event venues, comedians, small businesses can save the artist a bit of money and also get them ahead.
Please leave us a message if you have any tips to add to this or if this article helped you understand the music process even more. If you do have questions or are looking for brand-specific tips, please contact me and we can work with you to get your business going and your streams and revenue up.