Dear Upcoming Musicians, Learn To Grow Not Blow
Not every artiste will blow and the sooner Nigerian musicians understand that the better for them.
Sony Music, West Africa boss, Micheal Ugwu, while speaking to Bounce News explained how a musician can build a career, instead of waiting to blow.
Here are three pieces of advice he shared:
1. Build Your Fan Base
Wizkid and Davido did not just blow up like that, they started small.
Wizkid started out as Lil Prinz somewhere in Ojuelegba more than a decade ago, while Davido was following his passion instead of attending University in the United States.
The one thing that they had going for them is that they produced good music and kept building their fan base, starting from their communities.
“The key thing is that you have to create fantastic music for your fans then focus on that fan base, and build from the ground up.
"After building the fan base from the ground up through social media, and distributing your music most times for free on line, you practice your live performance and perfect it.
"Then you get merchandise like T-shirts, and snapbacks to sell to your core fans, who buy your music.
"For example if you have 500 people or 1000 people. If you have a mailing list of these number of people, if you bring out a t-shirt to sell for like 3,000 Naira to your core fans who are between 500 and 1000, you have something there, do the math", he added.
2. Start Small
The thing about building a music career is about starting small.
You can start by distributing your music online, sharing it to your fan base on social media, and find places to perform to live audience.
"In building your brand you can go to a place like Hard Rock Café, and say look guys I have a fan base of like 500 or 1000 people, this is the name of my fan group, I want to rent this place.
"You then sell 1000 tickets at 5000 Naira, again that is money. I think what happens in this game is that they wait so much for the blowing factor, instead of building careers.
"You can also tour, we have a big population in Nigeria. No one can tell me as a musician you cannot find, 500 or 1000 loyal fans in Nigeria with over 180 million people” Ugwu said.
In distributing your music on paying platforms, selling merchandise and collecting performance fees, a musician can make at least 100,000 Naira which is equivalent to some salaries.
"Its not about blowing and doing shows of billions of Naira, you start from small amounts, and not wait for the 15 million, 30 million 50 million Naira deals".
3. Record Labels And Brands Look For Hard Workers
The problem is a lot of people now wait until they get that special phone call, but it is never going to come, because record label owners or investors will always look for musicians who are making noise.
"You need to be producing the music and directing the music at your fans. You do not need the telco big ambassadorial deals for now.
"When you have built your music and your fan base to an extent, brands and record labels will start to notice.
"There are a million people who can and sing and rap and have demos, except I see you out there, working and creating abuzz, I will not look at you.
"50% of a record labels budget is marketing, so you have to be out there marketing yourself. It will be easier for a record label to spend money marketing because the artiste has already created the right environment to eventually blow,” Micheal Ugwu said.
So dear musician, start building.