The Role of New Media in Nigeria’s music industry.

Physical distribution of music is gradually going extinct as the industry is gradually undergoing a paradigm shift in music distribution and promotion from analogue to digital. The digital world is working tirelessly to provide solutions to how music can be consumed; this has provided the artiste with different streams of income and also disrupted the traditional way of music consumption.

Photo by Fausto García on Unsplash

These days, regardless of the genre of music, promotion through new media is a key component in the growth of the Nigerian artist.

Record labels and independent artists invest a lot of money and time building relationships with new media entities and social media influencers since it has become evident that these entities and influencers are able to break out new artists. A special office is created by record labels to make sure their artiste gets the necessary social presence on both streaming platforms and social media.

It’s easy these days for an artiste to “Blow” without the big funds from labels as social media has made it easy for artiste to reach their targeted audience in no time no matter their location or country. We have seen this in artiste like Mr Eazi, Naira Marley, Joeboy etc. Although content owners continue to utilise both the traditional and new media in promoting their content, the advancement of technology and cost-effective data offered to consumers suggests that new media has an edge over traditional media.

With new media, content owners are able to compartmentalise target markets and more accurately measure their market reach. This means it might be more effective for new artists to promote their music through social media with measurable followers of a particular demographic than to feature on a daily newspaper with a wide audience.

Furthermore, Nigeria has unlimited access to different social media platforms and the continuous drop in the price of internet data has given artiste different options to plug their music to different audiences. The online platforms offer flexible services to artists of all levels (new artists to superstars), unlike traditional media with fixed rates. Some of the new media platforms have changed their business models from promoting music content to making the music available on their platforms for streaming or downloading.

This, however, has not changed the role of music promoters as we have seen a rise in new media music promoters from streaming platforms to social media influencing. The radio has been forced to conform with the digital space as they now go on digital stores to discover artiste without waiting for a promoter or artiste to hand them one. Even the popular Alaba market which was the hub of piracy is gradually losing its grip as buying of CDs is no more a thing. Unfortunately, the Nigerian Copyright law, passed in 2004, did not foresee the potential of technology in the music business: It was drafted to govern only physical reproduction and distribution.

Nigeria is yet to develop a plan acceptable law to content owners and media platforms this has affected the way payment is being done on digital streaming platforms as whatever the digital stores offer is what the artiste gets. Laws that govern digital publishing and mechanical rights of music is only done with whatever the entertainment lawyer drafts out.

Nevertheless, the impact of traditional media cannot be trivialised. It would be surprising to have a successful record without a decent number of radio plays. A good number of the population, particularly those in the rural areas still depend heavily on traditional media for the latest music.