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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Nigerian Artistes And Revenues From Digital Platforms

There is a new trend around us today. Why are Nigerian musiciansreleasing their albums on iTunes and then putting them out for free streaming on YouTube and the likes? The answer is simple – there is almost no returns from physical sales of albums locally anymore and this put side by side with the growing returns in digital platforms leads us to the point where artistes have to look towards alternative routes. This is not just a Nigerian thing, we must add. In recent times, revenues from streaming have become almost astronomical around the world. Streaming accounted for $2.4 billion of earnings in the US for 2015 according to a Time Magazine article by Victor Luckerson.Similarly, in a research by the Recording Industry Association of America, music listeners and fans have shown stronger likeness and willingness to pay for music subscriptions through which they can listen to songs across various streaming platforms.

In both cases, it is said that revenues from streaming platforms have edged out that from digital downloads for 2015.Now, this is a structured entertainment industry we are talking about here. Streaming takes first place with $2.4 billion which is a total of 34.4 per cent of the industry’s earnings, then digital downloads follow with 34 per cent of the market returns, then physical versions of the albums. At the end of the year, they all amounted to $7 billion in sum. However; despite this, there are limitations as critics also say streaming platforms have allowed fans listened to music for free.

Whatever the case, we can’t dispute that the world is going completely digital and we must adjust in conformity with this.Hannah Ellis-Petersen of The Guardian wrote in April 2016 of theastounding influence of online platforms which comprises of streaming revenues, downloads and ad revenues from YouTube and related platforms.It has become a statement of fact that income from physical versions as CDs and vinyl records put together cannot match digital revenues.But as the entertainment monetization culture in Nigeria is slow to pick, perhaps fledgling at best, it is safe to say the next few years will see income surge in the aspects of online streams, subscriptions and digital downloads with more of these consumers getting music only through legitimate platforms. It is impressive seeing Nigerian entertainers embrace this route which has clearly shown prospects of being what the future will be largely influenced by.
A-lists such as Dr SID, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal and most recently Reekado Banks, Ice Prince, Simi and Falz and then Phyno have released their albums and EPs for free on YouTube. Any real reasons? Yes, of course. The thing about trends like this is the earlier you get hold of them, the better for you and your team really. So as it is, we already know what these Nigerian artistes are on about, we already have an idea of what they are trying to achieve and we can see that they are bent on staying in the vanguard of monetizing their contents. They are only testing the waters by putting out free materials across these platforms for the time being,which is fine to be honest. Monetization is still a major issue here because we steady battle piracy troubles, inadequate government supports, improper music structures and way too many loop holes that impede the processes of growth in the industry. Hopefully we resolve all of this and scale up the outputs from a sectorthat is very much touted to become one of the biggest, most relevant parts of our economy and sociocultural phase as a people.


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