The Nigeria music industry is now by large one of the biggest industries in the Nigeria media world; moving from a confine-figured industry to a million-dollar industry. YES! a million-dollar industry if you evaluate the costs of audio and video productions being churned out now on a frequent basis. We have gone from the primitive era where artistes are either seen as miscreants or individuals without a purpose in life. Now majority of music investors are lawyers, bankers and a large margin, businessmen which goes a long way in portraying the goldmine existing in the music industry.
Over the years, artistes have become millionaires by virtue of their crafts and talents usually earning incomes from shows and endorsements. Sales of albums or merchandise don’t matter much to them, quite sadly because of the piracy level operating in Nigeria. While I am not an expert in album marketing or piracy-control itself, I feel artistes’ attitude aren’t good enough which allows the level of piracy growing each and every day and can also spill over to their merchandise.
A handful of these artistes who have delved into merchandising have been forced to the exit point and this furthermore allows for piracy to triumph yet again. So far, the most successful merchandise in the Nigeria music industry will have to be Terry Tha Rapman’s “Boys Are Not Smiling” tees [although now extinct] and DJ Jimmy Jatt’s snap back caps which am not sure is still commercial. The operating secret here isn’t far-fetched – this merchandise has been operating in the last eight years and it is being produced by Marco Martini. I remember he exhibited his products at various campus tradefairs that was being organized at that moment.
Between 2012 and mid-2014, there weren’t any major artiste merchandise until Phyno’s Alobam tees became a sort of trend for fashion lovers. Sadly again, the success of that venture didn’t even last 6 months before we found counterfeit littered all around like a sachet of pure water. Kudos to Phyno for the packaging he gave the tees but believe me, he could have done more and the success rate will have turned out massively. I read an interview done with the manufacturers of the Alobam tees and their lamentations still evolved around piracy. I remembered I was going to buy for a friend but she rejected it mainly for the singular reason that it was “casted”. Iceprince also came through with his super cool cat sunglasses but am not aware of any purchaser even with the whole hype that the sunglasses will be delivered personally by Iceprince himself. Dammy Krane also joined the list of artistes merchandising their materials but quite sadly, it started only lasted for a while – period of promotion for the single itself, Amin.
While I quite agree that with piracy still on the high side, it would be difficult to operate merchandise here in Nigeria, I also agree that it is highly possible if artistes show some level of interest. An example from actress Genevieve Nnaji’s St. Genevieve dress, Mavin’s A&R Bizzle Ozikoya snap backs or even Temitayo’s 24 apparel shows merchandise can thrive successfully here in Nigeria without letting piracy have a field day at all.
A careful observation into the aforementioned examples shows that most of these outfits/wear/snapbacks all have one center of purchase – online market. Another great observation is the production of variety of designs from which fans/customers can choose from; the competition gap between authentic artistes merchandise and Ibo buys would be greatly reduced.
Nigeria artistes have turn out to be globally recognized artistes which has enable a few of them organized successful tours outside the shores of Nigeria, aside the music, fans would love to have any material related to their favourite artistes. Using tours as a means of marketing/distributing such merchandise would gather a reasonable amount of revenue.
With the year already rolling, I expect brand merchandising be included in some these artistes plans for the year.
Written by Anslem Jon