In a news article accompanied by his new release since last year, Buju sneakily announced he’s now under his self-founded company, To Your Ears Entertainment. This as a result confirmed rumors of internal wrangling inside the Spaceship household.
Troubles began last year. With Burna Boy on a loose, engrossed on promoting his album and re-enacting even more greater feats that accompanied African Giant likewise, it meant all resources and intellectual manpower were channeled towards the success of Twice As Tall.
Of course the results flowed—topping Billboard World Albums charts and becoming the highest charting Nigerian album last year.
As a result, Buju’s bubbling enthusiasm suffered a decline. This meant he had to take a decision this year where he wouldn’t play back up or take the back seat: by leaving Spaceship Collective.
And the aftermath of that gloomy period which affected the latter part of his 2020 has seen a turnaround of fortunes for Buju. He’s gained two Top 100 number 1 spots—his feature on Bling and his glossy hook on Ladipoe’s Feelings has brought him back to mainstream prominence. To maintain that hot streak, Buju would follow that up with his first single of the year, Outside which currently sits at number 3. A change in fortunes for the once troubled singer.
That pulls us back to the issue of superstar acts snapping up rising artists. With these acts still reining in the glamour and eyes actively set on conquering more territories, there’s perhaps little time set to groom, cater or focus on upcoming artists under their labels. And since most of these labels aren’t structured, just henchmen handling areas of management, distribution and operations, the protege is sometimes left to his fate and in most bizarre situations like Buju’s, the artist’s ideas or projects are delayed to allow for the full expression of the lead artist.
Terri’s situation is however different. Signed under Starboy and managed by Osagie’s The Zone Agency, the artist has faced criticism in the past for his laxity and strange unseriousness. Of course, Wizkid still oversees the overall operations, but increasing in metrics of fans, listeners and streams and maintaining a momentum is solely down to the habits of the artist. The singer owes most of his streams to the actions of Wizkid FC, Wizkid’s core fanbase who help in promoting and making the public aware of his new releases. Yet, in times where consistent social media interaction and well worked content strategy is playing a major role in music enthusiasts discovering new music, the singer has failed in this aspect and has been often being accused of ghosting from social media for sometime only to return a few weeks before a new release.
Some have described this as the “Wizkid’s approach” with the hit maker now in his thirties taking a break from social media to focus on recording new music. But many have reminded Terri, before Wizkid became the serial hit maker he is now, he was actively involved in interfacing with his fans, having fun on social media and contributing to trending matters on apps.
Is it the assurance of being under Wizkid’s wings?
Maybe. With the massive pull power of Wizkid FC to influence anything to work in their favour, it might be possible Terri feels he doesn’t have to do much in that aspect.
And again, artists’ motivations differ. Terri is still being groomed, learning the ropes, but feeling more comfortable in an expanding industry where Old OGs are losing attention to new acts and Nigerian music listeners are the most sensitive: you snooze or become static, they sense that and move to the latest artist in town. They stick with that new one and advance to another new one if he also fails to deliver to their expectations.
For Terri to enter into a mode where he displays energy and becomes obsessed about wanting it and getting it, he somehow needs to develop a fake mindset he doesn’t have the support of Wizkid FC and work on his social media strategy. For people to notice your weakness, it says so much about how largely evident it’s become.
Another alternative way is: leaving Starboy like Buju did. But doing this without having a large army of his “own” fans would seem like an unhelpful step to take right now.
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here