The industry of passion, of true art, of real artists, well you can’t go any further than the music industry. This is a place for performers. People with the heart to tell a story in an emotional sometimes scary or exciting ways. Nigerian music industry was worth $47 million in 2015 and the figure will be double by 2020. Because every tribe, ethnicity and nationality love music perhaps for its entertaining purpose. Every tribe in Nigeria has their brand of music which they patronize, a tune they love and understand. So, how do one become a successful musician in Nigeria?
First things first though, you have to know that on your journey to become a musician you are an ‘artist’ first, before an entrepreneur. Singing songs that can generate money is not a bad thing in the music industry but you have to remain true to your passion. To mix both great music and one that sells is possible by creating something unique and contemporary.
Take Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ for example, the style was original but it was still relevant (i.e. it sold well). Assuming you already have a written piece you have perfected, the next thing is to kick start your career. This could be achieved by following these simple steps below.
How Do I Start?
You must answer this question by following the obligation I am going to highlight below. You must observe every details and follow every steps to its logical conclusion.
1. Practice Feverishly
After writing a beautiful song the next best thing is to practice it all-day-every-day. The more you practice the more you perfect the music, and also the more you perfect your own voice. Practice is all that may make the difference between a music everyone will like and one nobody will like, because as mentioned earlier music is about performance, the better the style and complexity the better people will receive it.
Find a secluded spot to practice where no one will disturb your peace (or rather you disturb theirs), if it helps make a schedule but the point is practice constantly till you perfected your new song because nobody would want to hear a music stammering in-between, forgotten lines, a typical voice and such.
2. Find An Instrumental
Nowadays you can download beats for free from millions of websites, a simple Google search will reveal most of them although most of the sites such as iBeat.com clearly point out its for non-commercial use only, that is if you want to use it for your music you have to buy from the artists that made the instrumentals or beats. If you are not willing to pay then avoid downloading from such sites and instead go for ‘royalty-free’ sites, where you will be able to use the beats you downloaded for both commercial and non-commercial use. But the best of the best is www.worldhiphopbeats.com this site sells all kinds of beats for all kinds of music.
Your second option is to make the beats yourself, there are a number of application software that you can download to create your own beats, the apps are usually equipped with the ability to create track beats from hundreds of instruments. But depending on your music style, hiring a band or playing an instrument yourself to record live in the studio isn’t a bad idea either.
3. Find A Recording Studio
To record your song it is best to use professional recording tools to get a high quality file format. Which is ultimately driving down to the studio, find a recording studio that knows what they are doing to record your music. How it’s done is you buy ‘sessions’, which is the time allocated to you, just like in a cyber café. You give them your instrumentals to play for you while you sing the song along with it. Once you are all done don’t forget to collect the CD and the digital copy of the recording, and if it is in a weird format like AAC or OGG tell them to convert it to recognisable formats like the MP3.
Some musicians especially beginners like to collect only the voice recording from the studio and mix with the beats themselves using an application software. It’s pretty easy one could learn in a couple of days.
4. Make A Video
No matter your budget make a video because that is what most people will be streaming online. Each time you make a song make sure it has a video of some sorts, you could get videographers from photography studios then hire an experienced video editor to edit the video for you. Please note that you shouldn’t rely on the camera man to edit the video, editing and taking shots are two entirely different things.
5. Promote Yourself And Your Music
Build a website, open and connect to every possible social media network on the planet. Share your music files and videos to fans on your social media accounts and the website. Try not to overlook Youtube, you will b found real fast there, it is the second largest search engine.
You could also try sending free copies of your CD to local radio stations to play your song. The point is tell the world in every way you can that you are a musician and you have something they will love, shout it out real good.
How Do I Get Paid?
1. Find Gigs around Your Locality
Present yourself to club managers, sing in wedding events, find any gig that is worth your time and get paid for it, some of these gigs really pay well. If they like what they hear they will keep calling you to come back. Doing gigs will give you the advantage of putting yourself out there.
2. Hire a Music Producer
A music producer is like a manager that takes care of promoting a musician, finding suitable record labels for them, essentially guiding them through the whole music process. This might mean taking a plunge into your pocket but it is worth it, it is like hiring a personal coach.
You can easily find them, their names are usually written in the credits of music videos, you will see Music produced by so and so.
3. Sell Tickets for Live Shows
When you are popular enough, and you think your fan base is big enough then renting a concert hall or event hall for the night might be the next big thing. Perform live for your fans, it will increase your rep and gain you new ones. This type of event requires you print the tickets and sell them, practically the money you get from selling the tickets should be able to cover the rent and other expenses of the show and earn you some profit. You might need help with this from others engaged in the business for long, your producer should be able to help with this.
4. Sign Up with a Record Label
This is the hardest of them all, traditionally the record labels come to you but it wouldn’t hurt to try to contact them and show off some of your work. If you are lucky they will let you in, or else you have to keep impressing the world till someone notices it. Record labels let you sign contracts with them, where you come to terms on commissions and payments.
5. Other Means
There are some really good ideas like music streaming such as on iTunes that could even earn you some cash and selling of CD or vinyl but sadly those methods don’t work for Nigerian musicians.
Cost Of Becoming A Musician
Listed below are cost of things that might aid you on your way in becoming a professional musician relevant to this article. The total sum is just skeptical at best because it is for you to decide how many shows you want to perform, how any CD’s you wish to send out, how many sessions you wish to record and so on.
|Studio Session||One hour.||5,000|
|CD plates||One pack.||3,000|
|Hiring Music Producer||Per song, though depends on expertise.||800,000|
|Application Software||Mixpad Software||FREE|
|Tickets||Price of printing 1000 copies.||6,000|
|Hall rent||Abuja and Lagos prices, including available sound systems.||850,000|
The total cost might seem excessive but remember, you are earning as you progress each day.
What Happens Next?
It might take a couple of years before someone pull this off, but don’t be discouraged, all it takes is a little luck (and talent) to become the next P-Square, Beyonce, Wizkid or Bob Marley without the weed we hope.