Over the last two years, the Nigerian music industry has witnessed a significant shift in content distribution and promotion.
Artistes, record labels, and music promoters are flooding the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform, TikTok to promote songs to reach global audience.
The app has continued to inspire creativity that is reshaping the musical landscape as well as exposing users to new sounds and talents across the continent.
The recent success story of a Nigerian fast-rising singer, Chukwuka ‘CKay’ Ekweani, who made headlines around the world with his viral song, ‘Love Nwantiti’ on TikTok, has convinced many professional entertainers and creators that the app is more than a gag but a promotional tool to express their creativity.
Even though CKay’s Love Nwantiti was originally released in 2019, the song became a global trend last year and has now hit over 15 billion streams on TikTok, becoming Africa’s most successful pop song ever.
From Joeboy to Pheelz, Rema, Asake, Kizz Daniel, Fireboy DML, Simi, FAVE, Omah Lay, AV, Tem, Black Sheriff, Ruger, Yemi Alade, Ayra Starr, BNXN, Falz, BrodaShaggi, and Iyabo Ojo – more celebrities are embracing the platform to engage their fans.
“I remember 25 years ago, our traditional music has always struggled to reach a global audience, but with social media, the music has begun to break the jinx,” Showbiz impresario, Obi Asika told The Nation, on the TikTok’s impact on the music industry.
Obi, who is the founder/CEO of a defunct record label, Storm 360, predicted that in the next five years Afrobeats will be bigger.
“With these apps, in the next 4 to 5 years, Afrobeats will continue to grow beyond our imaginations. What we are really looking for now – is how we can grow domestically which is to grow live touring, sold-out shows and ticketing in better venues, better securities because the biggest opportunity for Nigeria music is still in Nigeria.”
While some songs spark off on TikTok without seeking the approval of the copyright owner as was the case with Pop singer, 1da Banton’s song entitled, ‘No Wahala’, some upcoming artistes are patronising TikTok influencers to promote their songs.
“So, ‘No Wahala’ doing so well on TikTok wasn’t me; it was people… From now on, it would be a great idea to follow up on TikTok because of the influence it has on music today,” Singer 1da Banton commented on his song which was posted on the app without his consent.
Identifying content creation and distribution as the most important reasons for musicians to remain relevant, TikTok enables music-lovers to make a short video and lip-sync to any of their faviourite songs, be it old or trending songs.
Speaking on the revolution, foremost Nigerian music executive, Kenny Ogungbe reminisced on the local channel of distributing music in Nigeria.
“Nigerian music started before the internet. Our marketplace used to be Alaba International Market but when the internet came, it revolutionalised everything,” he said.
Continuing Ogungbe said, “Today, with the use of social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, you can release your record and the entire world will get to listen to it.”
“I want to say thank you to Nigerians because there was a time when we used to listen to only foreign music. You go to a club, it would be foreign music but the reverse is the case now, foreign countries are the ones playing Nigerian music now.”
According to Ogungbe, the Nigerian music industry is going to be a phenomenon in a few years to come.
“We are just scratching the source, we’ve not done. If you take a look at our population, we are about 200 million people in Nigeria, put it against Jamaica which has a population of fewer than 6 million people what kind of music did they play, they play reggae. What kind of music do we play, we play Afrobeat just a genre. If you now juxtapose how popular reggae music is popular globally and now take a look at how popular Afrobeats is going to be. This is to show that we have done a great job.”