How Nigerian Musicians Penetrated The International Market
17 September 2021
Photo credit: Tiwa Savage/Instagram
By Khisa CJ
Nigerian music has over time transcended from catering for just Nigerians to an African and global audience. The likes of Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, and Olamide to mention just a few are well known internationally.
What has been their strategy? How are they able to command a huge fan base far away from home, with their music also enjoying radio and TV airplay? Below are some of the things Nigerian musicians are doing to market their music in the global scene.
It has always been a norm for the biggest musicians in Nigeria to plan and go for periodical music tours in African countries, Europe and other continents.
Often times when a singer like Burna Boy, Davido or Wizkid drops an album, they follow it up with a music tour. This is a strategy that has paid off. It caters for their fans in those countries and earns them more fans and audiences in return.
Today, Wizkid is able to sell out an O2 venue in a matter of minutes thanks to his consistency in music tours and concerts in the United Kingdom.
Aside from building one’s profile, a collaboration exposes an artiste to a bigger audience and this is a strategy that has also worked well for Nigerian artistes. Many of them have always featured some popular international musicians in their projects over the years, a move that has seen them grow their fan base.
Giving an example of the latest Wizkid album, he featured a variety of international musicians from H.E.R, Darmian Marley as well as Justin Bieber in Essence. Burna Boy has also utilized this strategy same to Davido who has recently featured Nick Minaj, Chris Brown as well as Lil Baby.
The Unique Music Identity
Ask around about Afrobeats and what comes to someone’s mind is Nigerian music. This is a unique music genre that Nigerian musicians have mastered and remained loyal to popularizing. When artistes and producers make records they always somehow incorporate some elements of Afrobeats to the record.
Africa is content-rich in the diversity of cultures and the ability for Nigerian artists to incorporate their indigenous culture and traditions including some bits of pidgin and Yoruba lyrics and sounds alongside the widely accepted English language in their songs has also helped and made it easy for them to penetrate the international market.
Just for the artists sticking with the Afrobeats, it’s now a sound that even international artists look at incorporating in their songs, not to mention a number of Afrobeats Charts in multiple popular United Kingdom Radio stations.
Distribution deals with international labels
Many of the Nigerian musicians whose music is accepted internationally have signed distribution deals with international record labels. Having a distribution deal with a renowned label makes it easy for songs to reach out to a wider market. With quality music and good distribution, it has been easy for Naija music to get recognition and acceptance on the international stage.