The Naija Artiste

I was at a clients’ office today, and I stumbled on an interview on one of the most entertaining artiste in Nigeria. I’m talking about P-Square. I read about their loss of privacy and their musical achievements since attaining stardom. It got me thinking about all the various financial challenges they must have faced on their journey towards musical success. For the performing artiste in Nigeria, how do they get by especially in an environment that does not encourage and reward artistic endeavors? Piracy within our country is a financial drain considering the brain work involved in writing, arranging, composing, sourcing for funds to record your demo cd at the studio, dropping your demo at the various radio stations and praying earnestly that once your work garners substantial airplay, invitations for live performances will start pouring in and a recording studio hopefully, will sign you on. Did I also talk about the unending war between artistes and the recording studios that sign them on? That’s another topic for someday.


Personally, I’ve never given a deep thought on how the struggling Nigerian artiste out there survives financially. In my ignorance, I thought sales proceeds from the musical works; royalties and live performances were enough till I heard about the ugly tales within the Nigerian music industry. Most of these issues range from poor management to financial rip offs as a result of the inability to read in between the lines when signing a contract and several other issues, which I will not be discussing today. For some few minutes, I’m putting on the shoes of a struggling artiste out there, trying to determine my financial priorities on the road towards stardom. I imagine myself living on a shoestring budget that will take care of my basic necessities such as food, transport and personal hygiene. At this point in time, I’ll be fooling myself by considering renting an apartment. Definitely, I’ll be squatting at a friend’s place or living in a one room apartment where there’s a loss in privacy. Transportation will take the bulk of my monthly budget since I’ll be going to the studios daily to work on my hit single and scout for the average shows to showcase my musical ability.


So if you’re a struggling artiste out there, I empathize with you and encourage you to do the following on your musical journey:

  • Try as much as possible to save very kobo and naira you can when and if the opportunities arise. This will serve as your emergency fund.
  • If you’re lucky enough and get paid handsomely for a live performance, don’t even think about spending it on something frivolous. Stash it aside for short and medium term investment purposes.
  • Also think of offering your services to outlets that offer a wide selection live band performances for their audience at an agreed sum.

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