The music industry is saturated with a particular sound, but that saturation presents a new opportunity for new acts to emerge with something different.
It’s 2017 and the Nigerian music industry is grinding into motion and sparking to life.
Davido’s ‘If’ has become the first hit song of the year and should deserve an award for being the first artist to crack the year open with his music. Other hits which have entertained us this year – Runtown’s ‘Mad over you’, and Wizkid’s ‘Daddy Yo’ – were released in 2016.
All the other activities that make up this jungle called Nigeria, are on course. The award shows are being planned, the concerts are coming in early, and artists are touring and recording. The myriad music conferences are springing up.
But there’s just something missing. Everyone is bored. You could see it in the faces of the stars and their producers, hear it when you get insider conversations, and the comment sections where fans congregate and listen to the music. People are bored from the music coming in, and it’s showing in the manner they accept and interact with the music.
Only very few songs are crossing in to hit status, with majority of them coming from the established acts. People already sort of know what to expect from their favorite artists, and react lukewarmly to it when it shows up.
The upcoming acts who have the financial backing to create music and market it at the mainstream level, are busy working hard to ape what dominates radio. That plan fails to work every time because people are saturated with the type of music they are making. They accept it from the established artists due to the emotional attachment the stars have gained over time.
For the unknown artists, they would rather not get another younger version of Wizkid doing exactly what Wizkid is up to. They want a new sauce. They want something special.
Check out the artists who have broken through in the past 2 years, they have come with something different. Kiss Daniel broke through by slowing down the predominant tempo of the music, and combining the styles of 9ice and 2face.
Tekno provided a new melody, and nonsensical lyrics that were both pleasurable and polarizing. Mr Eazi ruled 2016 as the only artist who broke through by combining his Nigerian and Ghana roots to redefine what we hear now.
All of the other artists who came at this point and flew close to the sun with one hit single, have struggled to gain acceptance for the rest, because they are like every other artist. You can’t be a younger version of Reekado Banks, and expect the fans to respect your art and gravitate towards it. You have to be different now.
We are at a stage where the best acts are on cruise control because they oversaturated the market. Now they are forced to leave their comfort zones for new inspiration. Davido took a gamble with ‘If’, and it’s working. Runtown’s ‘Mad over you’ came from fusing the Ghanaian ‘Alkayida’ bounce, with R&B strings. Wizkid’s ‘Daddy Yo’ is Reggaeton redefined.
Every other song are notches below these trio.
There’s a lesson for upcoming artists here. The saturation presents a new opportunity for new acts to emerge with something different.
Seize the moment.