The last couple of years have seen the emergence of revolutionary technology, the blockchain driven by bitcoin and altcoins, grow to enter the artistic world via NFTs that now allow artists to live from their passion by digitizing their works. Musicians have not been outdone for more than a year and the acceleration of the adoption of web 3.0 has sped things up during this period, which allowed artists to sell musical works in the form of non-fungible tokens.
Since then, many renowned artists and independent artists have been surfing the wave of NFTs. A huge shock in the Nigerian music industry and the artist-fan relationship is established thanks to cryptocurrencies.
Here’s how NFTs can change the music industry in Nigeria.
Current Nigeria Music Industry Figures
Since the invention of sound recordings in 1877, the music industry has been linked to different technologies. From gramophone to vinyl, then from cassette to CD, and from mp3 to streaming today. It’s possible to listen to Nigerian music unlimitedly and in large quantities on platforms such as Spotify, Audiomack, and Boomplay.
It is also worth saying that since 2015, online streams have restored growth to a music sector that has been in decline since 2001, partly due to piracy.
The figures speak for themselves, in 2014, revenues were 14 billion and 20.2 billion in 2019. According to a study conducted by Statista in Nigeria, the revenue of the music sector has improved from 26 million US dollars in 2014 to 34 million dollars in 2018. Studies claim that this figure is expected to increase to 44 million dollars by 2023.
Inequalities in the Musical Industry
The big streaming platforms tend to pay big artists unlike the small artists whose royalties do not allow them to earn enough.
However, outside of gigs and merchandise, there are few ways artists can create a deep connection with their audience. Interactions are confined to social networks.
The Nigerian music industry is monopolized by 4 giants who control the majority of the market. These are Mavin Records aka (Mavin Dynasty), Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), StarBoy Entertainment Net, and YBNL Nation. These record labels make more profit on streaming and downloads (50-60%) than on physical sales (between 40-50%).
Regarding the artists, the contracts offered to them are not in their favor. In fact, it is rumored that most upcoming artists only received 10-15% of the total revenue made from their songs. On streaming platforms, the gap is less impressive. A musician can be paid between N100,000 and N500,000, per annum. The Copyright Royalty Board has attempted to rectify this discrepancy between platforms and artists which prompted a planned increase with figures estimated to be 15% today, which still represents a drop of water on the total amount.
The revolution that NFTs can bring to the Nigerian music industry
NFTs enable authenticity in the digital world, each coin has its own value. And anyone with an NFT has a title deed. The Nigerian music industry is certainly not fair for all artists but continues to grow with streaming. If so, how can NFTs change the music industry? What do they bring?
The possibilities of tokenization are multiple. Music tracks, artwork, documents, song lyrics, concert tickets, backstage passes, and merchandise bearing the likeness of the band. With these, artists can offer new experiences to their audiences.
There’s no doubt that fans would be willing to use decentralized platforms like Digimarc, Vezt, MediaChain, OPUS, Musicoin, and Mycelia. to support their favorite artists. With this revolution, it is also the return of property. We all have a song that we listened to on repeat at some point and relish the moment. It is the memories, the emotions, and the rarity that come back to the fore.
In 2020, the rate of users and paid subscriptions of Spotify increased by 29%. With Dapps, it is possible to directly support your favorite artists by buying their NFTs via a platform like OPUS, which offers creators the possibility of keeping their royalties. Imagine helping your favorite artist by participating in their fundraising for the production of their next album.
Another point to which crypto responds is the loss of concert revenue due to the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns. Despite this world being in its infancy, lots of artists are beginning to buy into the metaverse wave to perform their concerts. You don’t believe it? Just take a little tour around the likes of Sandbox or Decentraland, you’d be shocked at how much change has left you.
Artists convinced by NFTs
Since 2020, electronic music artists seem to be pioneering the NFT creation movement. Like Steve Aoki, an emblematic figure in the world of non-fungible tokens, has began to take an interest in it during the confinements by acquiring Michael Jordan’s rookie card on the Topshots NFTs. He quickly collaborated with an Italian artist, to create his collection of NFT called “The dream catcher”. Continuing his career in this universe, he recently joined forces with Todd McFarlane to create Oddkey, a marketplace dedicated to music artists.
For Nigerian fans, the name Daniel Benson might not ring a bell but Buju rightly does. This young musician has been a holder since 2020. He naturally turned to this method of financing and decided to tokenize part of his royalties by creating the “HeadsByBuju” token in 2020. With peace taking its place amongst the movers and shakers of the Nigerian musicians like Davido and Burna Boy reconciliation, it’s only a matter of time before something “HOOGE” hits us.
Not to dismiss the novelty of this project in this part of the world, it is however important to note that every big move starts small and in no time, when the Western world begins to adopt more of this style, it’s only a matter of time before the Nigerian space soaks it up.
Recording Academy, the entity behind the most popular of the annual ceremonies rewarding the greatest artists, has teamed up with one of, a marketplace for exchanging musical NFTs, for the creation of an NFT project. The objective is to commemorate the 64, 65, and 66 editions of the GRAMMY Awards. More details will be given at the beginning of 2022. It is said that some of the NFTs will have the design of the famous trophies given to the artists.
Would that mark the end of the traditional music industry in Nigeria?
Although NFTs will gradually take up space in our daily lives, it is still very early to talk about a transition between current streaming and what blockchain can bring. The industry will certainly change and adapt to non-fungible tokens no matter when. The big record labels will have to adapt or take the risk of disappearing because of this immutable technology.
As far as artists go, this may be the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone struggling to earn income from their passion. It’s a chance for the artist but also for the fans who can have a direct relationship with their favorite musicians.