The State of Contemporary Nigerian Music in a Digital Economy


By Assa The Pretty

In recent times, the Contemporary Nigerian Music has caught the interest of many people outside the country and their markets. Consequently, to this welcomed interest and development on a global stage, the Nigerian Music sector has been heavily enjoying the right utilization of the tools found in the Digital market/economy to create a profitable business.

Digital Economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies, but is often perceived as conducting business through markets based on the internet and world wide web. The Digital Economy is backed by the spread of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across all business sectors to enhance its productivity.
The term Digital Economy was first mentioned in Japan by a Japanese professor and research economist in the midst of Japan’s recession of the 1990s. In the West, the term came into use during the early 1990s. For example, many academic papers were published by New York University’s center for Digital Economy research. The term was more widely popularized by Don Tapscott’ s 1995 book “The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence”. This book explains how the internet would later change the way the world did business.

In the last 15 years, we have seen the tremendous growth of Digital platforms and their influence on our lives. Now consumers are influenced by the things they see on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and such popular websites and streaming platforms (YouTube, Spotify, looksrare, audiomack, Boomplay, Amazon etc).

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation and added urgency for experts from all works of life to respond. Although according to an article posted on titled The Digital Economy For African Initiative, Africa should think big on digital development. At the current incremental pace of economic and social advancement, too many of Africa ‘s expanding youth population will be denied the opportunity to live up to their potential. Digital technologies offer a chance to disrupt this trajectory, unlocking new pathways for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services which would have been unimaginable only a decade ago. Yet, access to the internet remains out of reach for most people in the continent, with only 22% reporting having access in 2017. Too few citizens have digital IDs or transaction accounts, locking them out of access to critical services and e-commerce. Few governments are investing strategically and systemically in developing digital infrastructure, services, skills, and entrepreneurship. To become tomorrow’s innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, Africa’s youth need to be empowered with the digital skills and access to technology and markets that are essential to thrive in an increasingly digitized global economy.

However, Smart Nigerian Music companies have long been gotten on the wings of digital to drive up their market share and music sales by remodeling traditional marketing efforts. Results have shown that it is cheap, can be driven organically and is most importantly measurable.

Back in its early days, the Contemporary Nigerian Music industry’s focus in terms of revenue was limited to physical music sales, fees from appearances, and shows, and for the more popular artists, endorsement fees from brands and companies who felt really artists could transfer their brand identities to products and services. Those are long gone, as increased penetration of the internet has brought about new revenue models, thereby necessitating that artists look for more technological means to market their music and brands.

A systematic approach to music marketing is relatively new in these parts and the norm has been music creators putting the basic principles of retail marketing to bear on their offerings: they introduce a product (song/album) , advertise(promote). It is until there is consistent need for the product, watch revenues shoot through the roof; and repeat. Barely was there a scientific effort to gather data on consumer trends and create content and marketing campaigns based on this data. The market was a free for all and the loudest brands thrive and excelled.

So far, Nigeria’s music industry has advanced without a clearly established structure, but this has not deterred foreign interest. In the past few years, two of the world’s biggest music groups, Sony Music and Universal Music, have set up offices in Nigeria. Today, one can rightly brag that Nigerian Music is a global sensation. We had the biggest song in the summer of 2021 thanks to Wizkid’s and Tems’s beautiful performance on “Essence”. Adding to the industry’s bragging rights, Fireboy DML’s “Peru” and Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti” have been mesmerizing the foreign listeners inducing more of them to start listening to other musical projects from Nigeria.

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