Mohbad: The Call For Regulation In Nigeria’s Music Industry

Mohbad: The Call For Regulation In Nigeria's Music Industry
Late Mohbad

In the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of Abuja, Nigeria pulses with a musical heartbeat that’s both infectious and evocative. This West African nation, bathed in history and culture, has given birth to a musical genre that reverberates across continents, winning accolades and drawing global attention. Artistes draped in traditional attires, fusing Afro-beats with contemporary rhythms, have painted a global canvas with their undeniable talent, earning both respect and admiration on international platforms.

However, beyond this glittering facade of awards, international tours, and chart-topping hits, lies a realm rife with complexities. The inner workings of the Nigerian music industry, much like the intricate rhythms of its songs, weave a tale of dreams, aspirations, challenges, and often, unspoken turbulence. It’s in this intricate maze that young talents, like Mohbad, find themselves trying to carve a niche, whilst navigating the challenges posed by an industry in dire need of reform.

The narrative of Mohbad is not just another story of a rising star meeting obstacles. It’s emblematic of systemic issues that plague the industry — a poignant reminder that while the music might be evolving, the ecosystem, often lacking in structured oversight, leaves its artistes vulnerable. Mohbad’s experiences highlight the pressing need for a recalibration, not just in terms of industry standards but in ensuring a protective shield for artistes against undue influences, ensuring their passion isn’t snuffed out by the very platform meant to elevate them.

In the grand tapestry of Nigeria’s illustrious musical journey, every thread, every artiste, holds significance. The clarion call for tighter regulation is not an administrative formality; it’s the industry’s moral imperative to protect its own. As Nigeria continues to serenade the world, it’s crucial that the melodies are born from artistes who are nurtured, protected, and celebrated in an industry that truly values them.

The Menace in the Limelight

The contemporary music landscape is teeming with young talents, eager to share their narratives, hoping to resonate with audiences both locally and globally. Yet, the pathway to success shouldn’t be laden with obstacles stemming from the antics of those who’ve already found their footing. The industry, vibrant and dynamic as it is, should ideally function as a sanctuary for artistes, a place where creativity flourishes unbridled, where talents like Mohbad are nurtured and not stifled.

It’s a concerning paradox: on one hand, the Nigerian music industry celebrates its global recognitions, while on the other, it’s becoming a breeding ground for disruptive influences. The ‘gangsterism’ narrative, though it might appeal to certain quarters for its audacity, poses a significant threat. It’s not merely about the image it projects, but its capacity to derail the trajectories of emerging talents. In an environment where such behaviour becomes the norm, artists may feel compelled to conform, fearing ostracism or backlash. This not only stifles individuality but can also lead to a homogenised music scene, devoid of the diverse voices that make it so compelling.

For talents like Mohbad, the pressure is twofold. There’s the inherent challenge of establishing oneself in a competitive arena, and then there’s the added burden of navigating the murky waters tainted by figures championing disruptive ethos. It’s essential for any industry, especially one as influential as music, to introspect and ensure it’s not inadvertently creating an atmosphere of intimidation.

Read Also: Seeking Justice For Mohbad: The Quest To Vindicate Imole

The industry owes it to its artistes, and its global audience, to champion a culture of respect, integrity, and genuine creativity. While freedom of expression is paramount, it’s equally vital to ensure that this freedom doesn’t morph into a tool of oppression for others. The vibrant beats, the soul-stirring lyrics, and the passion of Nigerian music deserve an environment that’s conducive to unadulterated artistry, not one overshadowed by the menace of ‘gangsterism’.

The Call for Regulation: A Symphony of Fairness

Nigeria’s music scene has burgeoned to be a crown jewel in the realm of global entertainment. As per the statistics by PwC, in 2023, the Nigerian music industry will flaunt a staggering valuation of $19 billion, while already generating revenues over $2 billion. This meteoric rise designates it as one of the fastest-growing creative sectors globally. Yet, behind this crescendo of success lies a discordant note – the glaring disparity between its vast wealth and the fair distribution of this prosperity among its artists.

One need not delve deep to discern the fractures in the industry. A landscape, where the revenue is prolific, but the artiste’s pockets often remain underfilled, indicates systemic issues. The absence of a robust regulatory framework emerges as the primary culprit, often allowing the wealth generated to be siphoned off before reaching its rightful recipients – the artistes.

At the heart of this issue lie contracts. A binding testament between an artiste and various stakeholders, these contracts often remain shrouded in complexity. For the industry to harmonise its tunes, it’s imperative for these contracts to be lucid, equitable, and transparent, ensuring artistes are not ensnared in clauses that rob them of their rightful earnings.

Royalties, the lifeblood for many artistes, further accentuate the disparities. Despite the digital age, where every song play, stream, or download can be tracked, many Nigerian artistes grapple with an opaque royalty system. The enigma surrounding the number of plays and the consequent royalty due is a testament to the urgent need for a more transparent system. It was with this urgency that the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) unveiled a novel royalty distribution mechanism in 2022, aiming for transparency and efficiency. Yet, this is but a solitary note in a symphony that requires many more.

Performances, another significant revenue avenue for artistes, are riddled with a lack of transparency. From ticketing to contracts with promoters, artistes often find themselves navigating a labyrinth with little assurance of fair remuneration.

Yet, even as these issues persist, the Nigerian music industry continues its global march. Forecasts suggest a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.24% between 2022 and 2027. Furthermore, over half the industry’s revenue in 2022 stemmed from digital music consumption, reflecting the global shift towards online platforms. This industry, which now employs over a million individuals, beams its melodies globally, garnering over 30 million monthly listeners on streaming platforms.


In Conclusion

The Nigerian music sector, pulsating with rhythms and echoing with melodies, is an emblem of national pride and a formidable economic powerhouse. Yet, for its symphony to truly resonate, the industry requires a regulatory baton that ensures every artiste, from budding talents to established stars, receives their deserved share of the opulence. After all, the true richness of music lies not just in its notes but in the harmony of its makers.

Yet, beneath these captivating rhythms lies an intricate interplay of power, influence, and, unfortunately, exploitation. The poignant tale of Mohbad, caught amidst these tumultuous currents, serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for protective measures.

The potential of the Nigerian music industry is colossal. Boasting a staggering valuation and exponential growth rates, it stands poised to be a significant player in the international arena. Yet, these impressive statistics and global acclaim mustn’t overshadow the heart of the industry – its artistes. Without them, the beats fall silent, and the melodies lose their allure.

For Nigeria, music is not just an export; it’s an embodiment of its rich cultural tapestry, a testament to its history, and a beacon of its future. As such, it becomes crucial to ensure that this beacon remains untainted, shining bright for all to see. The onus, then, is to instate robust regulations, ones that balance the vibrancy of creativity with the sanctity of rights.

It is time to harmonise the dual tunes of artistic freedom and industry regulation. Only then can the industry genuinely ascend its global throne, not merely as a king of rhythms but as a bastion of fairness and equity. In this symphony of progress, every note matters, every artiste counts, and every melody should echo the values of justice, respect, and collaboration. As the music of Nigeria reverberates globally, let it be a song of progress, hope, and above all, harmony.

Finally, in the annals of time, may justice gracefully find its way to Mohbad, even posthumously.

Africa Digital News, New York