As Afrobeat becomes more famous around the world and thrives on the global stage, Nigerian local music suffers as many of the outstanding artists choose to pursue careers abroad.
Some of these top artists’ global success has played a significant role in propelling Afrobeat to the forefront of the international music scene; however, these artists are choosing to produce their music outside of Nigeria, prompting other artists to look abroad, resulting in a decline in the quality of local music as fewer talented artists work in Nigeria.
This has made it more difficult for new artists to break through.
Jideofor Okoro, co-founder and COO at Josplay & African Music Library, said lack of opportunities and proper recognition due to poor local infrastructure has resulted in these artists looking abroad.
He said: “These artists understand what it means to win a Grammy, global acclaim, more money, more respect, and overall open doors. The likes of AFRIMA, Headies and KORA are yet to deliver such significant value for their awards.
“It should come as no surprise that there Molaren’t as many recording studios, concert venues, or streaming platforms that prioritise equal opportunities for these artists. Local media also lacks the global reach needed to promote their music, which is why they seek out foreign media. It could also be a personal preference, among other things. The common denominators in all of this are ambition and the dynamic nature of music success determinants. Those who are ambitious will always find methods to adapt.”
He went on to say that artists who do not have the resources to perform in foreign countries face greater competition than those who do. For example, shooting a video with Boy Director in another country costs a lot of money, and this is gradually becoming the norm as fewer emerging artists can afford it.
“We are rapidly losing intricate elements of our musical culture to indiscriminate culture exchange out there. Originality is waning, and that’s worrisome. The local guys still got it together though. Notwithstanding, the heavy foreign plays have brought attention to the local music industry. Big record labels are hustling to sign local artists and acquire catalogues,” he said.
As artists gain recognition abroad, they often find themselves faced with opportunities for greater exposure, larger audiences, and increased financial rewards. This lure of success, coupled with the perception that the grass is greener on the other side, has led many talented musicians to leave their local music scenes behind.
According to Motolani Alake, a music executive, there is both good and bad influence on these performers looking abroad. There has been an astounding level of growth in the music industry, with more money going into the industry.
He said: “The negative part is the ecosystem is not growing as much as it should grow. The top artists are owned by foreign companies. The Nigeria record labels are not as there anymore but there are also a few that are successful like the Mavin Record and YBNL Nations but they also have to partner with foreign companies to succeed globally.
“The biggest problem is that Nigerian music is not really that successful but the artists are. There’s no proper structure to build the industry as Afrobeat is getting known worldwide.”
He said it is not a negative impact that artists are taking their talent abroad because opportunities are coming.
“It is how well we handle it. What we must do is maximise it to benefit the industry in the long and short term, and how we can have a sustainable industry, how we can have money in this industry where our firms own our music even though foreign companies can license it.”
Afrobeat international success has undoubtedly brought African music to the forefront of the global music industry, with artists such as Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido captivating audiences worldwide.
However, preserving the authenticity and roots of the genre amidst its increasing commercialisation has become a problem in the industry according to findings.
“There’s a need to create a supportive ecosystem for artists, create a more attractive and supportive environment which will help to reverse the trend of talent seeking opportunities abroad,” said Oyinda Olukanni, music marketer/artiste manager and co-founder of Party Monkz Entertainment.