Streaming market keeps Nigerian artistes afloat amid constraints

The global music streaming market has been a gold discovery for many Nigerian music artists as it presents limitless opportunities to reach a world they would have never thought possible. But challenges such as inadequate internet infrastructure, low income, and piracy remain hurdles in fully harnessing the potential of this new market.

PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that Nigeria would be the world’s fastest-growing entertainment and media market (E&M) with a 12.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over a five-year period (2017-2021).

The report also says that the total revenue that will be generated by all the players in Nigeria’s E&M industry is expected to rise from $7.68 billion in 2021 to $9.03 billion in 2022, to $10.66 billion in 2023, and will increase further to $12.56 billion in 2024 before settling at $14.82 billion by 2025, culminating to an average growth rate of 18 percent during that period.

The streaming services such as Boomplay, Spotify, Audiomack, YouTube, etc are enabling an environment in which Nigerian creatives including music artists of all genres can not only reach a wide audience but also monetise their content. Before now the only way an artist could earn money was to be invited to perform in a music show or sell their songs to marketers at Alaba or Onitsha.

An expert in one of the streaming services who pleaded anonymity said streaming music started when a new group of artists that called themselves Alté Kids came on the scene. These artists started putting their songs on SoundCloud, a Swedish-founded audio distribution and music sharing platform. Their bold move made their songs popular and helped them reach more people compared to existing distribution channels. They later collaborated with blogs and magazines like Native Mag which had a diaspora audience. This proved to be a major turning point in music distribution and the streaming market which saw increased adoption.

Experts have also noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the growth in the streaming market. The PwC report noted that the internet access revenue segment in Nigeria is expected to gain more market share in the next few years as a result of the growth in streaming adoption.

Read Also: Spotify reveals Nigeria’s top music cities, songs they love

Adoption has brought visibility for many music artists in Nigeria. A list from Spotify puts Ckay the artist behind Love Nwantiti as the top streamed artist on Spotify in October 2021 with 7.62 million.

Other artists in the top ten list include Wizkid (2.85 million); Burna Boy (2.83 million); Tems (1.72 million); Davido (710,500); Mr Eazi (619,100); Omay Lay (517,700); Rema (513,800); Joeboy (474,700); and Fireboy (417,000).

CKay’s Love Nwantiti remix with Joeboy and Kuami Eugene was the No 1 top song on YouTube with 69.6 million views as of the time of writing this article in November 2021. In the same month, Wizkid’s Made in Lagos album peaked at No 4 on the Billboard World Albums Chart.

“It peaked at No 1 and has expanded 51 weeks on the chart,” Chart Africa, a firm that monitors the activities of African music across different platforms in the world, noted on Tuesday.

For many music artists in Nigeria music streaming is the best thing that happened to the industry and could be the future. Streaming, therefore, presents a lifeline to artists who continue to battle piracy.

“Piracy is one of the most common issues in the music industry, across almost all countries. As such, when Spotify enters new markets, education becomes a key driver. It is important for us to work with partners such as creators and the media to educate users on the benefits of legally streaming music and the positive impact that this has for creators and the economy,” Phiona Okumu, Head of Music, sub-Saharan Africa, Spotify told BusinessDay.

Currently, the largest streaming service in Africa and Nigeria is Boomplay which has over 74 million users as of June 2021. However, the landscape is expanding with new investors like Spotify, Audiomack, and Amazon expanding their portfolio. Spotify, valued at $50 billion with over 345 million monthly active listeners, said launching in new markets like Nigeria is the next step to fulfilling its ongoing commitment to building a truly borderless audio ecosystem.

Despite the boom, streaming however faces a difficult task in terms of conversion of consumers due to internet quality and dwindling income levels. Mobile penetration is at 40 percent with the coverage of 3G network below 60 percent and 4G at about 30 percent.

Nigeria is also on the list of countries where citizens work the most to buy 1GB of data. Nigerians have to work 33 hours 42 minutes to afford the cheapest broadband internet in a month, according to data from Surfshark. The global average is three hours 48 minutes a month.

The National Bureau of Statistics report on poverty puts the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty at over 80 million. With the average Nigerian working 40 hours per week, it means they commit a total of 160 hours per month. In essence, 80 million Nigerians putting in about 160 hours to earn N30,000 per month, means each person earns an hourly wage of about N187.5. This is still less than the cheapest 1GB sold for N200.

But industry experts like Ogaga Sakpaide, a music executive and artist and repertoire consultant say streaming is the future of the music industry.

“We are witnessing history and change and it is something that is amazing to watch. I just hope that in the future everyone will be able to stream music and everyone will be able to consume music,” Sakpaide said.

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