In the IFPI Global Music Report 2023, the top 10 music market countries in 2022 included the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Canada. In that same report, the top 10 most popular and best-selling artists included top artists from the US, Asian, and Latino communities, with US artists gaining the highest number.
Despite Afrobeats reaching incredible heights in terms of popularity in recent years, it seems in reality the Nigerian music market has not matured enough to compete with its global counterparts.
The latest IFPI Global Music Report for 2023 highlights the exceptional performance of leading artists, showcasing Taylor Swift’s remarkable achievements and stellar earnings. She is estimated to make at least $345 million, according to Marketscore, which takes into account estimated earnings from touring ($228 million), back catalogue ($65 million), her new albums ($27 million), endorsement deals ($25 million), and other miscellaneous earnings overshadowing the collective sales of acclaimed Afrobeats sensations like Burna Boy, Rema, Davido, and Wizkid.
Despite the increasing interest of foreign labels in promoting Afrobeats globally, the Nigerian music industry still grapples with regulatory challenges. Renowned entertainment law expert Oyinkansola Fawehinmi, also known as Foza Doza, said the industry’s growth potential underlines ongoing efforts to meet global standards. The recent gazetting of a new copyright law by the Copyright Society of Nigeria signifies a potential game-changer for the creative sector.
However, the market’s immaturity and low listenership remain substantial hurdles for the industry’s expansion. Notably, Gustav Gyllenhammar, Spotify’s vice president for markets and subscriber growth, highlighted to BusinessDay the limitations imposed by data costs and internet penetration.
With Nigeria’s current 55.4 percent internet penetration rate, streaming music services face constraints, as not every subscriber can afford data expenses for music streaming. However, Gyllenhammar said efforts are being made to address this, with partnerships and initiatives such as zero rating data consumption for music streaming in collaboration with telecom companies like Airtel and Orange.
To match the scale of international music markets, music industry leaders emphasise that record labels must harness opportunities to enhance the popularity of their artists and expand their listener base. Dennis Kooker, Sony Music Entertainment’s president for global digital business, in the latest IFPI report, underscores the importance of building robust infrastructures to support artists in engaging with new technology categories effectively. Angela Lopes, senior vice president for strategy and investments at Sony Music Entertainment, said in the same report that the significance of identifying and nurturing opportunities for artists, with a particular focus on the Gen Z demographic.
Naomi McMahon, Universal Music Group’s senior vice president for strategic marketing and partnerships, highlighted the importance of strategic global and local partnerships for artists and labels. With their eyes set on building broader and deeper collaborations, record companies are striving to navigate the dynamic music landscape, adapting to the demands of evolving platforms and audience preferences.
All hope is not lost as Africa is heading on the right track. Notably, in the IFPI report, sub-Saharan Africa experienced a 34.7 percent surge in recorded music revenue, spearheaded by South Africa’s impressive 31.4 percent growth. With labels and their international partners taking the right steps and leveraging opportunities for artists to grow, there might be a surge in the placement for African countries among top music markets.
Despite the regulatory and infrastructural challenges, the Nigerian music market remains resolute in its pursuit of higher global ranking, with a focus on fortifying its foundations and seizing new opportunities for growth.