Ibadan Musicians

Ibadan Hip Hop Musicians on Strike by Rotimi Ige

Ibadan Musicians

Over the years, experts and stakeholders in the state has foresee Ibadan Entertainment Industry has the next future of Nigeria and African entertainment industry, but their predictions are totally wrong due to what reality of the industry is it today.

In fact the industry has been stagnant for some many years, while the stakeholders and the state government are not helping the situation on ground.

I find this interesting article written by Rotimi Ige of Nigeria Tribune titled ” Ibadan Hip Hop Musicians on Strike ”. As usual Rotimi touched several issue that is affecting the Ibadan industry and also had few words from the Ibadan based artistes and stakeholders on issue of ” going to strike ”.

Are Ibadan so-called musicians change their career to join the civil servant or what are they thinking of embarking on strike like NLC or TUC.

Enjoy!!!

Music, as widely claimed, is food to the soul and has been a source of inspiration and solace to many. In Nigeria, over the past two decades, the music industry has grown into a multi-billion naira industry, metamorphosing from the hobbies of many into a veritable source of livelihood. The industry has produced talents, mavericks and legends, with the likes of Tuface, Davido, Wizkid, P Square, Olamide and the like.

As the industry grew, it, after a while, was categorised (though unofficially), into strata: A-list, B-list and C-list artistes. A-list artistes are any set of artistes who are the raves of the moment. They are the ones dominating the music scene at any point in time, for instance, Olamide, Davido, Wizkid, Yemi Alade etc are current A-list artistes and are in heavy demand from show promoters and commanded hefty sums as performance fees and corporate endorsements.

The B and C listers are said to be artistes who may be somewhat popular, but are not raves. They may have videos and songs on rotation, but are not as successful as their A-list counterparts. However, a common attribution to success in any of the cadres has been closely linked to Lagos, the acclaimed entertainment capital of Nigeria.  This is because the biggest shows are organised there and the sponsors for events are easily accessible. Hence, it is believed that money goes round in Lagos.

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In Ibadan, the music industry is vibrant but according to stakeholders, quite a struggle. Last week, an Ibadan-based rapper, BK GMB, released a new track, ‘Open Letter’, where he highlighted the pains of Ibadan-based artistes who were talented in every right, but were being ‘financially raped’ by show promoters. In a chat with Friday Treat, BK GMB said: “We have been patient for so long, waiting for things to change but it seems some people want to keep taking us for granted. Many show/club promoters in the city would go to Lagos and pay good money for struggling acts that many of us are better than, but when they come to us, they beg us to perform for free or offer peanuts and still expect us to help them sell the show to our fans.

“Many times, because they know us, they employ familiarity to get favours from us, but we are wiser now. We have had enough of free drinks or hotel rooms to barter for our services. We pay through the nose for studio fees and song recording/promotion, spend a lot to look the part of the showbiz industry among other things. For these reasons, I and my colleagues have decided to embark on a strike. No more local free shows except the platform is one that is worth it,” he said.

Another fast rising artiste, Keanzo, corroborated BK GMB’s submission. He said, “We have given a lot to the industry without much to show for it. If we were based in Lagos, we would be stars by now but because the exposure here is limited, we have been managing to stay relevant by God’s grace. I believe that if artistes in Ibadan can unite and speak with one voice to stake a claim to our rightful entitlements, no stakeholder will under price us. You can imagine a show promoter calling to say he/she wants to help me with an event only to discover the promoter had actually collected money on my behalf for the show without actually paying me a dime. It is as bad as that. We need to take bold steps and if a strike will change things so be it.”

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When Friday Treat sought to understand the aim of the strike, one of the artistes concerned explained, “We have agreed not to go below a particular price/cost range for our services per artiste. If any event organiser cannot pay for our services (per artiste contacted), by the time he/she exhausts the roll call of the most sought after Ibadan acts, let him go to Lagos and pay heavily for the artistes there. Most clubs/event organisers cannot afford most of the A or B-list acts or may be able to cough up money for one or two of them which is not enough for any real event. Most of us don’t even charge half of what the B or C-list Lagos artiste charges, yet we are not appreciated. We believe that if we boycott local events for at least three months, people will begin to get the message,” he said.

Friday Treat’s chat with one of the show promoters was very interesting. Speaking under anonymity, he said, “Ibadan is coming up and we are doing our best to promote our artistes. However, they do not have full knowledge of the dynamics of the entertainment business. We are yet to have satellite TV stations in Ibadan and the shows we solicit for are part of what gives the artistes presence. Many of our artistes are lazy. We have about only six to nine notable or bankable hip hop acts in Ibadan. Only a few of that number are really working. Some still want to come upstage and perform the same songs that they released two years ago and get paid for that kind of performance.  Few of them have music videos. Yet, they want to get good money to perform at shows! Let’s be truthful to ourselves.

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“Dremo was one of us until recently when Davido signed him. But it was after he gave us hits back to back alongside videos with heavy promotion before he got real attention. Unless our artistes wake up to their responsibilities, they can’t demand top payment.”

When contacted, another top artiste in Ibadan, Fabulous Pizzy, said, “It is true that we are facing a lot of challenges, but I believe that artistes in Ibadan deserve better remuneration. For instance, I try to release new songs at least once in two months and a normal song production, costs nothing less than N80,000. If produced and mastered by the big names in the industry, the bill rises to about N150,000 minimum. We are under pressure to release songs that would stand their ground anywhere they are played in the world and it isn’t encouraging when our services are solicited for free or peanuts because in Ibadan, there are no record labels. Everyone is responsible for his/her career. We are expected to do good songs and videos, dress well and not repeat clothes, not take ‘okada’, among other things. How can we achieve all these on our own if we only do free shows or take peanuts? I concur that we need to come to a consensus.”

While no particular day has been fixed for the proposed ‘artistes’ strike’, it remains to be seen what lengths the affected artistes are willing to take it to press home their claims. While the claims and counter claims continue, it is important to note that the entertainment industry is very important in today’s society, and affected parties are encouraged to come to a meaningful compromise.

Written by Rotimi Ige
Published on tribuneonlineng.com

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