Starting Out A Music Career In Nigeria? Here Are 6 Things You Must Know (2022)

Music

By Guardian Nigeria

18 October 2022 | 12:53 pm

Here in this post, we are going to give you a detailed guide on how to start your music career in Nigeria. We hope you find this post helpful.

Starting Out A Music Career In Nigeria? Here Are 6 Things You Must Know (1)

microphone and Headphone PHOTO: Pixabay

Here in this post, we are going to give you a detailed guide on how to start your music career in Nigeria. We hope you find this post helpful.

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The Nigerian music industry has been around and thriving for years. It has produced legends, that is even recognized internationally examples including Fela, 2Baba, and Sunny Ade, amongst others.

A lot of young Nigerian artists are making us proud outside the shores of the country, and you can become the next big thing in Nigeria if you plan your career properly.

If you are interested, in chasing your dream of performing your music to more than 30,000 people in Teslim Balogun Stadium, I will guide you in this article on a sure way to achieve this dream.

Overview of Music Career in Nigeria

The Nigerian music industry is broad, and a lot of things come into play when planning out your career. The reason why many young upcoming artists don’t hit the spotlight is that they do not plan out their careers properly.

Many of them usually just do 1 track single once in 1 year, with no fan base, social media presence, career plan or goal. Even though there is no pattern to success, many different musicians achieved fame in different ways.

There is a standard approach to achieving professionalism because a music career is a job and you must look, and act like a professional.

Profitability

This is an ambiguous term, profitability can mean a lot of things when it comes to music. However, I will assume the financial aspect.

The typical show fee for A list artists in Nigeria (Wizkid, Davido, Burna boy, Simi, Olamide e.t.c) is between 3 to 2 million naira.

However, this price is negotiable as some A-list artists have been known to take as low as 500,000 naira, and some as high as 10 million naira for a 10-minute performance.

Furthermore, endorsement deals are also another gold mine for artists, as they get huge yearly endorsement payments.

Tiwa Savage signed an endorsement deal with Pepsi worth millions of naira, followed by Wizkid, Davido, and a few other artists.

Another big advantage is that this artiste can endorse more than one brand so far they do not produce the same thing.

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Some of them even receive a lifetime supply of the company’s product, yes, if you represent a brand like Pepsi, you get Pepsi delivered to your home every month.

Note- I advise, that you do not delve into the music industry because of the money, this is the mistake a lot of people make and they usually end up lost in a world of regret. Do music because of the passion, and the money will come later.

How to Start Your Music Career in Nigeria

Pay close attention, as I will explain in clear terms how to start your music career in Nigeria.

  • Set a Plan

I call this the “I promise myself list”, this is a detailed list of things you wish to achieve in your music career, in a given year.

If you want to release a song every month, release an Album or Mixtape, grow a fan base or feature a top artist in your music.

Write all your goals in this book and make sure to follow them, and come back to check them as you move forward in your career.

  • Release Songs (Especially Singles)

Nigerians hardly pay attention to albums or mixtapes, however, they are more interested in a hit singles. Do not try to change this mentality at an early stage of your career, instead just go with the flow.

Furthermore, it is cheaper to record single tracks, than an album of about 9 songs. You should only consider an album when you have grown a fan base of about 200, that way you are sure of listeners.

Now let me explain how you can release a smash single in Nigeria. I am a broad music listener, and I usually can tell when a song is going to be a hit.

Nigerians love songs that are danceable, relatable and have a nice rhythm to it. Take songs like Case by Teni, On the Low by Burna Boy, and Fia by Davido.

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The lyricism is very low in the Nigerian Music Industry, it doesn’t mean you should settle to sing “baby your waist na kprokopro”, however, try to sing meaningful things.

This will really help you stand out in an already over-saturated industry. Concentrate on your chorus, if you plan on doing afro-pop, establish a rhythm to it and make sure it can hook your listeners.

Always consider bringing in a backup artist, although it might cost extra, it will really give your music a sense of depth.

  • Choose Your Producer Well

There are a lot of wacky producers out there, I will tell you from experience. Many of them just buy a laptop, microphone and speakers and call themselves sound engineers.

Take your time to choose the type of studio you would work in, reach out to your fellow upcoming artists on social media and ask for help.

A typical standard recording studio will charge about 15-20,000 naira per session. However, as you grow in your music you will begin to see producers who charge up to 200,000 naira e.g Kidominant, killerbeatz, Fresh, Sarz e.t.c.

If you like, you can even set up your own studio in your house. This is not only cheaper, it enables you creative control of your music, this way you can wake up one morning and decide to do a song without paying anybody.

To set up your music studio you will need a laptop, DAW (Digital workstation) software, a Condenser microphone and two good speakers.

In total buying and installing this hardware and software won’t cost more than 100,000 naira. This is a worthy investment, as it will cost you way more by the time you record 10 songs at 20k each.

  • Brand Yourself

You are a musician and you should look like it. I am not saying you should go and get tattoos or piercings, what I mean is that people should know that you are an artiste just by looking at you.

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Things like your dress, hairstyle and social media should be a priority. Once in a while pay for photo studio sessions and take a beautiful picture you can post on your social media.

Try to interact with your fans on social media, no matter how small they are. Collect their email address and send them links to your new song release, making them feel part of the journey.

  • Market Yourself

Once you release your first song on online streaming networks like Soundcloud, Spotify and Audiomack. It is time to market yourself, and secure shows and paying concerts.

Depending on the success of your song, show promoters might even be the ones approaching with six-figure amounts for you to perform. However, you need to make proper efforts to secure shows nevertheless.

  • Do Not Jump Into a Record Deal

Many young artists feel that a record deal is all and all. Most times, record deals are a trap that promising young musicians fall into.

Many Nigerian labels do not know what they are doing, some do not even have an A&R department or marketing team.

They only have capital and a bunch of other artists with uncertain futures. So before you fall into this trap, be careful not to sign anything without a qualified entertainment lawyer present.

Do not let anybody rush you into signing anything while making promises. Because when there is a problem, a referral will be made to the contract and not the individual’s statement.

Make sure to read every clause in the contract and have your lawyer explain the ones you don’t understand. Because there have been situations where dubious record labels hide clauses that state that the artiste cannot leave the label until 6 to 8 years and a very little royalty and show fee split cut, like the label taking 80% and the artiste 20% or lower.

They usually come with six-figure advance payments, and “Wow” their victims so be smart and be enlightened, not all that glitters is gold.

Conclusion

Most of the big names you see in the secular music industry today, including Davido and Wizkid started from somewhere. In the gospel song industry, we have the likes of Mercy Chinwo, GUC, Sinach, Ada Ehi and many more. For some of these musicians, it took them almost four years before they could really breakthrough. Once consistency is there, and commitment is your watchword, you will surely make it.

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FAQs

How can I start a successful music career in Nigeria? ›

How Do I Start?
  1. Practice Feverishly. After writing a beautiful song the next best thing is to practice it all-day-every-day. ...
  2. Find An Instrumental. ...
  3. Find A Recording Studio. ...
  4. Make A Video. ...
  5. Promote Yourself And Your Music. ...
  6. Find Gigs around Your Locality. ...
  7. Hire a Music Producer. ...
  8. Sell Tickets for Live Shows.

How do I start a music career with no experience? ›

How to get into the music industry
  1. Consider your choices. There are several decisions music artists must make throughout their careers. ...
  2. Make connections. ...
  3. Prepare for the process. ...
  4. Create an online presence. ...
  5. Perform often. ...
  6. Find a mentor. ...
  7. Gain internship experience. ...
  8. Embrace your passion.

How can a musician make money fast? ›

How to make money as a musician
  1. Earn streaming royalties through digital distribution.
  2. Make money playing gigs.
  3. Sell band merchandise online.
  4. Collaborate with brands and other musicians.
  5. Sell beats and samples.
  6. Teach music classes and sell lessons.
6 Feb 2020

What are 3 careers in music? ›

Top 10 Careers in the Music Business (and How Much Money You Can Make)
  • Music Producer.
  • Recording Engineer.
  • Artist Manager.
  • Tour Manager.
  • Booking Agent.
  • Music Publicist.
  • Composer.
  • Music Arranger.

How can I improve my music skills? ›

10 Ways to Improve Your Music Production Skills
  1. Listen to more music. Don't listen to the same music you have been listening to every single day. ...
  2. Understand Basic Music Theory. ...
  3. Collaborate. ...
  4. Embrace Critique. ...
  5. Experiment. ...
  6. Learn to Use the Gear You Have. ...
  7. Set Up Your Speakers Correctly. ...
  8. Get Minimal.
15 Jan 2020

What skills do you need for music? ›

6 Skills a Music Producer Needs to Practice:
  • Playing an Instrument. Having a comprehensive understanding of music is a must. ...
  • Sound Engineering. ...
  • Music Theory & Composition (aka Song Writing) ...
  • Managing People. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Business + Finances + Contracts.
16 Aug 2018

What makes a musician successful? ›

The success of a musician lies in his daily practice. Successful musicians make practicing a vital thing like breathing and eating. Passion for music is not enough to achieve a career in music, practicing every day is what helps one to grow and improvise in music. By practicing daily, a musician rises above others.

What age is too late to start music career? ›

In short, there is no age that is too early or too late to start a career in music. If you love music and want to start doing it professionally, don't let anything stop you!

Is starting a music career hard? ›

The music industry is very competitive and one of the more difficult industries to break into, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Whether you are a Music Producer, Engineer, or Artist, you still may have what it takes to break into the music industry if you work hard and take the necessary steps.

How much does a career in music pay? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $115,627 and as low as $17,344, the majority of salaries within the Music Industry jobs category currently range between $35,213 (25th percentile) to $65,696 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $89,873 annually in Los Angeles.

How can I sell my song? ›

Pitch your song to a music publisher. Artists will get songs from a wide range of sources, including their record label, manager, producer, studio musicians, friends, loyal fans, and family. But to pitch your song to established artists, your best bet is to go through a music publisher.

Can you get rich making music? ›

With a little strategy and being aware of the various revenue streams available in the music business, you can start to apply your skills and generate extra money with music. So yes, it's totally possible to make a good income as a musician in 2022 and beyond.

How can I make a living in music? ›

The revenue streams that make the most sense for most musicians today are:
  1. Streaming royalties.
  2. Sync licensing (for now)
  3. Performing (in-person or live-stream)
  4. Teaching music.
  5. Session musician work (in-person or remotely)
  6. Freelance music production.
15 Mar 2021

How can I become famous easily? ›

And here are 7 relatively simple steps on that path.
  1. Begin By Making It All About Others, Not Yourself. ...
  2. Get Your Face and Your Personality “Out There” ...
  3. Provide Consistent, Public, Interesting, and Free Content. ...
  4. Sponsor an Important Charity. ...
  5. Develop Relationships with Influencers. ...
  6. Work on Your Fame Everyday.

How can I promote myself as a musician? ›

How to promote music in 2022
  1. Sign up to artists services. ...
  2. Build a website & mailing list. ...
  3. Develop an engaging social presence. ...
  4. Get playlisted. ...
  5. Get press & blog coverage. ...
  6. Music videos. ...
  7. Surround yourself with a strong team. ...
  8. Know your audience & focus on your niche.
1 Jan 2022

What job in music pays the most? ›

Here we break down the Top 5 highest paying music career jobs in 2022.
  • Job Titles: Sound Engineer. Music Degree Needed: Music Production. ...
  • Job Title: Recording Engineer. Music Degree: Electronic Music Production and Sound Design. ...
  • Job Title: Music Professor. ...
  • Job Title: Music Therapist. ...
  • Job Title: Music Director or Composer.
3 Jun 2022

What is the hardest job in the music industry? ›

During the course of a music-performing career, one encounters a variety of jobs that vary in their musical orientation and degree of difficulty. The expectation of performing at a high level on any gig is often enough to cause stress in any musician's life.

Is music a career or a job? ›

In terms of career options, singers and musicians may be the most visible jobs in music, but you could carve out a career in a number of areas including performing, songwriting, composing, live music entertainment, music education, music production, artist management, marketing and PR or music journalism.

What is the 3 steps for writing a song? ›

If you want to write a song and can't find a good place to start, this analogy just might help.
...
Any of these three features are great places to begin.
  • Writing a song: the foundation. ...
  • The structure. ...
  • The interior, or melody (and lyrics)

Can I write a song everyday? ›

It might sound impossible, but the best way to become a great songwriter, and potentially even one who does this for a living, is to write every day. Here's why. This is a time-tested saying, and there's a reason: it's true. If you want to not just learn something, but be truly great at it, you need to do it every day.

What are the top 10 tips for writing a song? ›

10 Techniques for Writing Memorable Songs
  • Compose a catchy melody. ...
  • Use all types of chords. ...
  • Create a memorable rhythm. ...
  • Build your song around a riff. ...
  • Write a song you can play live. ...
  • Step away from your instrument to write. ...
  • Get ambitious with song structure.
10 Dec 2021

What are the 5 music skills? ›

Your concept of approaching music education in terms of the “Big 5” (rhythmic, tonal, notation, creativity and executive skills) clearly and concisely captures the various aspects of musicianship.

What are the 4 basic music skills? ›

Here are just four out of the many musical skills you can learn in lessons other than how to play an instrument.
  • Music Theory. ...
  • Songwriting & Composition. ...
  • Stage Presence. ...
  • Music Notation.
23 Jul 2020

How do I get my music heard more? ›

How to get played
  1. Your website. Post your music using embedded video or audio players. ...
  2. Social media. Post new songs, content, entertainment, and info on your social media profiles and ask people to share it. ...
  3. Your audio content sites. ...
  4. Social media influencers. ...
  5. Remix sites. ...
  6. Recorded and live music archive sites.
22 Feb 2022

What a musician should not do? ›

10 Things Musicians Should NEVER Do When Performing On Stage
  • Let Your Ears Get Damaged.
  • Argue With The Sound Man In Front Of Your Audience.
  • Take Too Long To Tune Your Guitar On Stage.
  • Point Out Your Performance Flaws.
  • Talk Too Much When Performing.
  • Bring Other Musicians Down.
  • Appear Big Headed To Your Fans.

What a beginner singer should know? ›

Learn How To Sing for Beginners
  • Keep Your Voice Healthy. Remember, your voice is just as much an instrument as any other instrument. ...
  • Get Your Breath Down. ...
  • Improve Your Posture. ...
  • Find Your Vocal Range. ...
  • Continue To Improve By Staying Motivated. ...
  • Becoming A Great Singer!
4 Feb 2020

What are music talents? ›

Individuals termed as having inherent musical talent are those individuals who easily identify the off key notes, the pitch and understand music concepts more easily than individuals termed not to possess musical talent.

What are the most important things to learn in music? ›

Scales and chords are the main rudiments you need to understand to start making music. We go through the most useful types of scales and how to apply them in our series of articles on scales. Take your melody writing skills to the next level.

What is the most important skill in music? ›

Rhythm is the heartbeat of all music. It's what ensures that a group of musicians remains constantly in sync and it's one of the most important aspects of any piece you might play. Therefore, it's very important that every musician, especially those who wish to play in group settings, have a strong sense of rhythm.

How do musicians get noticed? ›

If you really want to get your music noticed you'll need to put the hours in. If you put in hours every day on your social media, network, image, professionalism and Spotify playlist portfolio you'll be much more likely to get noticed in the music industry than someone who expects all the work to be done for them!

How can I promote my music with no money? ›

How to Promote Your Music with Zero Budget
  1. Friends and Family. Those closest to you can often be the first stepping stone into gaining a faithful following. ...
  2. Social Media. ...
  3. Blogs. ...
  4. Playlists. ...
  5. Content Creators. ...
  6. Making Free Music. ...
  7. Meetups and Groups.
11 May 2021

What subjects are needed for musician? ›

There are no formal education requirements for musicians interested in performing popular music, but those interested in performing classical and opera or teaching music typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Which age is best for music? ›

In summary, there are three answers to the question, “What age should children begin music lessons?” Informal activities with music should start soon after birth, followed by more systematic classes around age three, and lessons with the goal of learning the instrument should start between six and nine.

How long do music careers last? ›

Average artist career length: 17 years. Percentage of top artists that are still active: 92% Longest artist career: The Blind Boys of Alabama – 73 Years and still going. Gone but not forgotten – Robert Johnson – Hasn't recorded since 1938 but still in the top 1,000.

What age is music most important? ›

For men, the most important period for forming musical taste is between the ages of 13 to 16. Men were, on average, aged 14 when their favorite song was released. For women, the most important period is between 11 and 14, with 13 being the most likely age for when their favorite song came out.

Is making money in music hard? ›

And this is somewhat true – making money from music can be a challenge. But – it's achievable. And very much within reach. If you're willing to diversify your skill-set and try your hand at a couple of different strategies, you'll actually find a wealth of revenue opportunities that you can tap into.

How much does a beginner musician make? ›

As of Nov 16, 2022, the average annual pay for an Entry Level Musician in the United States is $43,083 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $20.71 an hour.

Is a music career stressful? ›

While it may not always seem obvious, working in the music industry can be as stressful as most other industries. Unreliable people, things not sounding how you want, and slower progression then you had planned; all of these and more can really add up.

Do musicians have a salary? ›

The median hourly wage for musicians and singers was $30.49 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.47, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88.77.

Is music a good career choice? ›

Is a career in music a good move? Of course, it is if you want a highly rewarding career where you get to perform music every day and do what you love. It is worth it, but you better be prepared to put the work in. It is not an easy ride, but once you get the taste for it, you won't look back.

How much does a musician make a month? ›

As of Nov 9, 2022, the average monthly pay for a Musician in the United States is $4,081 a month. While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $8,708 and as low as $917, the majority of Musician salaries currently range between $1,916 (25th percentile) to $6,083 (75th percentile) across the United States.

What career in music makes the most money? ›

Here we break down the Top 5 highest paying music career jobs in 2022.
  • Job Titles: Sound Engineer. Music Degree Needed: Music Production. ...
  • Job Title: Recording Engineer. Music Degree: Electronic Music Production and Sound Design. ...
  • Job Title: Music Professor. ...
  • Job Title: Music Therapist. ...
  • Job Title: Music Director or Composer.
3 Jun 2022

Where is the best place to start a music career? ›

12 Best Cities for Musicians (2022 List)
  • Pueblo, CO. ...
  • Seattle, WA. ...
  • Los Angeles, CA. ...
  • Atlanta, GA. Average Apartment Rent. ...
  • Chicago, IL. Average Apartment Rent. ...
  • Portland, OR. Average Apartment Rent. ...
  • New Orleans, LA. Average Apartment Rent. ...
  • Anytown, USA. At the end of the day, the best city for musicians is the city you're in.
11 Feb 2022

How do musicians get paid in Nigeria? ›

Royalties are fees paid to musicians. When their music is being played on radio and other media platforms, they are being given some amount of money. This type of royalty is called DIGITAL ROYALTY. Also, those who are registered members of COSON (Copyright Society of Nigeria) also get royalties for their music.

Which city has the most musicians? ›

What is the most musical city in the United States?
#Artists per 1,000 inhabitantsCity
13.14Beverly Hills, CA
22.26San Francisco, CA
31.68Nashville, TN
41.64Boston, MA
21 more rows
20 May 2012

How much does a music career pay? ›

How much does a Musician make? The average Musician salary is $44,364 as of October 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $34,375 and $52,943.

Is a music career hard? ›

The music industry is very competitive and one of the more difficult industries to break into, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Whether you are a Music Producer, Engineer, or Artist, you still may have what it takes to break into the music industry if you work hard and take the necessary steps.

What job should I have if I love music? ›

Musician and singer are popular choices for a musical career. But even if you can't carry a tune, you can incorporate music into your work. Dancers, composers, and sound engineering technicians, for example, all work with music in various ways. And for many, making music a career is a lifelong dream.

What skills do you need for a music career? ›

Skills
  • motivation, determination and perseverance.
  • confidence in performing before an audience.
  • stamina and dedication to continue practising every day.
  • reliability and flexibility as you'll need to work long and irregular hours.
  • the ability to work well as part of a team.
  • creativity.
  • self-discipline and good time management.

Which artist is the highest paid in Nigeria? ›

Multiple award winner, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy has posed himself as the highest-paid musician in the history of Africa.

How much is Davido salary? ›

Davido Net Worth 2022: Biography Career Income Home Cars
Net Worth:$50 Million
Salary:$4 Million +
Monthly Income:$0.3 Million +
Date of Birth:November 21, 1992
Gender:Male
5 more rows
6 Sept 2022

Where can I sell my music in Nigeria? ›

DITTO is a music distribution platform that allows Nigerian artists/record labels to distribute their songs on all major international platforms and then they pay artists their royalties when fans stream and buy their songs. Ditto has helped to distribute many African artists such as our very own Tiwa Savage.

Videos

1. Burna Boy - Last Last [Official Music Video]
(Burna Boy)
2. Gyakie - SOMETHING (Official Music Video)
(Gyakie Music)
3. H.E.R. - Slide (Official Video) ft. YG
(H.E.R.)
4. Joe - All The Things (Your Man Won't Do)
(JoeVEVO)
5. Jorja Smith - Be Honest (feat. Burna Boy)
(Jorja Smith)
6. Pentatonix - Mary, Did You Know? (Official Video)
(Pentatonix)

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