It is no exaggeration that the African music industry has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as it has forced performing artists, executives, and other key players in the industry to adapt, innovate and evolve new business and creative models.
This was the focus as MTV Base’s flagship roundtable show, Musicology – which aired on MTV Base DStv channel 322 and GOtv channel 72 this August – gathered some of the brightest young minds on the Nigerian entertainment scene to discuss and explore different aspects of the music business post the pandemic.
According to Solafunmi Sosanya, the Senior Channels Manager at ViacomCBS Networks Africa (parent brand of MTV Base), “MTV Base continues to invest and inspire growth across the African music landscape with impact that extends globally. Since its establishment in 2017, the Musicology discourse has hosted several thought leaders and will continue to serve as the authority for topics that will accelerate the growth of the industry, artists and African music culture.”
Hosted by MTV Base VJ, Dadaboy Ehiz, the industry juggernauts – Joey Akan (Music Critic/Columnist and Pop Culture Commentator), Oyinkansola Fawehinmi (President, Digital Music Commerce and Exchange Limited), Lanre Shonubi (OAP, Hot FM), Motolani Alake (Editor, Pulse Nigeria), and Titilope Adesanya (Project Manager, EMPIRE; Olamide, KiDi, Fireboy DML, Yaw Tog, Kizz Daniel, L.A.X) examined and dissected the theme, ‘The Entertainment Industry Post-Covid; Way Forward’.
Exploring the early impact of the pandemic on the industry, Motolani broke down the issues using three major touchpoints, saying, “There was the music part, the business part, as well as the output and promotional part. People couldn’t perform and they had to find a way to make money, so a lot of artists started producing music at an excessive rate. They couldn’t go on radio and as a result, the value of social media as a promotional tool increased.”
Reiterating Motolani’s viewpoint, Titilope offered valuable insight to the challenges faced by marketers and managers alike in positioning talent. “One very clear effect that Covid had in my space was that artists had to move their albums forward. Although this initially affected the way we promoted their works, we had to push forward after we realised the pandemic had come to stay,” she stated.
Proffering solutions to how artists can maintain their relevance post-COVID, Oyinkansola ‘Foza’ advocated for operators to look beyond the music business in its traditional form and explore creative ways of diversifying and maximising their income – with reference to streaming. Joey, however, shared a different opinion, arguing that, “For artists to beat all the restrictions posed by the pandemic, they should start organising a lot of mini (COVID-compliant) shows and local tours across different states in the country.”
Other issues addressed during the discourse include the increased value of social media as an engagement and promotional platform for artists, legalities involved in music publishing, challenges around the market share model of monetising streaming, Nigeria’s increasing appetite for album consumption, and robust debate on who belongs on the Nigerian music industry’s exclusive top 6 list.
You can also follow the conversation on hot topics using the hashtag #MTVBaseMusicology and the MTV Base social media platforms (@mtvbasewest).