How do Nigerian musicians make money? There are many ways but here is a list of top 20 ways artists can earn a living.
How do Nigerian musicians make money throughout their music career? One of the greatest challenges of Nigerian musicians is generating income from music. The music industry is peculiar and dynamic, with changes to the system affecting income streams.
Part of the reality of being a full time musician today is the need to diversify your revenue streams. Although sales of recorded music have gone down significantly in recent years, there are new sources of income available and improving how Nigerian musicians make money.
A young industry, Nigerian musicians previously relied on more traditional ways of income generation – record sales and performance fees. And while the latter still remains the most lucrative revenue source in the industry, the gradual development of the industry and the rise of technology and internet penetration have created multiple streams of income. Artistes music careers now rely heavily also on digital sales and streaming.
A mix of traditional and more modern income streams is the way forward, and they have combined to help today’s musicians earn a living. How do Nigerian musicians make money? Here’s a list of 20 ways Nigerian artistes make money.
1. CD Sales: CD sales have been a standard money-making stream for artistes, although its power has largely decreased, it still survives.
2. Vinyl Sales: Vinyl sales surged 30% in 2013 in Western countries. Due to the unavailability of data in the industry, that figure cannot be ascertained in Nigeria. But we see these sell at certain live shows.
3. Digital Sales: Some Nigerian musicians sell music via their websites, but they also make more through online retainers. Keep in mind that online retailers take a percentage of sales (ex. iTunes takes 30%, Bandcamp takes 15%). Some digital distributors that place your music in stores like iTunes and Amazon will take a cut on top of that.
4. Streaming: Although per-stream payouts from streaming services tend to be small, they can add up over time. Nigerian artistes make money through this. This service also help new fans discover music, and isn’t seen solely as an income generator.
5. Live Shows: Money made from live shows can vary greatly, but it’s still one of the best ways Nigerian musicians earn income. Not only do they make money from selling tickets, but it’s also one of the best ways to sell merch.
6. Physical Merchandise: Very few Nigerian musicians make money from merch. Income from physical merchandise can depend heavily on the amount of live shows they play. If they go out on tour, some are sure to sell t-shirts, as well as smaller items like buttons and stickers to fans after the show.
7. Digital Merchandise: Few Nigerian musicians sell digital merch items like PDFs, videos, and images to fans. Things like lyric books, live concerts, sheet music, exclusive photos, artwork and more.
8. Soliciting Funds: Soliciting funding from friends, family, and sponsors is a great way to generate income for music careers. Nigerian musicians do this, creating well-executed funding campaigns to help raise enough money to offset the cost of producing and marketing their albums.
9. Publishing Royalties: Many full time musicians are signed up to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) so they can collect royalties on their music. This includes public performance royalties (radio, TV, live venues), mechanical royalties (sales through retailers, streaming, etc.), and sync royalties (commercials, film, TV).
10. Digital Royalties: Whenever Nigerian music is played on services like SiriusXM radio, Pandora, and webcasters, they pay royalties.
11. Live Performance Royalties: When performing original material, Nigerians earn royalties from live performances. Whether they perform at a bar, restaurant, club, or other music venue, COSON ensures that they pay royalties.
12. Licensing: When a Nigerian song is placed in a film, commercial, or TV show, chances are they’re going to pay a licensing fee. These fees vary greatly, depending on the budget for the project, and how badly they want your particular song.
13. YouTube: On YouTube, whenever music is used in videos that are running ads, YouTube pays a portion of that advertising money to the rights holders of the song. Digital distributors like TuneCore and CD Baby help Nigerian acts collect that money, as well as Audiam.
14. Sponsorships: For full time musicians who have built up a fan base, some companies are willing to sponsor musicians to reach those fans. See Johnny Walker’s work with Don Jazzy, Samsung and Banky W, and many more. Sponsorships can range from cash, to free products, services, and gear.
15. Session Work: Another way Nigerian musicians make some extra money is to put themselves out there as a session musician. As a singer or instrumentalist, they do session work for other musical projects, or even in advertising. A good example is guitarist Fiokee.
16. Songwriting/Composing: If you’re a songwriter, you could write songs for other musicians, or compose music specifically for film and television.
17. Cover Gigs: Playing cover gigs at bars, restaurants, weddings, and other private events is frowned upon by some Nigerian musicians. But those shows do pay really well, and allow many to get paid to play instruments. There’s no shame in that. Ask Godwin Strings, Yemi Sax, Ed iZycs, Fiokee, and many others.
18. Music Lessons: Many musicians teach their instruments and singing skills to others to help make money throughout their music career. This is a nice way to supplement their income, and allows them to hone their craft at the same time.
19. Appearance fees: Many Nigerian top acts get paid to make appearances at events, red carpets and many more. These appearances give the gathering an air of class, which the promoters can use to make money.
20. Brand Endorsements: Brands engage artistes to market their products via endorsement deals. These deals bring in huge funding, depending on the caliber of the musician.