Gone are those days when we waited on the traditional means of radio and TV media to be our major sources for dispensing (new) music. Since the event of the internet and honing pretty much everything else under it’s digital space, music distribution has risen to the reigns of a whole new and entirely different level.
With platforms like music blogs, music apps and software packages iTunes, Spinlet, Amazon et al, a variety of networking access has been created to reaching a wide area of consumers. Although piracy has become the biggest and yet-to-be-tackled challenge of music marketing, it appears to be the more preferred means of delivering the music, fast and efficiently. For a third world country like ours where we’re yet to fully grasp not to talk of embracing technological wonder, it divides the consumer market and makes it hard to generate the due revenue from digital sales.
Of late, artistes and their management have decried a constant issue with bloggers that they have been plagued with since their emergence on the industry’s scene. Blogs generally are the trusted source when it comes to hosting of songs online with links to copping a download for free. Emerging artistes even subscribe to same with the yardstick being to register their presence and ultimately build levels of prominence via products that are released online to the visiting community. There’s a periodical high influx of materials that end up on various online platforms, returning with millions worth of download in music material. Even though the sense of a monetary value that can be derived is non-negligible, should this modus operandi be monetized?
Coming home, data package services are offered at a pay-through-your-nose cost. So is noteworthy to keep being exploited by reason of our musical choices? Let’s talk albums for a bit. I was recently at a function where key industry players frowned at the typical nature of how a blogger business operates. Illegal downloads turned out to be the catch phrase that kept flying front, left and center ! Well, they may be right but as adjudged by some of my counterparts, not that they cared about the rights or channels of procurement, all they kept hitting on was the incured cost. “Is it because it is free? How then is it free? Don’t I have to buy subscription on my device in order to access these offers online?” A lot of these and more were the thoughts they shared. Another thing I noticed (you must have too) is that these albums put out on digital distribution platforms and costing as much as N2000 thereabout on some, are offered on a homebased platform at a slashed discount well below 10%. It goes for N125. Now, with this knowledge will my first point of call be the place where it goes for $9.99? Obviously NOT! I’m Nigerian du-uh.
While I remain clueless as to what factors this thing depends on, I must point out that individual thoughts and then location are somehow involved. Those who are digitally minded would prefer to access materials via that medium. But for the orthodox practitioners, Alaba would always suffice where they can cop hard copies at N100 per piece and still enjoy what Mr X got at an extra data cost to access the internet and $9.99 to own a soft copy. This recent growing concern presents itself to me like a farce because before the sense of monetizing the music is brought to forbearance, we should ask ourselves if such extravagance in purchasing cost is totally worth the nature of the music we’re selling? It is in my opinion that whatever decision should be based on the consumer market. How many of us really fancy paying $9.99 for an album? How many of us even care much to buy digital albums let alone for $9.99? Even if I can afford it, what about the majority of the market whose prowess do not lie in evolving new media trends? How do I expect Iya Arugbo to own a copy of Baba Hafusa? Do I expect her to buy at $9.99 when she can get it N100?
You can see that the industry hasn’t thought this thing through. And until they do, piracy will continue to thrive unless their emphasis shifts from monetizing the music first. I’m tempted to delve into other surrounding issues that are a culmination of several anomalies starting with our economy and the ruling administration, value of our naira, our music orientation and all that shandalooloo but I’d rather not. I dunno about you but at the point this industry and our economy is right now, I WILL NOT BUY A NIGERIAN ALBUM FOR $9.99!