Streaming, Royalties and Awareness: The Rise of Gospel Music in Nigeria (Part 1)
For a country with a reported over 80 million Christians and is noted for being very religious, it is surprising that it took a while before Christian Gospel music could find its bearing among its peers in Nigeria. Actually, the last statement is an error as the issue was not the music or the Gospel artistes to some extent but the widely held perception that there was no money to be made in Gospel music. This perception was also partly build on the erroneous foundation of the doctrine that Christian should not bother about earthly rewards as their reward is already waiting them in heaven. This doctrine had robbed a lot of Christians back then but thanks to God we are in a different era but truth both eras are not as different as many Christian Gospel artistes still do not believe they can generate revenue off their music.
In truth, music sales dipped at some point worldwide but with the introduction of streaming, music revenue has been going up in recent years even though streaming is now king and the art of buying music is diminishing. In Nigeria however it has taken a while for Nigerians to catch up with the streaming culture, which is not surprising considering the Nigerian music industry also took a while to join the streaming revolution. Alaba had been the main source of income as artistes were flocking there with the hopes of finding a marketer who would pay them to secure the rights to sell their album. The major benefactors were the likes of PSquare, Timaya, 2Baba, D’Banj, gospel artistes such as Midnight Crew, Sammie Okposo, Nathaniel Bassey, Frank Edwards, Tope Alabi and other Gospel heavyweights were able to secure marketing deals which fetched them millions at the time. Though not totally obsolete, this model still exists for very few artistes who still have enough star power to sell CDs.
At that point, Alaba held major sway when it came to the distribution of home movies and music as their extensive network meant they were the best option for any artiste to work with because aside the upfront payment, you were sure your works would get to every nook and cranny of the country. As the world moved towards streaming and Alaba started paying artistes lesser, the industry had to evolve and the evolution has been an eye opener and a source of inspiration for every recording artiste including Gospel artistes.