6 Ways Nigerian Entertainment Can Improve

6 Ways Nigerian Entertainment Can Improve

With Burna boy making history by performing on the Grammys awards stage and the likes of Tems, Davido, Wizkid, Ayra Starr, Asake and Olamide getting multiple nominations recently, it’s never been more obvious how successful the globalization of Afrobeat(s) and Nigerian entertainment has become.

This is Nigeria to world and when it comes to movies, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have brought the world to Nigeria.

What about fashion? According to Euromonitor, Nigeria has a $4.7 billion worth within Sub Saharan Africa.

Nigeria’s entertainment industry is akin to the aloe plant: able to grow in harsh conditions with numerous economic and health benefits for the people. Yes, health benefits, we weren’t the happiest people on earth for nothing.

As a sector which is often devoid of strict government regulation, it finds worldwide success through one of its greatest exports: local talent.
Broadly the industry is divided into movie, music, comedy and fashion though sub divisions exist. Social media and the internet have served as amplifiers of these sections. With most of our art forms taking shape in the 1900s we’ve witnessed massive growth, often driven by individuals or a collective.

Amongst a number of recent milestones in the music industry are Rema’s Calm Down remix which was the first African-led single to reach a billion streams on Spotify in 2023, Burna Boy’s Grammy win and nominations alongside colleagues like Wizkid and Davido who have all become global icons. Nigeria’s always had the soul for art and required more distribution for the next stage of growth.

The movie industry has also risen from humble days at the Alaba international market to an estimated value of about $6.4 billion as of 2021, according to FCMB CEO, Young-Tobi Ekechi. It’s no surprise then, when the minister of art, culture and creative economy Hannatu Musa Musawa says the ministry’s target is a $100 billion contribution by the sector to the nations GDP by 2030. It’s certainly a bold and ambitious target but perhaps if the loopholes are closed and the industry is adequately supported, then a country can dream again.

What’s the way forward? Here are 6 ways Nigerian entertainment can improve and explore the next level.

1. Alternative and Creative Funding Sources

It hardly bears saying but entertainment requires capital. The fairytales of old wherein a young person from humble backgrounds beats the odds with superior talent and makes it big is happening less and less.

The rich get richer cause it takes money to make more money. Nigerian rap legend MI Abaga once got some social media backlash for saying, “…If Nigerian music is left up to the corporate world, we’re dead. We’re finished. Shout-out to all the money that comes from funny places. Shout-out to all the funny politicians.”
The rapper who’s known for his sarcastic quips had been speaking as a label boss who was exposed to the business side of entertainment and his comments und the need for the government and the corporate world to invest in the industry lest it be dominated by unclean funds. This is why the African development bank’s collaboration with the federal government on a roll out $617 Million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises is a welcome development, over which stakeholders have expressed optimism.

2. Building Entertainment Infrastructure

Veteran American Producer Tyler Perry has shared the thrilling story of how he builds massive studios for his movies as he grew in the industry. Entertainment infrastructure is essential to attract investments and more audience to the country. Movies need mega studios and access to near futuristic equipment and expertise to keep up with the global standards match the expectations from growing audiences. Recall, Burna boy and some other artistes have complained about the sound infrastructure in multiple places in the county. This shows that the natural progression from globalization is a raising of standards on the home front as Nigerian artistes who have sold out the O2 in London will always demand better for themselves and for the people. State governments like Akwa Ibom have shown capacity for mega projects like the multi-billion-naira International Worship Centre and the Godswill Akpabio stadium. I reckon it is it not far fetched to expect that states and even the federal government can embark on more mega projects, specifically for entertainment, which would be available for local and international content. This could affect the recent trend of December getways being located at our neighbor’s Ghana rather than the giant of Africa. Though the oil boom distracted the nation from other exports including fashion and textile, it is time for investment in infrastructure to aid large production and innovations.

3. Protection of Entertainment Stakeholders

Artistes, musicians, actors, fashion designers, and many others in the entertainment industry need protection from various kinds of exploitation and harm. Recently veteran music executive ID Cabasa advised upcoming artistes to get a lawyer before anything else and it’s clear from various label-artiste collisions that it’s necessary.
Movie producers also face the stubborn and constant challenge of piracy. Amidst these issues, as entertainers protect themselves and the government enforces laws made for that purpose, the government should also seek to avoid laws that seek to censor or muzzle the industry as art requires freedom of expression.

4. Focusing on Emerging Entertainment Sub-Sectors

At the core of entertainment is story telling. And there are new stories everyday. It’s important to develop a keen eye for stories that are on the verge of exploding and preparing to tap the benefits. For instance, there’s a silent yet significant rise of young Nigerians and Africans in the speculative fiction (fantasy and sci-fi) industry on the international scene. Now would be the time to key in, before foreigners do, because Nigeria now experiences a peculiar situation where our exported talents find it hard to return home when they become familiar with remuneration in foreign currencies. The low hanging fruits must be spotted and plucked, lest it repackaged and sold for twice the price.

5. More Social Media, More documentation

This is a two in one recommendation and basically entails the avoidance of demonizing social media and embracing its positives. Numerous lives have changed overnight due to hobbies and regular posting on social media. Also, Nigeria needs more documentation of our history digitally, to ensure we never forget and never falter.

6. Finally…Government: Security and Economy

It seems an obvious thing to say but we need the government to tackle insecurity and fix the economy. Only the living can entertain and be entertained. Only those who have eaten can watch Nigeria made movies. Only people who have purchasing power can patronize art.
The entertainment industry is a potential gold mine and it is time it gets all the support necessary: whether direct or indirect.

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