Another lazy afternoon for me, don’t blame me, the rain has been
pouring since like for ever. Ok so am on my bed with my headphones,
off course playing Nigerian music and singing along. Then it occurred
to me, commercial music and the Nigerian mentality. So I decided to do
this article based on my small knowledge and understanding of the
I remember this particular day I tweeted something like “Dbanj is
commercial, so is Asa”. Off course, knowing twitter for what it is, I
got different re tweets. Some people annoyingly k’d my tweet obviously
because they didn’t understand what my point was and were too proud to
ask what I meant, however some really smart ones understood my point
and agreed with me. Also I got some insults as well, you know
Nigerians now, they read different meanings to the tweet. One
specifically told me I was a fool for comparing Asa and Dbanj .
Now let me ask you: is Asa really commercial? Can we use that same
word “commercial” that we use on artistes like Dbanj also on people
like Asa? Before you answer that question, take a few more minutes to
read my view about all this below.
Firstly, I would like to state that “commercial music” is not a genre
of music. Because most times I hear stuffs like “he has gone
commercial” or “he now does commercial music” etc. . . .
Now let’s define the word “commercialize” *runs to consult his dictionary*
To apply business methodology to something in order to profit
To exploit something for maximum gain, sometimes by sacrificing quality.
Did you notice the bolded part in the second definition? Aha yes,
that’s exactly where the problem is, Sacrificing Quality for maximum
gain. Now let’s relate that to music, majority of our Nigerian
artistes nowadays would gladly sacrifice musical content, relevance,
sensible lyrics, just to sell their music and make gain. Do I blame
them? Yes and No. Yes because not all of them have business doing
music, many of them lack the basic talent of music. No, because we all
have been made to believe that if music is not done in a particular
way, if won’t sell and also the “record label” factor is a key factor.
Music is done for different purposes and aimed at different audiences,
but it should be noted that all kinds of music have its own audience,
people who will do anything to hear the kind of music they like. But
off course, the bigger audience is always the party music kind of
audience, little wonder why artistes who do such music are classified
as commercial artistes and that way also bastardize the word
“commercialize”, as we tend to associate the word with music that lack
But then again, let’s look deeper at the definition of “commercialize”
as I quoted above, it has the words “gain” and “profit” in it right?
That takes me to my next question. How many of the artistes who do
party tracks make profits? Or let me say, how many of them dan blow?
Your guess is as good as mine. That particular aspect of music that
seems like the fastest way out to make profit or to blow is already
saturated! Everybody is doing that kind of music, so obviously the
market already has so many suppliers, leaving the other forms of
music/market to starve (wondering what I mean by the other market? My
next paragraph will explain that).
Back to my definition again “To exploit something for maximum gain”.
In this case, we are talking music, so the bolded part above will only
relate to the music fans, music market and audience. So let’s redefine
it with music terms. “To exploit the music market for maximum gain”.
Like I stated in my last paragraph, the party music market already has
too many suppliers, and the market is saturated with that kind of
music. This is where the wise artistes come in, and this is where the
talented artistes show their talents. This is where artistes like
9ice, Asa, 2face and so on come in. this is where originality comes
in, this is where an artiste gets to study the other available markets
and decided to do something different and turn out to be a king of
Commercial music doesn’t mean doing party songs, it doesn’t mean
following the bandwagon in doing a particular kind of music, in fact
if you check well you will notice that it is usually the first
artistes that comes with a unique style that makes the most gain and
profit, all other copy cats usually get to be second best.
Being commercial with your music simply means: studying the large
music market, picking out your own kind of market and giving them the
best you can offer and trust me, you will be king of your own niche.
Checkout 9ice, he’s unarguably the king of his own kind of music and
he’s very commercial, because he sells. Also check out Asa’s kind of
music, she is also unarguably the best in Nigeria with her style of
music, and she’s also commercial because she sells and trust me people
will pay anything to attend her shows. The same thing goes for Dbanj,
Wizkid, Terry g, they all have carved a niche for themselves in the
Nigerian music market, they have their own fans that will gladly but
their works and attend their shows.
The danger of following the bandwagon is that, people will always pick
the originator over you, people tend to label you as a copycat, people
tend to label you as talentless and off course you won’t get the full
dividends of your effort compared to having your own style and your
I guess now you will understand what I mean when I say “D’banj is
commercial, so also is Asa”