The Nigerian entertainment industry is a significant contributor to the nation’s economy. It produces an average of 2000 albums of different music genres annually.
Record sales have more than tripled in recent years, averaging $10m in 2005 and rising to an estimated $50m in 2010. Combined total revenues from all sources are estimated at over $200m.
The Nigerian film industry, also known as Nollywood, produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood – more than Hollywood in the United States of America.
Although its revenues are not at par with those of Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood still generates an impressive $590m annually.
Looking at the revenue generated by both arms of the industry, it beats the imagination that artistes receive no lasting dividends for their work. In view of this, the industry, under the aegis of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), organised a joint entertainment conference and investment summit, titled Unveiling the Entertainment Organised Front, in Abuja, at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, on November the 25th 2016.
In his opening address, the guild’s president, Emeka Ike, decried the plight of artistes in Nigeria and pointed out that the value of actors and musicians was not esteemed beyond the stage, as, although their work is constantly used by the public and corporate bodies for different purposes, they get no royalties and little credit.
Ike said that it was a shame that the Nigerian movie industry makes no money from its movies. The essence of the conference, he explained, was, therefore, to discuss ways to ensure artistes are paid, in line with globally accepted standards and practices. Musicians and actors should be worth more than just their stage presence, he insisted.
He advocated that the Guild and the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) be duly represented in the legislature and other policy-making bodies of the government, in order to regulate and implement laws that protect the rights of artistes.
Also speaking, then PMAN president Pretty Okafor (he has since been replaced by Lord-Liege Keston Okoro, elected January 2017) stated the solutions to the industry’s issues to include the establishment of structures that would help industry players in tackling copyright issues. He further listed being paid for music videos downloaded from the internet and enacting and implementing bills protecting the rights of every artiste, amongst others.
Okafor advised musicians and actors to, beyond themselves as individuals, always seek to represent the industry well, as it has a lot to offer Nigeria.
The music industry relies on royalties generated by the licensing of copyrighted songs and recordings as a primary means of payment for musicians. Intellectual property law and licensing systems have gone through significant adjustments in recent years as a result of the advent of digital music, but much of the industry’s old legal framework remains in place, Ike explained.
In attendance were many industry celebrities, including those who are former advisers to governors and legislators.