The hurdles which exceptional Nigerian music talents had to go over to get noticed, was once as rigorous as it was for old miners prospecting for mineral deposits, and other natural resources.
Reading the life stories told by the few musicians who dominated the music scene, exposed the grueling process most had to pass through while chasing their dreams of becoming musicians.
Due to this factor, and other societal bias towards musicians, many young Nigerians growing up in the early 2000’s were discouraged by their parents if they expressed their desires to become musicians, regardless of if they were clearly talented.
As a result, it seemed to be that there was a limited amount of exceptional talent in the Nigerian music talent pool, because very few individuals were able to break out, compared to the foreign music scene that seemed to continually churn out new talents.
Although, some platforms like music talent shows later became available for musically talented individuals to showcase themselves, the gatekeepers of the music industry, which were mainly the music labels and media companies, held on tightly to the keys that determined whose pathway to limelight would be unlocked.
This wasn’t peculiar to the Nigerian music scene alone; it was also the norm on the global music scene. The difference between Nigerian and foreign music labels was the higher number of world dominant foreign music labels, and more importantly, they had the financial muscle to support the rise of as many talented musicians as they wanted.
Despite tagging the music labels as gatekeepers who only looked out for their own interests, it can be argued that the Nigerian music labels were not running charity organisations with the aim of providing platforms for exposure to the horde of musically talented individuals in the country.
They were running business enterprises, and being that there wasn’t adequate financial backing, they had limited margin for error regarding which music talents they would invest in, who could then record massive commercial success, and in the process, give the music labels huge returns on their investment.
As it said that change is constant in everything, so also has the norm changed on the world music scene as regards the pathway to exposure for exceptional music talents, and Nigerian music has also been affected by this change.
Technological disruption of the music scene brought about the much-needed change required for exceptional music talents to access a wide audience without the support of the music labels.
This technological disruption came in form of the advent of music streaming platforms like Soundcloud, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Audiomack, among others. Through these easily accessible music platforms, anyone can upload their music online, and even receive payment for the number of times their music gets streamed.
An even bigger technological disruption came in form of social media platforms like Twitter, and not only unknown music talents have been making use of it to put themselves out there, even the established music acts make use of it, and benefit from it.
Recently, there has been a huge surge in the number of exceptional talents in Nigerian music, this is not to claim that there are no more difficulties involved in kickstarting a music career, but there is now a better chance of getting your music noticed without being signed to any record label.
The technological disruption of the music status quo unearthed a mine of exceptional music talents, and without even having to dig, anyone can simply go online to check out numerous individuals who post their content daily to find new musical gems.
After being found, these diamonds in the rough then have the option of either signing with established music record labels, or leverage on these platforms to establish themselves as independent music artistes.
Compared to early 2000’s, the prospects of aspiring young Nigerian musicians have greatly improved in recent times, and these young talents only have to look back at the hurdles their predecessors had to scale in order to appreciate the resources now available to them, and ensure that they exploit every opportunity it brings their way.