From Seyi Shay, Wizkid, MI, 2Face to Davido, it is the same fate in Nigerian music industry: the plague of piracy. Very obvious, there is little or no respect for intellectual property in Nigeria; a frustration which had sent most Nigerian artistes packing. Lagos which is the base of many Nigerian artistes is also a den of pirates, and major markets found in Nigeria’s former capital such as Computer Village and Alaba are known for pirated copies of songs of different artistes who have only made few sales of their original production. In Lagos, the artiste records overnight, he wakes up in the morning to meet thousands of pirated copies of his songs at Computer Village being hawked by a little boy with fairly used laptop.
Not in Lagos alone, in most commercial cities such as Port Harcourt and Kano, legitimates shops are rare. Nobody cares about the legitimacy of the songs they are listening to anyway. The judges, even when there are copyright laws in the constitution, hardly make use of them. “While many countries have courts or jurists focused on intellectual property cases, artists in Nigeria have only in recent years begun to pursue copyright protection. They complain that laws to protect them are so seldom invoked that some judges don’t even know they exist,” Dioonie Searcey wrote.
Though, the fortune of Nigeria artistes have changed over the years. Most telecommunication multinational companies such as Etisalat, MTN, Airtel and GLO have signed many of the artistes as their ambassadors. The predicament of artistes making few sales of the CDs still remains an issue to contend with. No Nigerian artiste has been able survive the plague from 2Face to Wizkid even when few of these artistes have received global recognition, and have been signed by global label such as Sony. Bootlegging has attained an esoteric height and most pirates think they are helping the artistes to get popular.
The space becomes tighter for the up and coming artistes with the issue of piracy on such apex. However, all hope is not lost as the campaign is rive against piracy these days. Even with this, most young artistes still have to pay blogs and websites to upload their music. This has become a tradition for artistes still struggling. Yet, most recognised artistes have passed through this stage.