Unmasking a new villain in the fight against piracy in Nigeria


I think it’s really ironic that when we talk about piracy in Nigeria, we always talk about the dealers in markets like Alaba and other places. To almost everyone in the Nigerian music industry, entertainment writers and even the government, music piracy seems to start and end with local vendors in retail markets replicating people’s songs without paying royalties to musicians. Nothing can be further from the truth!

As an avid industry supporter and stakeholder who has invested millions in the careers of many artists over the past 2 years, I am of the opinion that we have all allowed ourselves to feed the red herring and misdirection of piracy that is likely they are born of ignorance, fear or simple deception of our leaders in this fight.

As we can all attest, radio stations are a very important part of our musical and entertainment life in Nigeria. With over 300 radio stations blasting music 24 hours a day, I remain perplexed that we care about Alaba royalties when the real money should be sought from radio and TV stations. After all, the law is very clear that royalties MUST be paid to different copyright owners every time music is played on the air.

Radio stations, by definition, are large consumers of musical works. The programming of most radio stations is more than 90% music. The main thing they are selling to the public is music. Listeners tune in to stations like Rhythm FM Wazobia, Classic FM, Eko FM, Inspiration FM, etc. Mainly to listen to music. Companies and advertising companies also advertise on radio stations because they are reaching their target market with music. Radio stations will die overnight without music for their listeners. For us to understand the critical component of music for radio stations, try to imagine a Rhythm FM, Classic FM, Raypower or Wazobia FM without playing music for just one month. I guarantee you EVERYONE will be out of business long before then. However, what efforts are these stations making to pay the correct royalties to those who use their talents and resources to create this music?

Now, the irony of all this is that while these radio stations budget billions of naira each year for salaries, fuel, transportation, repairs, equipment, etc., they barely mention paying royalties to local artists in their budget allocations. . If they did, the artists don’t know or haven’t felt it. I think the time is right for us to publicly challenge these radio stations on how much they spend as operating expenses each year and what percentage of that goes to pay for the larger raw material (i.e. music) that they have been using to prepare their programming.

For those who still need context to understand how big this overlooked elephant is, I’ll give you the example of a CAR DEALERSHIP. The main thing the car dealer sells is cars. Now, imagine a car dealer preparing a budget for the year with no budget for car purchases! Or imagine a fashion designer store that prepares a budget for the year without providing any budget for purchasing clothing fabrics. Or better yet, imagine a newspaper company planning a budget without anticipating the purchase of newsprint. Yet that is what happens in the boardrooms of most Nigerian radio stations. They just take music for granted simply because most of our artists are ignorant and desperate for their music to be played.

So royalty payments for music played on radio stations remained a huge elephant in the radio room that we’ve ignored for years in this country and I think it’s about time someone started addressing this gigantic elephant if Will we ever have fairness? and justice in this country.
While Alaba’s fight against pirates is certainly a good one, I think a more rewarding piracy war should be declared against music-based radio stations and TV shows in 2011. This fight is a much better fight for artists and management companies because the chances of winning and getting paid are much higher than fighting ghosts and vicious faceless alaba pirates that no one seems to identify. Radio stations, on the other hand, have names and have identifiable owners. Radio stations are regulated by the government, which can force them to do the right thing. Radio stations are physical entities that can be singled out and boycotted. So why do we leave the elephant unfed in the radio rooms while chasing ghosts in Alaba? I believe that the resources of the government, artists, lawyers and collection societies should be focused on radio stations, music and television programs in 2011. We have a better chance of winning that fight!
Therefore, I suggest that instead of COSON boss Tony Okoroji and MCSN’s Mr. Mayo Ayilaran tearing each other apart over the issue of who should collect royalties, they should come together to make sure our radio stations feed the big elephant in radio rooms. across the country. I also suggest that if the new NIGERIA COPYRIGHT COMMISSION wants to write its name in history, it should ‘enter’ radio rooms across the country with appropriate regulations and demand that the royalty elephant be fed to Nigerian artists…
Of course, I understand that many of the big names in the music industry are too afraid to confront radio stations and demand justice due to their reasonable fear that their artists may be blacklisted by these radio stations. , but I think this fight can be depersonalized if the ENTIRE industry joins the fight in a concerted effort using every legal means at our disposal, including the machinery of the state, lawsuits, boycotts, sit-ins, and picketing of whatever station is refuse to do the right thing…

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