Sam Onyemelukwe, MD of music-themed pay TV broadcaster Trace West Africa, has advised young musicians to pursue a respectable living and hone their craft.
Speaking at the sixth annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive), which took place in Lagos yesterday, Onyemelukwe said artists shouldn’t change style simply because theirs may be unprofitable at the time.
“I wouldn’t tell an artist who has been honing their craft for 10 years to suddenly change their style in the 11th year. You never know with these things; an artist can start in one year and make it, whereas another has to hone their craft for 10 years before getting to the limelight,” he told delegates.
“Pursue small things first, go perform at the most popular clubs and bars in your area. Look at your environment, find a part that makes sense. Convince the owner of a club to let you perform, make a deal – bring 20 people weekly and make N10,000 [US$30].
“Collaborate with people, sell your craft. I see up-and-coming artists struggling to be up on stage when they can be making N50,000 a month from distribution and another N50,000 or N70,000 from doing a few shows. Making N200,000 weekly is a respectable living. It also helps you own your craft and build your name. You don’t have to get on a big platform to make it big.”
Once again rejecting rumours that the Trace channels receive money to air music, Onyemelukwe instead highlighted Trace’s JTV.
“We have a service on Trace called JTV. It is our publishing and distribution arm. We have more than 7,000 artists signed to JTV, with 6,900 of them unknown to the public. But they make money and we make money from them.”
Onyemelukwe was a panellist alongside Accelerate TV head Colette Otusheso, entrepreneur Kelvin Orifa and music manager Ubi Franklin in the NECLive panel session called Understanding New Media and Value Based Services.
Trace is one of the leading music channels in Africa and one of the biggest distributors of music videos on the continent. Launched in 2003, it has since become a global and multi-platform entertainment company that connects with audiences across 21 pay TV platforms in over 160 countries to 200 million viewers.