For a very long time, corporate businesses in Nigeria stayed away from openly supporting gospel music. Unlike their counterparts in some African nations like South Africa and Ghana, the corporate big wigs in Nigeria did not just want to associate with the gospel music scene for certain reasons that some might say is obvious and others might be perplexed about.
That narrative might have changed in the last few years visibly since the advent of The Experience gospel concert. Who knew gospel music had such massive following? Well, some of us did. In fact many knew that gospel music has and is predominantly the most listened to kind of music in Nigeria, but up until The Experience concert, our expressions and opinions were secluded within the four walls of our various churches, most times hindered by denominational-ism – another big challenge with the church(let’s leave that for another day). But like I always say, music is the only thing in Christendom that defies denominational barriers.
Subsequently, due to the immense growth of the concert, corporate bodies began to identify with it’s success. We started seeing brands owning stands at The Experience, rumors even had it that the convener of The Experience concert turned down juicy offers by big blue-chip companies and telecommunications giants from branding the Tafawa Balewa Square. Who wouldn’t go after such a crowd? After all the more people you are able to reach, the more the potential to make money. But if you did not believe in me when I was starting, why would you want to join my success, when I have pulled off 8 editions of the concert? Hello! Keep your money. Jesus is Lord!
Yudala Enters Into The Gospel Music Scene
Enter 2016, Yudala – an Online retail brand floated by Mr Leo-Stan Ekeh, the Chairman of Zinox computers and his Son, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh comes on board and hosts a series of gospel concerts in 3 major cities or 4 if I am not mistaken. Few days after that, they sign Frank Edwards as brand ambassador. We started seeing Yudala online ads with Frank Edwards on it and he was always posting photos of himself at the Yudala stores, encouraging fans to come see him there. After a while, we didn’t see anything, anymore. We are tempted to assume that the contract was over and there was no renewal. Few questions come to mind, was it worth it for them or not? Is gospel music bankable?
Etranzact and The Minstrel App
2017 saw the entrance of e-payment giant eTranzact into the gospel music industry, developing not just an online song selling and distribution platform but a strictly gospel music online sales and distribution platform called – The Minstrels App. That was a brazen move considering the fact that eTranzanct is a secular company, one of Nigeria’s leading ePayment switch.
Few months down the line since the launch of the platform we can’t say what their experience has been in terms of lucrativeness, taking into note the fact that there are various factors militating against online sales, free downloads being the chief of it all. They went ahead to host a grand launch concert in the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites – the holy land of entertainment in Lagos. While enlisting the help of artists, The Minstrel App developers headed by Mr Valentine Obi, the Chief Executive Officer of eTranzact have been campaigning for people to rather buy songs than download free. It’s high some one did that.
These are the two major entrants into the gospel music industry in the past two years. We are yet to know what their experience has been with patronizing gospel music on a corporate level but we hope it was worth it. We look forward to more entrants and investments into the Christian music industry as we grow from thinking it should be free to knowing it should be paid for. A lot of investment is needed to move this industry forward, both corporate and private investments. Structures and systems need to be put in place to make the industry attractive. If you love God like you say you do, start something today to help grow the gospel music industry.
About the author
Martins (Perry) Okonkwo is writer for Gospotainment.com