It was Saturday night on the 15th of December, 2018, and the hall was filled with fans of all ages. The crowd was in a state of frenzy, having been wowed by some of Nigeria’s biggest artistes of 2018. Among those who already performed was Teni whose popular song “Case” got the crowd singing along like it resonated with everything that was 2018 for them.
Tiwa Savage, by far the biggest female act in Nigeria and arguably the biggest in Africa had also performed and was so energised by the crowd that she took off her heels, giving her the right balance to show off her dancing skills.
Burna Boy, who many believe shone the most for most part of the year with hits upon hits, hit the stage hopping from one end to another while dishing out songs the crowd so loved.
Just as the crowd thought that was the peak of the event, the MC announced that another surprise act was indeed on his way, boisterously informing the crowd that, “they aint seen nothing yet.”
As DJ Spinall held everyone spellbound with renditions of more hits from his turntable, a group of heavy looking security agents sneaked in someone covered with a white sheet into the back stage.
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Unbeknownst to the already charged up crowd, Nigeria’s biggest act of 2018, WizKid, was in the building. As he appeared on stage, the crowd went wild in hysteria, surging to the stage once again with their mobile phones to catch a glimpse of the mega star.
This was no ordinary crowd. It included top corporate executives, CEOs, directors of banks and other NSE 30 companies. Executive and Senior Management staff all seated by the VVIP close enough to the stage. Behind the cordoned VVIP area and to the left of the stage were employees, their family and friends all dressed glam to one of the biggest and most anticipated corporate parties of 2018. It was the Access Bank party.
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The multi-million naira business surrounding corporate parties
In Nigeria, particularly the commercial capital of Lagos, corporate parties have become much-awaited events in December every year. It is an opportunity for companies to party hard after a challenging year. Corporate parties transcend economic events like recession, devaluation, banking crisis or fall in oil prices. No matter how tumultuous the year may have been, corporate behemoths in the financial services, oil and gas, and telecoms sectors take their time to splash tens of millions organising end of the year parties (EOYP, its widely used acronym).
Among those who benefit immensely from the budget for EOYP are Nigerian artistes such as those who performed at the Access Bank party. According to estimates, these artistes command from N3 million to as high as N20 million per show.
In fact, sources with knowledge of how much was paid to some of the artistes, inform Nairametrics that Teni collects as much as N3 million. Burna Boy, one of the star acts of 2018 commands as high as N14 million per performance. A-list artistes like WizKid and Davido command as high as N20 million per performance, exclusive of transport fare. Both artistes prefer to fly in rented private jets to enable them get to their destinations within and outside the country.
In one of the major parties of 2018, Burna Boy who was slightly late for his performance was said to have appeared in about 9 other shows that night. By the time he appeared on stage, keen observers noticed that he was already tired but most of the fans were too frenzied to observe. On that night alone, he is estimated to have made about N140 million (assuming the N14 million fee).
By Nairametrics’ estimates, Nigerian artistes may have earned over N1 billion alone from End of the Year Parties. No official figures exist, thus we had to rely on our own base case estimates.
Doing the maths
The math is not difficult to comprehend and some of us believe that they may have made even more. Wizkid for example, attended not less than 10 of these mega shows, putting him on track to earn over N200 million. Davido, another A-list act, is on track to earn over N200 million also. Between these two, corporate Nigeria may have splashed about N400 million to have them on stage perform for no more than 30 minutes. Add Burna boy’s estimated N140 million and we have crossed the N500 million marker.
Some of these artistes also hosted their own shows in Lagos and Abuja with sold out venues. Tickets were as high as N25k per person for VVIP and were mostly sold out. One attendee to the Burna Boy show spent N50k for a ticket with a face value of N15k on the day of the event.
These shows also had several corporate organisations as either partners or corporate sponsors adding to the amount the artiste could take home.
Other artistes who we tracked that appeared on some of these events include the likes of Kizz Daniel, Olamide, Simi, Wande Coal, Falz, Adekunle Gold, Mayorkun, Small Doctor, Run Town, Victor AD and legends like 2baba, MI and D’Banj. Some of these musicians made an average of N50 million each this December, by our estimates.
Nigerian Music has indeed come a long way, with the industry projected to be among the fasted growing in the country in the next 5 years.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that Nigeria’s arts and entertainment industry contributed about 0.24% of GDP or about N152 billion. The industry is still largely unstructured, and analysts believe that there is still a lot of room for growth.
Suffice to add that the relationship between corporate Nigeria and Nigerian musicians is not always rosy.
At the Zenith Bank fashion show over the weekend, star artiste, Burna Boy was reportedly late and threw tantrums at those who bothered to question him. He reportedly asked his manager to refund the money they paid him. After all, 2018 was so rewarding there is even more money to be made in 2019.
As corporate Nigeria ushers in 2019, it’s back to business in earnest. In an election year full of uncertainty, the markets are expected to continue where they stopped in 2018. The Nigerian Stock Exchange closed the year about 17% down, compared to a bumper 2017. Oil prices are set to fall even lower and there are rumours of a potential devaluation of the Naira.
For Access Bank, the focus has already shifted to the biggest merger in Nigeria’s financial services sector. The title of being the largest bank in Nigeria is not an easy crown to carry. The burgeoning Fintech industry could finally change the way we spend money and perhaps pay artistes. What we know for certain is that corporate Nigeria will continue to be a source of revenue for the Nigerian Music Industry. It’s a deep rooted relationship buttered by mutual benefits.