For the last three years, performing artists and telecommunication companies in the country have been recording revenue in millions of Naira from mobile phones ringtones sales to mobile phones users. The figure of active mobiles in Nigeria was estimated at 155 million as at March 2017.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in a report published in 2016, estimated that Nigeria’s music industry was worth $47 million in 2015 and should rise to $86 million by 2020, and note strongly that majority of the revenues are from ringtones and ringback tones subscriptions.
Music Ringtones Market in Nigeria
The Nigerian music ringtones market was estimated to have generated over N9 billion in 2014, through monetization of caller tunes, and expected to grow with the increasing smartphones penetration rate in the country.
Most Nigerians find it cheap to download songs of their favourite artists for as low as N50 ($0.25), hence making it a viable business for Nigerian musicians and telecommunication companies. Instead of hearing a beep while waiting for a caller to pick up, companies play the latest releases and offer them for download.
While commenting on the development,MTN Nigeria’s Marketing Director, Richard Iweanoge, noted that: “There are lots of talented musicians on this market who had issues with piracy, it was difficult for them to sell their music.”
“We enable them to monetise the work. Every year we pay out more money to the artists, it’s really a working formula,” he said.
According to the PwC report, majority of revenue to artists comes from monetization of their music on the mobile platforms and ringtone downloads.
This fact was confirmed by Phizbarz, an upcoming Wannabaz artiste, whose music creations are being converted into ringtones by telephone companies. These telephones companies later sell them individually and pay him and his label 60 percent of the profits.
Phizbarz further revealed that he earns about 50,000 naira ($164, 150 euros) a month, one he considers decent wage.
At present, most songs are released for digital consumption in the country as upcoming artists now placed importance in using social media platforms to publish their works, rather than the traditional album route.
According to staffs of MTN Nigeria and Globacom, who craved anonymity, both companies are looking to expand music streaming business as international music promoters such as Sony, are vigorously aiming to dominate this market.