The under-the-table transaction to manipulate airplay is regarded as dirty by many creators of content who believe their work is good enough to merit airplay. But unfortunately, Payola, which is the practice of bribing someone in return for the unofficial promotion of a product in the media, has been institutionalized in Nigeria’s music scene with chilling stories of disaffection from the affected parties. One of such is the head honcho of Bellyflow Entertainment, Bello Adebowale Yusuf, a record label with a vast experience in the Nigerian music industry.
Bello Yusuf poured out his frustration in a recent press parley in Lagos, saying it is a development that is stiffening the growth of the music industry.
He said, “I think the radio, TV should please stop depending on payola for everything. They should have a platform and foundation where upcoming acts can get their songs played as far as it is good music, not everything should be money, money, money. The radio stations in Nigeria don’t even pay artists for playing their music like others abroad do, instead the upcoming artists and even established artists pay the radio stations to play their songs. It’s a very, very painful development that kills young dreams.”
“Unfortunately, it persists, and talented acts are made to pay outrageous sums of money for meager spins. The Nigerian music industry should do its utmost best to abolish this or reduce it to the most minimal level,” he added.
Speaking further, the Bellyflow Entertainment boss raised alarm on the exorbitant charges artists and their handlers are charged for airplay. He said an artist has to pay millions to have his song aired, regardless of whether the music is good or not.
“ Promotion cost is getting out of hand. I wish it could be cut down to manageable and reasonable level. Imagine, if you want an artist to blow now, you have to be prepared to spend between 15 to 20 million naira. Just for a song to have adequate rotation on several platforms. And I’m not talking about promoting a bad song here, I ‘m talking about a really good song. It used to be around 7-8 million back in the days, but now it has shot through the roof. Now, every in the process wants money. If you ask me, I don’t think playing a good song on radio should cost money. If anything, ity is the radio that should pay the artist, that’s how it is done in sane climes,” he said.