AFRICAN TIME IS KILLING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY


By Minister Sam (Music Journalist, Critic and Pop Culture Enthusiast)

We live in a country where patience reigns supreme. A place where the national budget gets unattended to, even after the first quarter of the year. A place where a live show begins hours later than planned. A society where poor time management is the order of the day, and so, everything goes. Little wonder why we are regarded as the 'Giant Of Africa'.

Nigerians generally have this abominable attitude of not keeping to time. Whether it is the event organizer, or attendee, nobody likes being the first to attend a function. And this lawless practice is gradually killing the music industry.

I watched with great disgust, Ycee's performance at the 2015 Headies Award ceremony. For an event slated to start by 6pm (a live show for that matter), nothing really started happening until after 11pm. By then, a then upcoming act, who was still basking in the success of his hit single, "Jagaban", took to the stage. Ycee was made to perform in front of empty seats, simply because invited guests had not yet arrived, and the event's organizers seemingly lost patience. The worst part of it all was the time the event closed: 3:35am. What a shame!

Two years forward, one would have predicted that things would get better, but Nigerians, who have been conditioned to operate a system of mediocrity and unprofessionalism, will never fail to disappoint. They even took that Eko Hotel behaviour to London, and got disgraced.

Unfortunately, in developed countries like London, time is money and there is zero tolerance for indiscipline. A Nigerian show promoter, and entertainment mogul, Paul Okoye, and his firm, Upfront & Personal Global Management Consultants, organized the London leg of the highly anticipated 'One Africa Music Fest', which was a success in the United States, on the 13th of May 2017. But something went wrong at the SSE Arena, Wembley, the venue for the show. You guessed right...poor timing. The concert scheduled to start by 7pm didn't kick off until 8:20pm. For a star-studded event of this magnitude, that had 21 artistes and 4 DJs' on the lineup, fitting these performances into the concert was going to be a struggle. It wouldn't have been a problem in Nigeria though.

In the UK, every single second counts, and people are held accountable for their actions. Apparently, the show organizers had been given a set time to adhere to by the owners of the venue, but they flopped!  Phyno, Olamide and Davido were rushed into their performances, leaving thousands of African music lovers unsatisfied. Time was against the concert, but the organizers were allowed 20 minutes extra to wrap up the show. But they still failed to take advantage. Flavour and Psquare had just started performing when the powers in Wembley had had enough. They were disgraced out of the venue, and as fans waited for a miracle to happen, they were met with their worst nightmare; stage technicians dismantling the stage, right in front of them.

The power cut was disastrous for Jidenna, who could not perform because of the mismanaged time. The Nigerian US-based singer addressed the issue on Twitter. He wrote: "I was supposed to perform tonight but the show was cut off as I waited backstage. I'm disappointed that London wasn't able to see me tonight. Regardless of whose to blame, to make this our time we must be on time #OneAfrica."

This 'African Time' mentality poses serious threats to the growth of our music industry. Asides ruining our chances of gaining worldwide attention for our music, which the likes of WizKid and Fela have worked tirelessly for, as Jidenna noted, we are only going to leave fans shortchanged, exhausted, and eventually unhappy after every event.

Or wait! Do the fans even care? Aren't they part of the system too? Concert-goers rarely care about how much of their time has been wasted, waiting for their favourite music star, as soon as these artistes get on stage. So they don't complain. After all, that is why they are here in the first place. They dare not get angry with the celebrities they idolize and would die for. Would they? Such is the extent of admiration Nigerians feel for these creatives.

African time is killing the music industry, but nobody cares...not even the fans.

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