Ré Thoughts: Are Nigerian OAPs doing enough to shape the music industry?

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Please where is the music police? Most of you watch E!’s “Fashion Police” and observe the way they address the fashion expressions and styles of the stars. Their examinations and interrogations have altered the fashion sense of some of us who in a million years will never have our names mentioned or photos flashed on the show for judgement. In Nigeria, a renegade of fashion police is already in motion, but where is the Nigerian Music Authority (NMA)?

Radio is usually the first route through which music is distributed. It is also a channel where the on-air-personalities (OAP) interview these music creators. There’s a lot of confusion with what exactly the responsibilities of the OAPs are. Do they just play us songs? Give us gist? Brag on air about how close they are to this and that celebrity? The real question is why are they not exercising their power of in-depth investigations behind the music and the mind responsible for the tune.

We don’t want groupies, what we want are individuals who can hold this creativity to account. In the past, if an OAP said a song was sh*t, everyone would listen and accept this.

The poorly produced atrocities of sound being distributed into the music scene are alarming. The sheer ignorance of this is doubtlessly offensive. With all governments and institutions, there are gatekeepers, well there are supposed to be who look out for the people and call out those who push below par products or services. There are also forces who influence and guide the cultural impact on the people.

Last week, sports journalist and hip-hop head Steve Dede took to Twitter to highlight the problems of the music authority. See his tweets below:

Agree or disagree? Dede points out how the Nigerian radio industry has become more focused on being gossip columnists rather than influencers. It’s alright if they tell us about the baby mamas of a celebrity, and his/her cars but we want to know more about his/her creativity, we want facts. We want the ‘hard talk’. He also acknowledges a new movement of critics.

He notes a key fact about how the new influencers are the bloggers and Twitter music heads. If these social media commentators are shaping music online, who is shaping music offline? I’m not saying it’s all radio personalities who don’t do enough. There are a few OAPs who take their roles as officers of the Nigeria Music Authority (NMA) seriously. There’s broadcast veteran Olisa Adibua who we’ve heard and seen (on online series “The Truth“) put musicians literally on a hot seat and asks them questions most of us would be afraid to even voice out. Just yesterday, I was listening to Smooth FM yesterday and Shade Ladipo alongside a panel give their honest opinions about a song produced by one of the biggest producers in Nigeria. Although I disagreed with some of their reviews, I loved the debate.

Quite frankly, all we want is change. We want musicians to stop cheating us and dishing out cheap lyrics, recycled beats and bad performances. Personally I like to respect people’s art, but criticism must be made for there to be growth and progress.

Our Nigerian OAPs should make our producers and musicians more accountable to us music lovers. If it’s all about entertainment, I strongly believe there will be more listenership, engagement, talkability and amusement with constructive criticism, reviews and in-depth interviews from our OAPs.

This void of music critics and reviewers offline must be filled once again.

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