I was originally going to title this Nigerian Artists and Bloggers but then I realized that this trend cuts across the music genre into other celebrities but we’ll mostly be discussing the artists and delve into other areas sparingly.
Once upon a time, there were very few Nigerian blogs focused on entertainment. The internet accessibility was relatively new in Nigeria, and the BellaNaijas, LindaIkeji, NotJustOk, TruSpots (credit where it’s due) & the likes had more viewers outside of Nigeria than in Nigeria. It was mostly Nigerians and Africans abroad that paid attention to blogs. They were the ones that blogged before it really became a thing to do, they had little impact on Nigerian entertainment, and were just random bleeps in the entertainment world serving a need for most of the diaspora peeps.
Soon enough, many celebrities, artists especially began to realize that going on blogs would get them some publicity (free if I might add), a way for their music to hit millions around the world easily, a way for their name to be buzzing on the internet and they didn’t have to do much work on the internet for it. A few more blogs came on the scene and due to the competition between major blogs for traffic and hits, bloggers started to form relationships with Artists and record labels, and other celebrities in an attempt to get exclusive info first before others. Vice versa a lot of artists see this as free promo with the blog audience growing and growing. This is where part of the problem started.
You see when an artist is upcoming, he/she (or their team) tries their best to form relationships with media people. Radio, TV, Promoters, and yes bloggers. Numbers and BB pins are exchanged and there is pseudo-feeling of “na my guy be that“, and “the peeps from xyz blog are my peeps.” As for the blogger? It’s an investment. You just never know who will blow tomorrow, and having a good relationship with xyz celebrity means that you can get xyz exclusive content from them before your competitors. But the more blogs that spring up, the harder it is to have/keep these relationships and exclusive content, and the major blogs that cant get as much exclusive content do other things to distinguish themselves from the rest. Reinvest and evolve (if you will). Here in lies the confusion.
You see the bloggers own blogs to serve the masses. The audience is the general population of internet users (mostly in Nigeria), and those are the ones who put the hits, that translates to higher rankings that translates to dollars. I mean finally it’s a business yea? So let’s say xyz big blog starts a review column and starts to critic songs. What now happens when it’s time to review the song “your person” dropped. Do you give an honest review which you owe your audience or do you give a review that will keep your relationship with said artist intact? If you give a kiss-ass review, you risk your audience not taking you seriously and consequently heading to another source for credible information. If you give a very honest review that is not favorable, then the artist will get upset with you, and in some cases take to social media to call bloggers “not credible, and just 1 man’s opinion.” Artists getting mad at bloggers, magazines etc is not a Nigerian problem (Rick Ross, TI, Jay-Z have all called out bloggers once upon a time), but in Nigeria it seems a bit more of a problem due to the close contact bloggers have with celebrities.
On any given day in most blogger’s email are press releases sent by representatives of the celebrities indicating new songs, new endorsements, new movies, photo-shoots, magazine spreads, leaks (yes leaks) etc. So you know those in the entertainment world (or those wanting to be in entertainment) want to be in the buzz, want to use the medium these bloggers have, if not our emails will be empty everyday. So it becomes a bit odd and puzzling when some celebrities take to social media to bash blogs or take shots at their credibility. Granted there are a lot of bad blogs, but not all.
Recently NotJustOk put out a list of top 10 most gifted rappers in Nigeria, and the backlash from some rappers not on the list or not high enough kind of left me pretty disgusted. Fine it’s one thing to question the list, who should be on there and not on there etc, but it’s another thing to take aim at the credibility of the site and make statements like “say, just a blog“, “anyone can own a blog and say anything“, “they don’t know anything about music“. I mean I didn’t even agree with the full list, and technically NotJustOk are our “competition” but I’ll go out on a limb and say anyone that has been blogging about music (strictly) for 5+ years has to know a thing or 2 about music. The music that sells and the music that’s good. Why? Because bloggers get the see first hand the reactions from fans. The hits, the comments, the download stats, the love etc. So if anything, they know which artists/songs are liked and those that are not liked.
This probably wont be the last of this kind of episode. Someone will call LindaIkeji a “failed blogger” if she reports a story that makes abc celeb look bad , and another will send her the new photo-shoot from magazine efg, or pictures of the new car they just bought. Someone else will say Jaguda.com is a dead site, and another will send an email saying “Exclusive leak.” A blogger will follow a new artist that is buzzing and become cool with them and get exclusive interview and scoop, but one day if the artist drops something “wack”, same blogger might give an honest review on it, and risk ruffling some feathers. I might be saying too much, but it is what it is. It the cycle.
It’s a love hate relationship that continues to exist between celebrities and bloggers and wont end till there is some sort of distance and understanding of what is to be gained from each other, and the respect of each other’s craft and role in entertainment, no matter how big or small. The blogger is there for a reason, and his/her job can’t be underestimated, and consequently ‘no entertainment world, no entertainment blog’. Mutual benefits if you will, but as of right now, lack of mutual understanding.
It’s all entertainment.
Peace out. Aribaba (@aribabaj)
Note: Not all blogs fall into the category of what I just wrote. This is just a general view. Disclaimer said.
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