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1.0 Introduction Nelson (2010), making reference to a Music quote by Henry Giles, mentioned that “A song will outlive all sermons in the memory”. “Every song is like a painting”, Dale (2013) and every picture tells a story. Also, “Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty because Magical music never leaves the memory”, Beecham (2015). Songwriting may mean different things to different songwriters and at different times. Songwriting, like any other creative endeavor, can be meaningful in a variety of ways. So while there are some objective ways to determine “good” or “bad” when it comes to songwriting, it is also a creative space open to a myriad of options. “A Creative mind has the ability to make discoveries and create innovations”, Rivera, (2014). 1.1 Background to the Study The American Heritage Dictionary of English language, 5thEdition, (2013) defines a songwriter as one who writes lyrics or tunes (or both). They are often referred to as ballad makers, tunesmiths, composers – someone who writes the lyrics and usually the Music of Songs. To some extent a songwriter is much like a storyteller and the listeners are his captive audience. Most songs revolve around a central theme such as love, friendship, struggle, triumph, or other forms of experiences, etc. Every song tells a different story while each song usually contains an atom or
atoms of uniqueness which makes them differ from the works of other composers and songwriters. However, Songwriting refers to the art of writing the music and words of song and/or with the aid of a musical instrument (usually a Guitar or Piano) to create a new idea in the form of a song. Cobb (2016) opined that Songwriting can be understood as a form of sensual reflection and enquiry, one that synthesizes the emotional and evocative properties of both Music and Language. Songwriters perceive Songwriting as a creative process that serves as an embodied vehicle through which we can assign meaning to physical and emotional experiences. The Songwriters engage the intellectual, physical and the emotional faculties in the songs created and that explains why people can relate intimately with the creative songs, based on the fact that they may also have had similar experiences.
The business of songwriting has been in existence within times and climes. It appears to be lucrative for those who got involved in the business. Some of the key players that are involved in songwriting business are the Songwriter, the Recording Artist and the Music Publisher. “In order for one to be successful in the music business, it all begins with a song”, BMI web, (2016). However, the question is “what role does the songwriter play in that process”? This remains part of the concerns raised by this study.
While Songwriting business remains a very lucrative business in a properly functioning musical society such as the United States and other developed societies as observed by Holman, (2016), this may not be true with regards to the Nigerian entertainment industry where the Record Labels seems to be everything in artiste management, ranging from the role of Artist manager to the
publicist, the songwriter, the media personnel, among others. Hence the songwriter is left with no opportunity to thrive within such a society like Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The importance of recognizing the creative art of Songwriting and its attendant roles in ensuring the establishment, growth, success and sustainability of the Nigerian Music Artiste cannot be overemphasized. However, Songwriting as a career path in Nigeria is still plagued by numerous constraints. On the one hand, is the attitude of many Record Labels that play seemingly omnibus roles for the artiste signed to their Label instead of acknowledging the existence of other professional departments that relate directly to the recording processes and engaging such for the overall success of the recording and the Artiste’s make up. On the other hand, is the Artiste who may choose to be everything for himself, ranging from being the Record Label Chief Executive, to the producer, the studio engineer, the publicist and the marketer, among others. Another observable factor is the cultural environment of the Nigerian Music industry which does not encourage such a career path to thrive. However, if the Songwriting business as a very lucrative aspect of the Entertainment industry is not properly identified and harnessed, it may undermine professionalism and the overall growth and sustainability of the industry. The foregoing has constituted a major concern of this study, hence, the need for an appraisal of Professional Songwriting in the Nigerian Music Industry.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the effects of professional songwriting on the Nigerian Music Industry. Its specific objectives are to: i. Examine the challenges of songwriting as a career in the Nigerian Music society ii. Identify the prospects of songwriting as a professional career in Nigeria
iii. Review the influence of the existing songwriters on the growth and development of the Nigerian Music industry. iv. Underscore the continued relevance of Songwriting to the Nigerian Music Industry.
1.4 Research Question
This study’s research Questions are as follows:
i. What are the challenges of Songwriting as a career in the Nigerian society?
ii. Are there any prospects in Songwriting as a professional career in Nigeria?
iii. What influence have the existing Songwriters made on the growth and development of the Nigerian Music Industry?
iv. Of what continued relevance is Songwriting to the Nigerian Music industry?
1.5 Significance of the Study This study is significant in ways that are beneficial to both the artiste and record label in that the songs written could determine if the artiste and label will grow and last in the industry, depending on the effects the songs created make. Also, the Nigerian Music industry can improve greatly in terms of growth, dynamism and variety in their wealth of creativity and in quality
production as well as creation of songs that will be evergreen whenever they are played or heard. Examining the State of Professional Songwriting is a significant aspect of this study as it will look at the nature and current practices of the Nigerian Music industry, the challenges faced by the songwriter, the benefits accrued to the career and the various personal traits/skills that ensure success in the career. It will identify some ways in which songwriters can improve the Nigerian Music industry and themselves too. It is also significant to the songwriter as the study will explore some of the ways that songwriters can earn royalties for their work and at the same time, be professional while at it.
1.6 Scope of the Study The scope of this study is on the teeming youths that constitute the majority of music enthusiasts, music consumers and music collectors, and a marked section of the working class residing in the South-West part of Nigeria. It also focused on some of the challenges of Songwriting as a career, the prospects and continued relevance of Songwriting to the Nigerian Music Industry as well as some Notable Nigerian Songwriters and their contributions to the growth of the Music Industry of Nigeria.