How to Start Music production in Nigeria - Music producer

Ever thought about Music production in Nigeria, and how it can be not just your side hustle, but a business with great leverage?

Have you always wanted to become a music producer? Do you want to start your own production company?

As with starting a band or establishing yourself as a solo act, there is plenty of long hours and hard work that goes into producing.

But, with careful planning and dedication, you can start your own company that focuses on music production in Nigeria.

Starting an independent music production company requires technical skill, business acumen, industry contacts, knowledge of the music business, marketing and trends and an ear for musical detail and talent.

Most music production companies are independent, as very few are owned or operated by record labels or parent companies.

This piece is just one of our long list of business ideas in Nigeria. For example, you can check out how to start a T-shirt printing business in Nigeria.

How can you start your own music production in Nigeria as a business? Who exactly is a music producer?

Let’s take it from the beginning.

Starting Music Production In Nigeria – The Music Producer

A music producer is a person who looks after and oversees the whole process of a music production.

This process includes writing the music for the production, recording it, the artist performance, marketing, and promoting the artist and the music, ensuring success for all the work of the artiste.

Music production in Nigeria - Duties of the music producer

The music producer is responsible for managing a piece of music till it reaches the final product, which is why most times some major music skill sets are needed for the job.

The role of music producer has evolved since its origins in the mid-20th century, originating as a business and administrative job and growing to artistic collaboration with musicians and bands.

As technology advances the music industry, the tasks, skills, and options of a music production career is changing.

The nature of the music producer has shifted from a career to a skill.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that music producers like Don Jazzy, isn’t using the same technology he started with, today.

On its own, it has always been difficult to establish a career as a producer, requiring talent, ambition, and opportunity.

In the 1970s, for example, the career path was from assistant to engineer and then to producer.

In the music industry today, the path is mixed roles rather than linear. You will find yourself playing many different roles like the recording engineer, songwriter, financial admin who takes care of monetary deals, and most importantly the music coach.

The job is a professional one, so to really produce music it takes perseverance and meaningful strategies aimed at success.

Responsibilities of a Music Producer

Basically, the duties and responsibilities of a music producer are much, here are some of them:

  1. Guiding the artist through his career
  2. Overseeing recording sessions.
  3. Supervising mixing of the audio or doing it yourself
  4. Promoting the musician and music producer.
  5. Signing an artist to a record label
  6. Monitoring financial budgets.

If you carry out your responsibilities well, music lovers will rush to the top Nigerian music websites to download the songs you’ve produced.

That will be so not just because the musician did the most difficult part, but because, you as a music producers gave a finishing touch to the raw melody.

How to Start Music Production Business

Music production in Nigeria as a business will most likely succeed if you follow these important steps:

Get The Needed Training

Either you have a musical background, a musical education, musical experience, or not, you should focus on enhancing your skills.

Getting a degree in music production, sound engineering, or recording or seeking an internship at a professional recording studio and in related business classes is an essential step that can help you in establishing your music production business.

This is more important to a producer than it is to the artist himself because the producer will have to know the technical terms for words used in the trade and will be introduced to many skill sets related to music.

Educate yourself on every aspect of the music business, management, production duties, and legal to hone your skills and increase your knowledge-base.

Read trade magazines, subscribe to reliable websites, go to music trade shows, and don’t be shy to find out everything you need to know about music production.

Draft Your Business Plan

As you obtain the necessary skills and certification, start making your business plan.

Your plan should detail exactly what you envision your business to be.

Include your legal structure, types of employees and positions, type of music to be produced, your mission for starting the company, location, how much the start-up costs are, and your plan to get the money, etc.

Register Your Business and Protect It

You will need to be registered as a legitimate music production company and obtain a business permit.

This will enable you to take advantage of special industry rates on products and services, and you are legally required to register as a business for tax purposes.

Choose your legal structure. If you decide to be the sole proprietor of your company, all debts are your responsibility.

If you get sued, your personal and business assets will be liquidated. As a corporation, your personal and business assets will remain separate.

How to start your music production business.

Choose a unique business name and register it. Make sure the name is easy to remember and is relevant to music production.

Do a business name search to ensure the name you “created” isn’t already in use.

Original songs by musicians are called intellectual property.

Music production in Nigeria will come with lots of legal issues if you’re not a registered business.

Intellectual properties are the kind of products that are manufactured from creativity just like writing, drawing, etc. One has to register with a copyrights organization.

To register one only has to apply by submitting a passport photograph, fill and sign an application form and present a valid I.D. an example of such an organization is the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), and its membership is free.

By so doing, you are making sure no one steals from you by claiming production of yours is theirs and you will be making it easier for the collection of ‘royalties’ for any piece of music you produced.

Royalty is that commission you are paid when your music is used in movies, played in radio stations, in advertisements, and so on.

Although the registration may not be necessary because by law in this country any intellectual property such as poem, writing, song, graphic design is owned by the person who created them.

But the advantage of registering with a copyrights organization is that you will just have to list the music you produced with them and they will act as middlemen between you and third parties interested in using your music.

Obtain contracts and insurances

Obtain music business contracts from an entertainment attorney or purchase them from a music business supplier.

Contracts are used in the everyday operation of your business, so you must have them on hand, and know-how to legally modify and use them.

Buy business insurance. Among the necessary coverage: studio liability insurance, tour liability insurance, travel accident insurance, health insurance, life insurance, long-term-care insurance, composer’s liability insurance, homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, automobile insurance, and small-business insurance.

You can check out our list of top 10 insurance companies in Nigeria. Find an insurance company that can combine some or all of these policies into one monthly payment.

Secure a good location

Location is an important aspect when you are starting a music production company.

Unlike some other businesses, for example, Laundry service business, where you need to be in a location with a lot of traffic, most music production spaces actively avoid being in busy areas because they, well, make noise.

Even with the best soundproofing, you can’t open a studio in a place where the music will bleed through the walls and bother your neighbors.

There is a choice you need to make when it comes to location: are you renting or buying? 

Renting is a cheaper option, but finding a commercial space with the proper soundproofing and distance from other businesses can be tough.

Some studios can find that in the back of strip malls, solo businesses off highways and commercial spaces in more rural areas.

Lots of studio owners opt to build their own studio from scratch in a place that they own.

Since you can pretty much turn any space into a studio as long as it’s quiet enough, won’t bother your neighbors, and will give you a peaceful, quiet retreat for your artists or something that inspires with the hustle and bustle of a city.

Include a closed-off section in the studio as your office. Either way, you will need the assistance of a real estate agent.

Music production in Nigeria, as well as other countries, is no joke. If you are starting out from home, you will need a space in your home which is free from distractions. Choose a spacious room in your house, away from the main part of the house.

It should be convenient, accessible, and private. Basement can be a good option as it helps dampen sound and can be easily soundproofed.

This keeps outside noise out and inside noise in so that recording—and the rest of the household—is not disturbed.

Adding on a separate room or building one in the backyard is also an option. It should have its own entrance to avoid excessive traffic throughout your home.

Get the Right Equipment and Marketing Materials

To start a music studio in Nigeria, you must be aware that there is no fixed cost for starting. It all depends on the type of studio you want to operate and your budget.

There are different types of studios and different equipment requirements for each. There are analog studios and there are digital studios.

You should have the ability to make music from your own home. Unless you have the funding to create a professional quality studio, you should ensure you have the basics.

This means having a computer or laptop with audio softwares. If you plan on recording with live instruments, you will obviously need additional recording equipment. The list of the different music equipment will be given later in this article.

There are two sides to marketing your production skills. You will need to market yourself locally and globally, online.

For in-person meetings, you will definitely want to have your own business cards. This is an affordable step.

Other marketing material to consider using includes pamphlets, flyers, and posters. Avoid printing marketing materials from your home computer as they are not capable of producing business-quality materials and may harm your professional image.

Employ Staffs

Depending on the size and nature of your studio, you may need to hire several people, or people who are knowledgeable in more than one area.

If you are a jack-of-all-trades, then you may need only a few employees. Check references, ask for samples of their work, do background checks, talk to their music school instructors, etc.

Do a thorough investigation to ensure you are hiring qualified, licensed individuals.

Related: How profitable is photography business in Nigeria

Start Producing Your Own Music

Begin with producing your own music. After creating your own tracks, you can upload them on SoundCloud or YouTube as samples of work for local and regional recording artists.

Contact local recording studios, engineers and manufacturers to alert them of your music production services.

Partnering with these businesses will help establish relationships, gain referrals and may result in special rates.

Work towards having an active presence on the local music scene. Find artists with similar tastes and style to record and produce.

Seek out local talent and negotiate the terms of working together. If you don’t have a standard production contract, you can find plenty of templates online.

Always use contracts for every business transaction and follow through on everything you’re contracted to perform. Breaching contracts may result in civil or criminal lawsuits, fines and loss of business credibility.

Whether you are producing your own music or working with other artists, music promotion will be a key part of your success.

Advertise Your Company.

Create a web page and tell everyone you know to visit it and pass the word. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertisement.

Post fliers wherever you can and hand them out to talent agencies, music schools or random people you see in passing. Contact your local newspapers and place an ad.

Facebook, MySpace, Instagram and Twitter are ways to reach the younger generation and to advertise your business.

Social media is also a great way to connect with those you would like to work with and to stay in touch with them, if even through quick comments and likes.

Since networking is so important, let the tools available to you work for you but you’ll, of course, need to exert some effort and spend a little time in the process.

Also, try to network with various people already in the industry. Attend a variety of music events, shows and conferences.

Gaining recognition from music artists and others in the industry is paramount in this line of business.

So active participation in music events is called for, be it competitions, parties, and so on, where you will meet distributors, record label executives, DJ’s, sound engineers and so many others.

Meeting these people will introduce you to a whole new level in the industry. So make sure you always have your business card ready before going out to socialize.

Music studio and production equipment

Music Production Equipment

  1. Computer, Recording software and plugins
  2. DAW
  3. Audio Interface
  4. Microphones, Microphone Stands and Headphones
  5. Studio Monitors
  6. Pop Filter
  7. Digital conversion
  8. DI boxes
  9. Headphone amps
  10. Monitor management
  11. Workstation and Studio Chairs
  12. Bass Traps
  13. Acoustic Panels
  14. Diffusers
  15. Reflection Filters
  16. Monitor Isolation Pads
  17. Rack Mount
  18. Microphone Preamp
  19. Virtual Instruments
  20. MIDI Controller
  21. Electronic Drum Kit
  22. Control Surface
  23. Snake Cable
  24. Generator

Qualities of A Music Producer

There are a number of other skills you should practice if you are not only to succeed, but to rise above the rest, and these are real-world items you probably won’t be taught in a college classroom.

Courses on a syllabus will show you how to produce music but mastering the qualities listed below will teach you how to build a music production company people love.

The following are some qualities needed as a music producer:

Respect

When we talk about respect, we are not talking about just music.

If you want a music production career, you need to respect the people you’re working with, the music you’re collaborating on, as well as small things like the equipment.

Networking

As with any industry, networking is an important part of a music production career. Burning one bridge can ruin an entire career. You have to deal with people from the label, diva artists, and possibly even members of the press as well as an artist’s entourage.

If you want the best clients and the best record labels to work with you, you need to put yourself out there. Who says you can’t produce the songs of any of the top 10 richest musicians in Nigeria?

Most Musicians, Writers, Producers, Mixers, Engineers, (and almost everyone else in the music world) secure jobs because of who they know.

This isn’t to say unqualified people end up in roles or with jobs they’re not ready for based on friendships (well, not usually), but the vast majority of people who make their living in these kinds of career paths get where they are based on word-of-mouth and recommendations. Always go out of your way to meet new people in the industry.

Patience

The more patience you have, the further your career and life will go, This is paramount for having any successful career.

Sometimes bad things happen to the best of us. It’s how we react that makes some of us more successful than others.

Not only that, but you also don’t make a great song on the first try each time. You’re going to have to record the same track in the studio, and often pieces of a track, over and over again.

This could be due to an artist not being focused, equipment not cooperating, and a dozen other potential concerns.

Focus and work ethics. Living in a digital world and trying to work from a computer creates more problems than solutions.

Everywhere you look, you’ll find distractions to take you away from work. Not only will you have regular distractions from work like a whiny artist or entourage, but you’ll have your own circle to worry about.

They won’t understand that your job is from start to finish, not nine to five.

With so many long nights ahead of you, you’ll need to find a form of release. To do that, you will have to manually schedule downtime to do things you enjoy outside of the studio.

This will help you regain focus and recharge those mental batteries. Working on time management skills will help with this.

Learn to work hard for two hours at a time with a small break before you return to the grind.

Responsibilities of a music producer

Balance Work and Life

How are you supposed to have a work-life balance if you are always working?

I’m not saying it’s easy, or even always possible, but having both should be a goal you’re always reaching towards.

Make friends in the field you work in (or ones connected to it), try to bring friends and family members who work outside of music into your world when possible, and schedule them into your life whenever you can.

You’ll find when you become a full-time Music Producer that if you want to keep some old friends in your life you’re going to really has to work at it.

It’s a shame something that used to be so simple can become a chore of sorts but that’s not just part of the music industry — it’s part of adulthood.

Appreciate Other People’s work

You should certainly always be proud of the music you produce but don’t get cocky and think it’s the best thing in the world.

Listen to what other people are doing and find ways to appreciate their art.

You can absolutely dedicate more time to the specific genre (or genres) you specialize in but don’t get boxed in and only stick to one type of music.

Desire to Learn

The truth is music production in Nigeria is super dynamic. With new artistes coming with different melodies, and tunes. Producers just need to be versatile.

The fact you’re headed to college or perhaps in college is a sign you are willing to learn and you understand the importance of education but don’t think it stops after your four years (or however long) are up.

The best Producers and Musicians of all-time never stopped learning throughout their careers, as they not only understood the notion there was always more out there that could be grasped, but they loved doing it.

If you are truly enamored with a subject or a practice you will never want to stop learning about it. You can always learn more in life, and this is something you should carry with you always.

Attention to Detail

One quality you will need for a music production career is an excellent ear. You can enhance this with training, just as a check enhances their palette with continuous tasting.

Combine this with an attention to detail to be the most effective. How often have you had an experience and thought something was missing?

Conclusion on Music Production In Nigeria

The demand for music is high in the industry, with cable and specialty TV stations demanding programming being an example of a growing segment.

Costs of recording equipment, on the other hand, assure that plenty of people have the means to compete.

Creativity and flexibility are essential to meet the continually changing needs of music production in Nigeria.

Through the production of quality, music beats with high sales in Nigeria and abroad many music producers have become multi-millionaires and respected music producers.

To succeed in the music production business, first, you need more than just creating beats. You must have a passion for the job because, without that, you can’t shine.

It is your passion that will enable you become successful.

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