‘No-music day’ on Nigeria radio

Musicians say their livelihoods are being threatenedRadio stations in Lagos have largely observed a call by Nigerian artists for a “No-Music Day” to protest at piracy and the non-payment of royalties.

The BBC’s Fidelis Mbah in the city says some stations have instead played foreign music.

A musicians’ spokesman said that many stations and nightclubs see obtaining music licences as an “alien idea”.

Last week, a group of Lagos musicians organised an ongoing hunger strike to protest at rampant piracy.

Our correspondent says pirated CDs of popular albums are readily available on the city’s streets, at a fraction of the official price.

Despite the occasional raid on the pirates’ production outfits, security agents have failed to tame their activities, he says.

It is the first time Nigerian musicians have united to highlight their plight.


Nigerian Music Industry Coalition spokesman Efe Omorogbe said the failure to pay royalties was equivalent to making and distributing pirated CDs.

“There are probably more radio stations in Lagos than in two other African countries put together. Lagos stations do not pay royalties,” he told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

He said Nigeria had two royalty collection associations.

Radio stations often say they do not know which one collects for which catalogue.

“The system has failed to structure itself in such a way that people are compelled to pay,” he said.

The musicians’ indefinite hunger strike will be followed by a protest to the National Assembly, our correspondent says.

Lagos musician Funsho Olatunbosun, who goes by the stage name Xtreme, says piracy has really affected his income.

“All the artists are feeling the pain… we’re not relying on the album [sales], we’re only relying on shows,” he said.