It took an involvement in the presidential campaign of Alhaji Buba Tukuru in 1990/91 for him to realise the extent of information lapse in the country.
In the course of going round the country to solicit support for his candidate, this engineer-turned media mogul identified the vaccum and immediately swung into action, the result which was birth in 1993 as Ray Power FM. With time Daar Communications became the pioneer of private television and radio broadcasting in Nigeria. Today Daar Comms is a satellite phenomenum.
The Nigerian Music Industry in the last fifteen years
When we started private radio broadcasting in Nigeria with Ray Power on the1st of Dec 1993. The music industry was in comatose with no recording companies, the transition from the big record playing was just transiting to CD production at that time, we had no place to record our Nigerian Artistes.
Those that needed to record had to go to South Africa or other countries abroad to record. At that time most Nigerians appreciated foreign music withoutÂ giving our talents- our ghetto music later called the Ajegunle music, the stars that were up coming didnâ€™t have an opportunity of expression.
But the arrival of private radio on the scene, the determination and support of National Broadcasting Commission and its leadership that insisted that we must increase local content, got our Nigerian artistes back on board.Â This gave an avalanche of opportunities to young stars although there is still the need to improve all sectors.
By and large, one can definitely say that the Nigerian music industry has grown very very rapidly in the last fifteen years and that, one is quite proud of. Now, our quality of production is comparable to anyoneâ€™s in the world.
There is no way youâ€™ll look at a Nigerian produced video now and you wonâ€™t want to conclude that it was produced inÂ America, South Africa or Europe. The truth of the matter is that it is not only the artistes themselves that have developed, it is the entire industry. All the supporting groups have given tremendous support to the music industry and I believe that is good for Nigeria .
National Broadcasting Commission has also gone further to say that on TV, certain time belts especiallyÂ between 7 and 10pm should be reserved exclusively for Nigerian contents including Nigerian music. And I think that as time goes on, it will be possible to have close to 24hrs of the Nigerian content and Nigerian music will be the best for it because that is the readily available content.
The benefit of indigenous satellite television to the music industry
On the terrestrial TV, what we have is music forming a part of other packages or as a programme on its own. With the arrival of satellite TV, we can have a dedicated musical channel and Nigerian artistes or Africans all over can now haveÂ 24hrs dedicated music channels. DAAR SAT has 128 channels.
32 of them are in high definition (HD) and 96 standard definition (SD). I think at present, we are running about 55 channels. It is only the satellite space capacity that is a limiting factor. By and large, if things go well we should soon be talking about how Nigerians will be able to enjoy full exposure, so that Nigerian artistes and musicians will be able to have dedicated channels and indigenous music for that matter.
Quality control measures for reckless lyrical contents aired on Tv and radio
Let me start up by saying the issue you are raising is something that is generational. The time we were growing up, there was a lot of inspirational songs from Sunny Ade, Obey, Victor Uwaifor.
You could aspire to achieve just going by what they were saying which is quite different from whatÂ this generation is singing. I have asked myself many times: Is it my age that is affecting my perception of their music?
But I also remember that my parents did not so much appreciate the type of music that we enjoyed at that time too.Â I was a very strong Don Williams man andÂ very strong King Sunny Adeâ€™s man. It is in my older age now, that on listening more to Obey that I begin to understand and evenÂ interpret some of the things he said in proverbs.
I donâ€™t believe in censorship. This thing they call talent, you see, is something you canâ€™t regulate or legislate. You should allow the evolution of content and talent. People should continue to record themselves but not everything that are recorded should go on air immediatelyÂ other wise, it (the songs) will meet immediate failure.
ButÂ most ofÂ these younger artistes are in so muchÂ haste, that they want to have their songs on air immediately.
Before a Sunny Ade will record in the studio he must have rehearsed over and over and over again, cross-checked the lyrics very carefully and the message whether it is properly carried but today… One more thing. As at the time King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey where playing music actively, Nigerian population was about 35 to 50 million.
Today theÂ population is said to be 140million so there are more people that are struggling to be heard. Although the probability of success should be higher because you have more people (a larger population) butÂ unfortunately, within this populationÂ you will find a lot ofÂ unacceptableÂ music that cannot be managed so not many are successful.
What I think every broadcast house should really do is to have a team that would preview songs and advice the artiste and the producer of the video on what areas they really need to work on to make it broadcast worthy.
There is need for consultation but in most cases the cost of production is so high and when you donâ€™t consult before producing, the song or video is aired like that with every mistake that has been made.
In most cases, you will see that artistes in the US donâ€™t release their videos very often because a lot of input coupled with necessary amendments are made before a video is released.
But in Nigeria, you will find that anybody who thinks he or she has a good voice will either run to a studio to sing or want to produce a music video without thinking properly on the message the lyrics should pass across.
NBCâ€™s banning of music videos and songs
FemiÂ Kuti came up with â€˜Bang Bangâ€™ and it was banned by NBC.Â I did not think it was proper to have done so at that time because it was contemporary. But that music video won awards in South Africa and acrossÂ the continent of Africa and Europe.
In other words, a total ban was not the answer. It was maybe a line or two that was offensive and needed to have been re-edited and it would have been good enough to run on air.Â What our elders did was that they controlled and supervised artistes in those days but we donâ€™t have the patience to do so.
We must go back to that; We must create that timeÂ to look at the quality of the things (musical works) that we are coming out. We saw that Sunny Ade and Obe were not vulgar inÂ music. But that is to the ordinary ears. They packaged their lyrics well such that it wonâ€™t be offensive or abusive to anybody.
On his involvement with the NMVA.
I want to identify myself with the theme of the music video award of this year I want to associate myself with the excellence that music is suppose to bring into the life of people. Music for me is the tonic of life must carry all the positive value in making life meaningful for people and is that type of music I think we should promote and celebrate this year.
Any hidden love for the arts especially music…
My daughter is there smiling. I have been encouraging her (his daughter, Halima) to sing for quite some time now.Â But for me, letâ€™s see; Iâ€™â€˜m an engineer, a science oriented person, but I had the opportunity in my younger years to act so I took a littleÂ bit of art from acting some drama shows even up to University levels. I was inspired by quite a lot of artistes especially the late Ogunde.
When he was still alive, he used to act and sing for us in primary school. And when I was at Loyola college Ibadan, I had the opportunity to watch the shows regularly between â€˜63 and â€™65 and others (shows) involving all the actors around Ibadan axis that time. So it was compulsory I developed interest in it (the arts) and I think that (the interest) still remains with me till today.