Ghana and Nigeria – Who Is Best in Music?
Music is an inherent part of every human society’s customs and traditions. The acoustic qualities of timbre and texture, pitch, rhythm, and dynamics, are all included in broad definitions of music.
Depending on the genre or style, certain elements may be accentuated, downplayed, or left out. Music uses various instruments and vocal techniques, from singing to rapping. There are both instrumental and vocal works and works that blend singing and instruments.
Other than through festivals, music is a vital tool for marketing and promoting cultural values. Since the dawn of time, every nation has used music as a tool for exporting its culture and making its identity known to the world. Some countries have done well at this. They developed organized soundscapes that draw on their cultural traditions.
Nigeria is one of many African countries whose artists have achieved international success. Thanks to the success of its Afrobeat and Afro Fusion artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Don Jazzy, P-Square, Iyanya, and many more, Nigeria is now a household name around the world. They incorporated their unique culture, sound, and language into their music.
Ghana is another African country with internationally acclaimed singers. But how do they compare against their Nigerian counterparts? Who is the best in music between Nigeria and Ghana?
Obviously, the answer is Nigeria. We look at why in this post.
What Ghanaian Artists Are Getting Wrong
From an outsider’s perspective, Nigerian musicians are successful globally because they include Nigerian culture and traditional elements in their work.
Although some Ghanaian musicians have achieved international prominence, they will never be mistaken for their Nigerian counterparts in the music industry. Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, and Shatta Wale are three Ghanaian musicians beginning to gain international recognition. Yet, they are still falling short of their Nigerian counterparts’ standards.
As far as we can tell, most Ghanaians are preoccupied with passing themselves off as members of the local culture. Some Ghanaian singers, for example, have embraced the American hip-hop style, watering down the country’s native Highlife style to conform to international tastes.
Sarkodie, for instance, has adopted the hip-hop lifestyle and says he is a rapper, but he has not yet achieved the level of success he desires. Sarkodie may have won a few prizes, but he hasn’t done an excellent job representing Ghanaian culture in his music. As a result, outsiders don’t understand what we’re known for.
The idea is that if your fan base in the nation is unable to push respect for the craft, there is no way an outsider will appreciate it. So, adopting the Hip-hop culture knowing well your countrymen won’t enjoy it was a poor choice.
Have you heard of Burna Boy’s “Twice As Tall” album, which won a Grammy? The record reeks of Nigerian culture, the language in particular. The record has become popular, and its success has helped spread the word about how unique Nigerian culture is.
Why Nigeria is Dominating
Here are some reasons why Nigerian music is dominating across Africa and beyond.
Population & Internet Access
As of January 2022, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, with an estimated 213 million people – according to World Meters. Statistics show that 43 and 51% of the Nigerian population can access the web. This number rises to almost 108 million by July 2021. At 114 million, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation. As a result, this suggests that there are fewer Nigerians online than people in all of Ethiopia.
The sheer number of Nigerians who have access to the internet means that their voices may be heard, and their content can become a worldwide phenomenon on sites like TikTok and Twitter. The newest music discovery tool, TikTok, has made it simple for Nigerian music to get a taste of the international market.
Large Diasporan Markets
The Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics estimates that forty percent of Nigerians live in poverty. Hence why, emigration is a top priority for most citizens. UNDESA put the number of Nigerians living abroad at 1.2 million in 2015, providing a new market for Nigerian music.
Africans living outside of Africa will increase by a factor of three by the year 2050, according to a report by CBNC Africa. There are currently 34 million Africans who do not live in their own country.
Nigerians also aim for the giant African diaspora community when promoting their music. They see a market for Afrobeats among people who long for a taste of African music and culture but live far from home. Music serves as a simple medium for people to communicate with their homeland.
Use of Language
Music relies on language. Although not as crucial as music, lyrics help listeners feel more invested in songs. A song’s popularity and longevity can be influenced by the language in which it’s performed. It’s basic psychology that individuals remember what they can explain to others, and Nigerians are well aware of this.
They always use an English chorus or hook when singing in local languages. This was a conscious decision. Around a quarter of the world’s population speaks English. So, once the song makes it into the media, it has the potential to reach about 1.75 billion people.
Other non-English speaking populations may also fall in love with the song’s melody, but they were not included in the statistic above.
Various well-known brands have been present in Nigeria for quite some time. Artists like Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Omah Lay have signed recording contracts with major labels like Sony, Universal, and Warner.
These labels’ participation in the Nigerian music industry boosts the industry’s financial resources. It gives it a leg up in production, branding, and marketing.
These musicians’ newfound exposure to a broader audience is a direct result of the collaborations with international superstars whose tracks appear on albums produced under these companies.
Branding and placement are critical. This is not lost on the Nigerians. That’s why a lot of money goes into creating identities for their musicians. This time Rema brought a mask. Ruger has become well-known for his distinctive eye patch.
Consumers can better recall and distinguish between various brands because of the visual associations prompted by these products. The glamour of their lifestyles helps spread the word about these performers.