Naija Beats Ghana: The Influx And Preference Of Nigerian Music In Ghana Over Locally-Made Songs

Naija Beats Ghana: The Influx And Preference Of Nigerian Music In Ghana Over Locally-Made Songs

"Many revelers who come to our nightclub to have fun usually sit down and chat, have a drink or in rare cases, just nod their heads whenever I am on the turntables playing Ghanaian songs but these same people would jump to their feet and start screaming and dancing non-stop when I switch to play Nigerian music.

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This sometimes seems strange to me and I know it is a problem that needs to be addressed but my job is to entertain guests and not to force anything on them" Solomon Asamoah famed as DJ Biggie of Ghana's Club Onyx owned by musician Desmond Blackmore (D-Black) noted.

It has become quite a norm in Ghana to hear music from top Nigerian stars blasting through mini speakers in rooms and hotels, schools, churches, marriage ceremonies (engagement and wedding receptions) should one take a random stroll through the principal streets of Accra from Thursday through to Sunday.

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Many people have become accustomed to Nigerian music from the likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid, Nathaniel Bassey, Sinach, Tiwa Savage, Dunsin Oyekan, Moses Bliss, 2Face Idibia, former P-Square, to name but a few.

Some of these Nigerian songs have been played over and over again on radio that the younger generation mistakes for songs produced by Ghanaians.

Naija Beats Ghana: The Influx And Preference Of Nigerian Music In Ghana Over Locally-Made Songs
Photos of Burna Boy, Wizkid, Mercy Chinwo, Shatta Wale. Source: fillaboyzdotcom
Source: Instagram

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Many have wondered why we have acts in Ghana who are dominating the music scene across the globe yet their songs are not blasting through all speakers on the continent.

Radio journalist with YFM, Lukman Mumuni, granted an interview to and made an asertion which appears to have some general consensus.

He noted:

"Slowly, Ghanaian music is losing its traditional listenership who are now tuning and adjusting their musical ears to Nigerian music which they say appeal to them more and have become suited for whatever occasion they are attending. Nowadays, DJs in many radio stations play Nigerian songs more than songs made by Ghanaians. I strongly believe that Ghanaian musicians need to do their underground work well before they end up losing all their fans"

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Despite the fact that Kidi (born Dennis Dwamena) of Lynx Entertainment had his "Touch It" song going viral across the world, topping charts and breaking and setting enviable records on music streaming platforms, the same cannot be said of other musicians in Ghana.

However, Ghanaians would easily dance to tunes like Ameno Amapiano version by Goya Menor, Burna Boy's On The Low, Mercy Chinwo's Na You Dey Reign which up until now, many refer to the song as "I Serve A Living God".

"It would be weird to go attend an engagement ceremony in Ghana and not see the bride dance out to her introduction with Nigerian songs, especially the danceable ones like "I Serve A Living God" (Na You Dey Reign)," event organizer Mrs Georgina Attuquayefio of Classy Choice Limited said when asked about her view on Nigerian music in Ghana.

Reasons For The Declining Interest In Ghanaian Music

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"Nigerians have more danceable songs if you asked me, many of these Ghanaian songs are quite slow and can easily change a hyper mood in a club or at a party", said a reveller at Epos (a popular pub in Osu, Accra).

A lot of Ghanaian party-goers alluded their sudden dislike for Ghanaian music to the lack of creativity in the songs.

Some also noted that the songs lacked the recent Amapiano vibe which can keep people on their feet for hours dancing their hearts out.

Those who are sharp listeners indicated that sometimes Ghanaian lyrics in the songs were incoherent and scattered all over the place making the song miss out on being placed among the masterpieces in the country.

Reasons For The Sudden Love For Nigerian Music Over Ghanaian Ones

A number of reasons have been given by a cross-section of people as to why Ghanaian music is taking second place in terms of entertainment in Ghana.

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Views were solicited from a wide range of experts on the matter and they shared their views on why they felt in their opinion that Nigerian music was winning in Ghana.

From promotion, to granting interviews, to going on media tours and appreciating stakeholders, experts in the entertainment field shared their views on the matter which was slowly turning into an issue.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nii Quarcopoome Hanson Sackey, the head of music at YFM, added his voice to the worrying trend.

"The quality of Nigerian songs is top-notch. The competition to break out in their country is very high because of the volume of artists who come out on the regular. This pushes them to bring out their best. They seem to have found a formula to make global music where their songs are charting in other African countries as well. At this moment Nigeria songs are topping Apple Music Charts in Gambia, Liberia Kenya and even in the UK."

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Hanson Sackey added that: "It's not all gloomy and Ghanaian artists can take a leaf from their Nigerian counterparts. One thing they do well is jump on sounds that are trending in other spaces and regions. Take for example the Azonto sound from Ghana and the burgeoning Amapiano sound from South Africa."

Promotion of Nigerian Music In Ghana

A Ghanaian DJ who preferred to speak only on the grounds of anonymity indicated that Nigerians understood their entertainment space more than their Ghanaian counterparts. He noted:

"Nigerians spend a lot to promote their songs in Ghana and that is one major reason why their songs appear to be everywhere. One time a an A-list Nigerian artiste (name withheld) came on my show at the radio station I work for and before it got to his turn, he made sure to tip everyone he met including the security man who opened the door for him. The said artiste gave me $500 ( over GHC3,300) and thanked me for hosting him. Why won't I gladly promote such an act any time he calls on me to push his music?"

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The radio show host added that same could not be said of Ghanaian artistes, according to him, some of the musicians in Ghana always played on the "Support You Own" tramp card when they wanted their songs promoted but would not want to commit any monetary allocation for the promotion.

DJ Biggie also noted that there were a number of times that some Nigerian acts walked up to his turntable to appreciate him for playing their music.

"I do get that a lot and if you heard it already from another DJ, then it is not a lie, these Nigerian stars really know how to appreciate those who promote their songs. Some of them can even ask for your social media handles and promote you by posting a video of the time you played their song," DJ Biggie noted.

Well-Established Public Relations Teams

Former radio show producer at YFM, Samuel Ohene Anim, added his voice to the conversation and noted that many Nigerian stars, from the burgeoning singers to the world-renowned stars, invested in PR.

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According to him, some of these stars pay so much to get PR companies to draw promotional roadmaps and tours for them to ensure that the songs they produce are accepted by the general public.

"PR is the thing. Many of these Nigerian musicians ride on good PR to promote their songs and it is visible for all to see. An artiste like Davido for instance would not mind buying a brand new car for one of his loyal team members just to ready the grounds to release a song. He, together with the PR team, create a loving aura around him so as to make his songs easily accepted by even his critics.
Ghanaian acts, on the other hand, tend to think bad PR promotes their songs which is not the case judging from where I sit. It is commonplace to hear a Ghanaian star running into a problem with the authorities, or causing mayhem in his own home just to promote a song. Many of these stars forget that bad PR is bad PR and would go a long way to affect their likeability in the local as well as international markets. Investors are always watching and they treat every move seriously regardless of the fact that it is a gimmick or not. The example of Shatta Wale faking a shooting incident among others come to mind here. Not good for the brand," Samuel Ohene added.

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"Many Nigerian acts who are looking to promote their songs do not turn down interviews no matter how unpopular their interviewer would be. They rarely even turn down interviews whether they are promoting a song or not but you can sometimes have sleepless nights just waiting to hear from the media team of a Ghanaian musician over an interview.", Ghanaian blogger Nkonkonsa revealed.

Many Nigerian acts use the internet to their advantage and employ the services of bloggers, websites and available online marketing tools and services as well as traditional media to promote their songs. This has accounted for their massive prominence in the country.

Seeking Vital Collaborations and Connections On The World Stage

One does not need a soothsayer to show any music lover the extent to which a Nigerian would go to get into the circles of world-renowned stars all over the world.

Africa has witnessed many collaborations between Nigerians and superstars in the world including Justin Bieber, Beyonce and the like.

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Even coming to the continent Nigerian musicians have made sure to tap into the trends of viral artistes and examples include Burna Boy who hopped on Black Sherif's Second Sermon, Darko Vibes featured Davido on Je M'appelle, Wizkid linked up with R2Bees, and Omah Lay worked on a project with Gyakie.

Head of music at YFM, Hanson Sackey noted: "Nigerians are not afraid to go to new places to promote their songs. Some of these Nigerian artists have come to Ghana to promote their songs and even got hits here before they were recognised in their home country."

Most times Ghanaians will release songs and just post on their social media pages and that's it. They can create relationships with media people and event organisers and nurture this relationship, it keeps them top of mind and will eventually help them when they release projects.

Touching on the above, Hanson Sackey said: "They (Ghanaian artistes) can also take advantage of social media apps like Instagram and Facebook and promote their music in certain regions as well. Many Nigeria artist promote their songs in the Ghanaian space using this trick.

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Artists should also have to be open and take feedback. Rather than tagging people as 'haters' when they don't like a song they've made they can take the advise and apply it to new projects."

All these and more are some of the moves being made by Nigerian artstes which are slowly making them the country to watch in terms of domination in the music space. Ghanaian musicians should pick some notes from here and go back for their first position from their arch-rivals!


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