On the first day of March, it was announced that Nigerian artist and African superstar Wizkid has joined RCA Records, a subsidiary under Sony Music Entertainment, the global music giant.
Already an artist with two albums, Superstar and Ayo, released, Wizkid is said to be preparing new material for release soon. He has released the single ‘Sweet Love’ to mark the new deal. The song’s video shows the singer in various countries in Africa receiving a star’s treatment, crowds standing to see him perform, a fan crying before and after a hug from the Ojuelegba-raised artist.
Even as Wizkid has collaborated with a number of international stars, the deal is expected to enhance his global appeal. As Sony Music said, “…we look forward to helping [WIzkid] conquer the globe.”
Here are 5 things to know about the Wizkid-Sony deal.
5. Wizkid is fourth Nigerian pop artist to join the Sony party
Davido was the first of the current crop of Nigerian artists to sign with the global company. Rapper YCee and ‘Pana’ singer Tekno followed. Reports of Wizkid signing to Sony have spread on social media and on websites for many months, but the artist has been reluctant to confirm the deal until yesterday.
4. Sony Music dominates the African market
Although the world is full of record labels, the major ones are referred to as the Big Three - Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. (Before 2012, it was the Big Four; but Universal bought EMI.) In a time when African music is increasingly getting global attention, Sony Music has become the big player in the African music market. Last year, the label signed Davido, perhaps Wizkid’s only rival for African pop’s throne. It also signed the rising Nigerian rapper YCee. Outside of Nigeria, Sony has signed east African star Alikiba. By getting Wizkid to sign, the label has effectively moved ahead of its competitors in gathering the stars the people care about.
3. Wizkid and Davido may collaborate
Now that they are on the same label, it may be easier for pop rivals Davido and Wizkid to make good on a comment made by the former in an interview with US magazine Fader where he suggested a collaborative album between Nigeria’s leading pop pair.
2. Sony stands to gain major revenue
According to projections made by the auditing firm PriceWaterCooperhouse, the Nigerian music industry will witness significant growth in the next few years. With artists like Davido and Wizkid, Sony stands to gain a healthy portion of the projected revenue.
1. There may be changes in the sound
Perhaps out of the pressure to find a global audience, Davido appeared to have altered his sound with the release of his Son of Mercy EP. Wizkid may do same. He has however said he doesn’t intend to be “boxed in to any one genre.” Davido, however, seems to have returned to a sound recognised by his fans with the release of the new single ‘If’. Wizkid is aware of the appeal he's crossing over with. As he told Fader about the video for his new single, 'Sweet Love': "The visual is made up from content of my live shows throughout Africa, which will give my fans a real insight and feel of me performing back home."