Nigerian Music Stars: Investing In Liabilities Or Assets?

Before hip hop came into full limelight in Nigeria, a little over a decade ago, different styles of music including Afro, Juju, Fuji, and Highlife were created locally and it brought fame and fortune to many of the artists. The old music legends recorded remarkable hits but most of them lived modestly as their kind of music does not sermonise endless noticeable spending. Those who could afford it, built one or two houses and own regular cars; not huge mansions and glittering wonders-on-wheel.

Since the advent of hip hop in Nigeria, music stars, with massive hits, have become instant millionaires, some multimillionaires, some of them ranking among some of the richest in the country. For the fact that hip hop came with showmanship, also known as swag, music stars are now seen driving around town in the most expensive automobile. They live in massive mansions and have a coterie of staff and aids that attend to their every day needs and whims. They live fabulous lifestyles defined by wine, women, parties and conspicuous consumption. While many fly First Class, some even go by private jets.

With more shows and millions of naira endorsement deals from corporate organisations, these stars have become major players in economies across the world with their investments or the size of
their expenditure.

P-Squares Wealth
The singing and dancing duo, Peter and Paul Okoye, who goes by the stage name P-Square, are unarguably among the richest in the industry having ranked one of the most successful pop groups in Nigeria. With huge album sales, concerts and endorsement, they’ve earned millions of naira. They won the 2010 KORA award for Best Africa Artiste which earned them $1million (N150million). Shortly after, the duo got an endorsement deal with Globacom telecommunications worth about N240milllion for four years.

After a misunderstanding with their landlord, the duo built a house they named Squareville in Omole, the same neighbourhood with the landlord, and bought four brand new exotic wheels worth N65million. The house, which they completed in less than six months, is valued at over N400million. With regular international gigs, collaboration with big American pop stars like Akon and Rick Ross, and the recent American tour of seven cities, they have earned over $2million (N300million) in returns.

The sensational singing duo also acquired a private jet recently. According to report, the award winning twins coughed out several millions of dollars to pick the private airbus from one of the Arabians. One of Peter’s tweets read: “Jetting privately ...thanks to God and the fans. You all made it possible. Baba God done settle us ...I no go lie.”

The singers currently have glamorous cars, ranging from two Sequioa Sports Utility Vans (SUVs), one hummer SUV, customised truck bus, Toyota Altima among other automobiles. P-Square own Rayfield Hotel, Jos, and two multimillion naira factories in the same city, where they built a multimillion naira bakery and sachet water companies for their parents. In July this year, the duo lost their mother in India, a few hours after undergoing a heart surgery.

Their investment on property is earning them millions of naira. But the bulk of their wealth comes from concerts, especially in Africa. The duo has sold above 14million copies of their CDs since 2005. They are said to charge about N4million per local gig, and thousands of dollars for international shows.

The ‘Koko’ Master
Among the wealthiest music stars in Nigeria is the multi award-winning Dapo Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj, Koko Master or Mr. Endowed. Before splitting with Don Jazzy, his childhood friend and producer, D’banj was a Mo'Hits Records partner. He was recently signed on by Kanye West to his G.O.O.D Music label along with Don Jazzy.

He is said to be worth close to a billion naira, made through product endorsements, record sales, shows and smart investment skills. He owns numerous choice automobiles and lives in a big mansion in Lagos. For about five years now, D’banj has been consistent in the list of highly rated entertainers in Nigeria. Apart from music, which has earned him fame, D’banj is an entrepreneur. He is one artiste that has a penchant for making money.

Mr. Endowed has businesses under his label christened ‘Koko’ which include Koko Mansion, a TV reality show; Koko Lounge, an upscale hangout in Lagos and the United Kingdom; Koko Foundation, a charity organisation; and recently launched Koko Mobile.

Although he was reported to have parted way with Globacom telecommunications last year, he however enjoyed his N70million deal with the company before he left.  D’banj has several other brand endorsements that earned him millions of naira. He has a multimillion naira endorsement with an energy drink, Power Fist; a multimillion dollar partnership with the makers of Virgin Colour soft drink; another one with UAC Foods; and a multimillion naira deal with popular jewellery icon, Chris Aire, as the face of his watches.

Sources close to the artiste said he collects between N4million and N5million as performance fee for local gigs. Last year, he was reported to have earned close to N15million for three slots of Star Trek Concert organised by Nigerian Breweries Plc.

D’Banj once said, “I work hard so that money, awards, endorsements, bookings and kokolets (ladies) chase me.” He recently signed a new top music producer, Jaysleek on his new label, D’Banj Records. Jaysleek has produced hit songs for 2Face, Face, Wizkid, Davido, Sound Sultan, Timaya amongst others. He recently produced D’Banj's first song after Mo’Hits split, ‘Oyato.’

From Mo’Hits To Mavin
Micheal Ajereh also known as Don Jazzy was the co-founder of Mo’Hits Records before split with D’Banj. He recently founded a new record label called, Mavin Records, with top artistes like Wande Coal, Tiwa Savage, Dr. Sid and D’Prince on his label. Reputed to be one of the best and most sought after producers, Don Jazzy recently signed a recording deal with international superstar, Kanye West; a move that not only boosted his reputation as an entertainer, but also his wealth. Although sources said most of his investments are ‘coded’ to the public, he is however respected in the industry for his business dexterity.

Before parting way with D’banj, he was reported to have shared over N1billion returns on investment with his partner during their Mo’Hits days. He owns fabulous automobiles and lives in a big mansion in Lekki. Just recently, Forbes magazine listed him as the 36th most powerful celebrity in Africa.

The Ladies Man
Another music star who is swimming in the ocean of wealth is Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tu’Face. The former member of Plantashun Boyz has always been on top of his game with several awards to show for it. He recently won an award at the Best International Artiste at the BET Awards, in Los Angeles, California.

As a frontrunner in the entertainment industry, the African Queen crooner was one of the top hip pop stars to get mouth watering endorsements.  The Guinness Extra Stout deal he once got earned the Benue State born artiste N20million; Airtel deal earned him N22million last year; while he was also said to have earned about N30million from the producers of Phat Girls movie.

With massive album sales, endorsements and concert tickets, Tu’Face is speculated to be worth over half a billion naira with performance charges of N4million to N5million depending on the crowd capacity. He owns properties in choice locations in Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja, and Benue. He drives expensive automobiles and lives a lifestyle fit for royalty. The artiste has invested heavily in real estate and stocks, where he earns big bucks. He once said he was set to recover all the wealth taken from Africa.

In the area of romance, Tu’Face is capable. He has been linked to dozens of women, from former beauty queens, to actresses and other pretty beauties. Tu’Face is reported have numerous children from different women.

The Ebute-Metta Crooner
Olubankole Wellington, better known as Banky W, is also one of the ‘big boys’ in the industry. He makes the bulk of his wealth from gigs. He is a brand ambassador of Estisalat with a multimillion naira deal. He also featured in the Coca Cola-Nigeria’s World Cup theme song, Coca Cola Advert, and Microsoft’s Anti-cyber Crime Initiative where he made some cool cash. Banky W is an entrepreneur and has invested heavily in his EME Records label which produces the likes of Wizkid and Skales.

The Ebute Metta crooner is said to charge between N3million to N4million per show. As a philanthropist, he founded the Mr. Capable Foundation, where he provides tuition fees for indigent and brilliant students.

Wande’s Success Story
The year 2009 and 2010 was a turning point for Wande Ojosipe, a.k.a. Wande Coal. His debut album Mushin 2 Mo’Hits was huge success and since then, he has been the toast of many both locally and internationally. He is presently a Mavin Records artiste after leaving Mo’Hits.

Findings have shown that he does gigs four to five times a week. For instance, Wande performed at AMAA Award in Bayelsa on Sunday, March 27, 2011; Ilorin on Monday (March 28); Abuja on Tuesday, March 29; Port Harcourt on Wednesday, March 30 of the same week where earned between N2.5million and N3million per show. Wande Coal was also one of the top music stars at the last Glo Rock ‘n’ Rule Concert in 10 cities across Nigeria. He has no endorsement deal but hi s song, Bumper-to-Bumper is being used for the commercial of Devon soap, a product of Orange Drugs Ltd. Sources close to the artiste also confirmed he makes additional income from his investment in real estate.

Other music stars who are earning big in the industry include 9ice, Naeto C, Eldee Tha Don, Face, Olu Maintain, Timaya, J. Martins, Brackett, Flavour, among others. The female stars are not left behind as the likes of Goldie, Omawunmi, Sasha, Waje etc smile to the bank after every performance.

The list of music stars making huge revenue is endless as more stars are born daily in the industry. And unlike their counterparts in the sport industry where retirement comes early, musicians have many years ahead of them to make more money with their talent. However, it is advisable that as the monies are rolling in, more of their investment should be in assets –tangible or intangible things that generate income, than liabilities –things that consume resources.