The entertainment industry all over the world is filled with various intrigues often times bordering on the negatives such as sex scandals, betrayals, disloyalty, drugs, fraud , deception, you name it. Nigeria cannot and will not be exempted from such realities, especially as we are a country where the “Dog Eat Dog” philosophy is somewhat institutionalized.
Early on Thursday 10th September 2015, I read Tweets from one of the Psquare brothers alleging that premium music channel Soundcity had stopped airing Psquare music videos. I initially saw it as one of those celebrity statements thrown out there for the mere purpose of trending, more like a publicity stunt. You can imagine my surprise when the management of Soundcity replied and confirmed Psquare’s allegations, sighting various reasons bordering on ingratitude.
Soundcity stressed that over the last decade it had contributed to the phenomenal success of Psquare and that when time came for Psquare to reciprocate the gesture, the duo reneged. Apparently, Soundcity needed Psquare’s services for an event in December last year and hoped for a subsidized appearance fee, or better still a pro-bono transaction. Psquare manager and big brother Jude Okoye opted to keep things strictly formal, insisting on collecting his group’s fixed appearance fee. Well, Soundcity also claims that Jude Okoye added ‘insult to the injury’ by asking what Soundcity has contributed to Psquare’s success. Soundcity responded by banning all Psquare music videos from their platform.
Personally, I think Soundcity should be worried that up until September 2015 (nine months later), most Nigerian music consumers had not noticed that Psquare videos were no longer being aired on their station. As a matter of fact, it was Peter Okoye’s response to a couple of tweets that threw the lid open and brought this nine-month old issue to lime light.
The management of Soundcity should realize that they run a business and music is their major product; the channel is neither a monopoly nor a cartel. Competition is strong; we have several local and International music channels struggling for prominence as Nigerian music continues to boom.
Psquare remains one of the biggest acts in Nigeria. The fact that in almost nine months, Nigeria’s entertainment community made no real reference to this issue shows that Soundcity’s relevance may be diminishing. Nigerians have too many music channels to choose from. Soundcity is still a viable brand but as a trader you don’t take one of your best selling products off the shelves just because its manufacturer did not greet you properly. Also, if you do take one of your top selling products off the shelves and customers are not bombarding you with enquiries; it means they’ve found somewhere else to purchase it. Who suffers on the long run?
As for Psquare, Peter and Paul Okoye have paid their dues and deserve whatever fame and fortune accruing to them right now. They met many people on their way to the top and cannot possibly compensate everyone that contributed directly or indirectly to their success. It is true Soundcity gave Psquare videos heavy rotation in the past but it is also possible that Psquare videos attracted many new viewers to Soundcity. The relationship between music channels and top selling artistes will always be a symbiotic one. No one can fault Psquare’s manager for insisting on keeping things strictly business, regardless of the client; however the principle of negotiations or barter should have prevailed. Perhaps if the tone used by both parties was more cordial, everyone would have been happy.
My honest verdict is that with multiple local and international television platforms currently available to Psquare, Soundcity is the biggest loser in this case.
However, Psquare should have it at the back of their mind(s) that no matter how popular a celebrity is today, popularity does fade. I don’t see the Okoye brothers ever being broke in the nearest future, but maintaining good relationships with influential media platforms can never be a bad decision.