Music Business: If You Want to Be a Musician Today, You Gotta Learn How to Perform

I enjoyed this article by Bob Lefsetz which says if you want to be a musician today, you have to know how to perform. I think Nigerian artists get this and their live performances continue to improve. From London to New  York, Accra to Lagos, you hear and see our artists put on two hour live shows of outstanding performances.

I hope this culture continues because I do agree with Lefsetz that it is hard to get good live performances today in the USA. That certainly can be the difference maker as more of our artists try to break into the USA market.

Enjoy some of my favorite clips of our artists performing live and then check on the article.




Bez (Private Live Session on Ndani TV)

An excerpt follows:

“Everybody still thinks it’s about records. About hits. And nothing will garner you an audience instantly like a hit. But it won’t keep people coming to your show if you’re not a great performer. In this modern age where it’s hard to get people’s attention, where there’s so much clutter that if you’ve got a hit, many people still don’t hear it, shouldn’t you be focusing on your live show, shouldn’t you be honing your performing skills?

Look at it this way. Psy is one and done. He’s no different from those guys who did the Macarena. And it’s not about the song, but the video. And video was the dominant art form in the eighties and nineties, but now it really doesn’t matter what you look like. It matters if you can play, and if you can sell the song you’re singing.

I know this is the opposite of everything you’re hearing, but if you want a career in music today, you’re better off focusing on your live skills than your recoding chops.

This is why so many of the white/Brooklyn/hipster bands don’t penetrate beyond their core. If you don’t buy into it from the get-go, you can’t be convinced. Take anybody to see Prince and they’re closed. Take just anybody to see most of today’s bands and they’ll be howling to leave.

But the problem is bigger than that. It’s not only a lack of riveting performers, it’s a lack of places to play. People would rather hear records, or stay home. Because oftentimes when there is live music, it sucks. If you can’t sell it as the bar band at the Holiday Inn, you’re never going to go anywhere.”

Bob Lefsetz has the full story.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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