There is no gainsaying that Cameroon urban music is amongst the top in Africa and best in Central Africa as far as afro-pop is concerned. Throughout history, Cameroon has produced lively music with some talented known artists in the international scene such as sax player Manu Dibango, whose 1970s hit song “Soul Makossa” became the first African song to reach the US top 40. In recent times the music industry has witnessed an amazing growth with the likes of Stanley Enow, Jovi, Salatiel, Daphne, Mr. leoLocko, Magasco and many others surfacing with amazing talents from divers parts of the country. We are not too concerned about the history of the music industry, but on the ten unprofessional ways these Cameroonian artists go about showbiz as outlined below;
- INABILITY FOR SOME ARTISTS TO SEPARATE THEIR PERSONAL SELF FROM BUSINESS SELF: Most Cameroonian artists do not master how to separate themselves from the business self in them. What do I mean by a business self? There are artists with one business self as well as some with more. For instance, there is a difference between, NDUKONG GODLOVE, JOVI LE MONSTRE and JOVI. That is, Jovi the person, Jovi the producer and Jovi the artist. Once an artist is unable to have a clear cut about these distinct personalities of him, he is bound to make a lot of mistakes in his or career
- BRANDING: Many Cameroonian artists are unable to master and maintain the brand they represent or the brand they used to break into the music industry. I am not saying that one cannot change his brand or style of music. But let what you change also reflects you. Stanley Enow, for instance, has been able to rebrand himself from a rapper to a singer, and he still fits in. but imagine if he switched to comedy, it will be weird right? let’s look at Blaise B for instance. He is that charming handsome singer with a voice that can melt the heart of any woman and as such, he should carry himself about that way. But when he surfaces with funny attires expected from comedians instead of some dashing Romeo in titanic, honestly it doesn’t match.
- INABILITY TO RELATE PROPERLY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA LIFE: This point is somehow related to the first point. That is to say, most artists do not master the difference between their business selves and their personal selves at such they find it difficult relating on social media. Sometimes most Cameroonian artists react on social media before reflecting. A good Example is Salatiel when he discredited Montess after her Afrima win in 2017. I believe he as a good person that he is, surely regretted after. Bottom-line, as a public figure in general or artist in particular, always reflect on the positive and negative influences of anything before putting it out.
- LACK OF WEBSITES AND PROFESSIONAL EMAILS: This is very common with most of Cameroonian A-List artists and labels. Honestly, it is very unprofessional to relate with a big label in the industry through Gmail or Yahoomail. The disadvantage in this is that Anyone can create a normal email in the name of any artist and impersonate the artist in question to even scam and exhort money from people thereby risking the career of an artist. Secondly, nothing makes an unverified social media account legit unless they are linked to a website that someone can claim ownership. Nb: We have so far seen Salatiel, Magasco, Blaise B and a host of other artists lamenting on fake Facebook accounts impersonating them.
- UNWILLINGNESS OR INABILITY TO HOLD HANDS: Holding one another’s hands both horizontally and vertically is a giant problem in the Cameroon music industry. We can count a few artists in Cameroon who have been able to extend hands vertically to hold upcoming artists to grow. This oftentimes scares upcoming artists from equally extending hands up for help from the established artists. Horizontal hands holding, is not as failed as vertical hands holding. Let’s remember every society grows as a chain. Unless established artists are able to help upcoming artist, Cameroon music industry will hardly acquire the required growth. I will not end this paragraph without giving accolades to Jovi, TzyPanchack, Salatiel, Mr Leo and some producers like Dijay Karl and Sango Edi. NB: Holding hands should not only be within the artists but also artist should extend a hand to young entrepreneurial start-ups who are their core target market so as to make it a win-win adventure in the support your own doctrine.
- POOR AND OR SELFISH BARGAINING POWER. Though this point goes to artist managers, there are so many artists who have more say about their deals than their managers. The point here is, some artists and their teams during any negotiations lack bargaining power and end up receiving very little pay for their shows. Once they discover another artist was paid more than them for the same show, it becomes a problem. At times most of these artists selfishly negotiate for their own personal interest at the detriment of the industry’s interest. Even when an artist rises as the Moses of our time, his or her mouth will be bribed shut. (I don’t know why my mind is thinking about MAAHLOX LE VIBRE here). Also, Managers should not only savour the name but work hard to reflect the name, there is no need having a manager who can’t add value to the career of an artist with innovative ideas, high-level lobbying and increase visibility for his or her artist.
- NON RECOGNITION OF DISRESPECT OF BLOGGERS: it is rather unfortunate that most Cameroon artists do not recognize the role bloggers play in their career. An entertainment blogger in Cameroon can be defined as someone who deliberately sacrifices his or her time and business to support someone else. They gain very little as compared to what they do. That is if and only if they do get it. Worthy of note is the fact that the cost per click for Google ads in the entertainment niche is as low as $0.01. Implying to earn 1$ from an article, a blogger will need 100 ad clicks. But Cameroon artists fail to share or tweet content written even about them. This oftentimes discourages some bloggers who quite their sacrificial work due to ingratitude from those they work freely for.
- POOR RELATIONSHIP WITH FANS: It is very rare in Cameroon to see an artist reply to a comment from a fan especially a positive comment. Often times they are quick to respond to a negative comment and end up exposing their dirty attitudes. One thing most artists fail to understand is the fact that a third of fans who can die for an artist do so because the artist ever replied to his/her comment or message. As an artist, imagine how you will wake up knowing that Beyonce replied to your comment or message. This is the same feelings fans equally wants from you. Even a simple emoji will do. But in Cameroon, most artists feel too big to give out free emojis lol.
- TIME AND SEASON MASTERY: MOST Cameroonian artists don’t master when to release a song and when not to. For instance, even upcoming artists were struggling to release songs during this festive season in December. And their good songs finally went unnoticed due to too much competition whereas, Now in January there is little competition but few song releases. Knowing when, where, and how to release projects and organize event is very vital for all artists.
- PRIDE: Most of the points up have elaborated on this point but let me isolate it here. It is sometimes very difficult for an artist to blow in Cameroon because once an upcoming artist releases a song and it trends just a bit, he begins raising up his shoulders and feeling bigger than his friends with whom he was. Forgetting that these friends pushed him up once the trend is down, it becomes very difficult to bounce back as the people who have been raising him up can no longer do it due to his ergo.
These are to us amongst others the top ten ways Cameroon artists go about music business unprofessionally. If you have another point to add, please leave it in the comment box. We are very open to welcoming new ideas