The emergence of Nigerian Christian blogs have aided the growth of Gospel music tremendously. Prior to its emergence, gospel artistes existed in clusters, with one or two popping up at intervals and cutting across. Examples are Lara George, Sammie Okposo, Buchi, Midnight Crew and more. These ones beat the odds and stamped their faces in our minds even before the first Christian blog could publish its first article.
Notwithstanding, what we could not achieve in ten years, we have been able to do in 3-5 years because of these crop of new media (Yes, another name for online media is new media). There is actually a platform for the gospel and the online media have aided the growth of terrestrial media tremendously in that it is the first point of contact which the other media leverage. We have been able to form a chain of network readily available to serve the christian audience – an alternative to the perversion of its counterpart and strong enough to disseminate message and give a backbone to ministers and their ministry. Be it music, church, literature, event, and more.
However, a lot of gospel artistes have failed to acknowledge the importance of this media and have either been relegated to the background or have picked up pace slowly in a jet age.
The least an artiste can do for himself is to be social media savvy, at least, it has worked very well for some, so well that they can have a successful release just by posting a link on their social media accounts, but even then, the blogs still play the role of taking the release to the next level and we have seen numerous occasions where a song became major because of the power of these blogs. (Allow me to use “blogs” although most of these platforms have integrated online radio, TV, soft copy magazine and the likes).
It may cost you a token to put your material on some of these platforms as an artiste. Others may take your materials for free as long as you satisfy some conditions but I guarantee that you will pay less and enjoy more access if you paid more attention to presentation. Yes, online promotion depend largely on presentation because you are appealing to the sight before any other thing and this could be achieved in more ways than one. It can also be used to sustain an awareness campaign such that you draw maximum attention to your material, however, I will like to mention one of the most overlooked ways this can be achieved.
The Artwork/Album Art
The artwork or album art is an illustration prepared for inclusion in a publication. According to the definition, the artwork is the graphic illustration of your material. In this case, music. It is an expression of the music and the saying goes, put your best foot out, therefore if you have made a great song, you also should be willing to give it a great expression. Often times, a lot of great songs have gone down the bloggers trash folder because of the artwork. Imagine having about 20 songs to attend to and the blogger switch to elimination mode. I don’t think the first form of elimination will be listening to the songs, rather, it will be discarding poor presskit. Now when a presskit is opened, nothing tells the story of the song like the artwork does, therefore the blogger goes for the artwork first – even before reading the press statement in most cases – especially when the artwork is displayed inline in the email.
The problem is that most Christian artistes undermine the importance of the artwork and do not take the making seriously – that is not to say I have not seen some artwork that have astounded me over the years… shoutout to Glowreeyah – the artwork for “God Alone” video still stands out as one of the best ever, Wole Oni‘s “Cover Me Lord”, Joepraize‘s “Introduction” DVD, Nosa‘s “Open Doors” and Ada‘s “So Fly” & “Lifted” album artworks too, amongst others. But for the most, Christian artistes have received a label because of the kind of artwork they produce for their music releases so much that it has become a turn off. I have advised some artistes pertaining to artwork but as soon as I recommend a graphic designer stating his price range, they take to their heels! Now tell me, if you will not invest in something you would use to add value to someone else life, where is the value you are adding? Can you give what you don’t have? Moreover, you took the pain to make a great song, why let something as simple as an artwork be the undoing of the song’s destiny?
Everyday, somewhere on a blogger’s table, great songs are going down the trash folder and it’s all because of bad artwork. It’s time we stepped up comrades! The harvest is still plenty!
I will like to talk about the press statement too but that is a topic for another day. Meanwhile, as an artiste, do you write your press releases yourself? Do you hire the help of a PR? Do you check what has been written before publication? Watchout! a lot of writeup have marred the good image of the artistes because of lazy writing and writers, unnecessary CAPITALISATION (hehe… for emphasis sake), using small letters for nouns (e.g name of a person, place, etc), bad spellings and social media IMs (e.g “@” instead of “at”, “U” instead of “You” etc) and more.