The secret to staying fresh isn’t in myriads of releases. It’s in the sweet spot between supply and demand.
Between November 2017, and February 2018, Davido has released 6 songs. Three were official singles with him as the solo artist, one came from DMW, his imprint, and the other two had Larry Gaaga, and DJ E-Cool brand it as theirs.
Is this healthy?
Davido’s ‘FIA’ was the first release. Dropped on November 10, 2017, the single was recorded during Davido’s tumultuous weeks, where he had to bury his bosom friend, DJ Olu, and also live through the police investigation into the death of an acquaintance, Tagbo Umeike, after a drinking bout.
“The entire situation surrounding Davido truly inspired this as I just wanted to make something he could be able to express himself on," Fresh VDM, the producer says. "The record took me 24 hours literally. I couldn’t sleep. It was a tough time for the DMW family but I guess God used me as a tool to ease the entire situation. I sent the beat to David the next day and he liked it and we recorded."
By the end of that same month, ‘Like dat’, another major release produced by Shizzi, was released. The visuals, directed by DAPS, was one of Pulse’s Best Music Videos of 2017. ‘FIA’ and ‘Like dat’ became hits, but the former had a stronger cultural impact and hold on mainstream consciousness.
To many people, ‘Like dat’ didn’t achieve its full potential. A song by Shizzi and a video of that quality from Davido typically has the power to be the number 1 record in Nigeria, and perhaps Africa. But that didn’t happen. While it became prominent from the promotion, the record lacked enough firepower to become a mega-hit. Many fans blame this on the decision of Davido to release both songs within the same promotional cycle.
Here’s how this thing works. An artist and his team decide to have a 12-week campaign with a song. The record is dropped in the first week, with a video shot and ready for release.
It is plugged into the radio, and online, via promotions, and payola for multiple spins. The video typically shows up between the 2 and 4 week, and receives maximum rotation on the most popular channels.
The next 8 weeks are used to promote and push the single via interviews and more. When this is done, the song either becomes a hit or slides into the ‘sunken place’, where singles that don’t blow go to. An unwritten rule in the industry states that artists have to promote and allow a record grow to its highest, before interrupting it with another release.
Davido’s ‘FIA’ already hit the ground running, and didn’t need much work to push, such was its momentum that the release of ‘Like dat’ could never compete. On its own, it was a record that could move mountains. But coming into a world dominated by ‘FIA’, meant that it would never be given the full space and attention to fly.
Fast forward to January 2018, and Davido hit it running. Two songs dropped from his stable. First was ‘Ada’, a single released by DJ E-Cool, his personal disc jockey and proud member of the ’30 Billion Gang’. That same month, ‘Doe’, another collaboration featuring Larry Gaaga, was dropped.
February alone, we have had DMW release ‘Mind’, which is receiving the full label treatment with a video and a promotional budget. And ow, Davido is pushing ‘Flora my flawa’, his personal debut for the year.
We live in an age of surplus. As a people, where we would rather live in abundance than taste the joy of anticipation. The music industry is competitive and the obvious strategy for Davido is to outwork and flood the market with enough material. He’s on a winning run, and the only way to maintain that is to keep playing, and winning.
We are in the generation of surplus, and a general abundance of music. Materials are always competing for attention, feeding fans, staying in their ears, pushing the limits of playlists. Music enthusiasts in Nigeria have learned excess. They have learned mass consumption, and instant rewards. That’s why there’s a market for this.
The major concern right now is burn out, or the law of marginal utility setting in. You know that ;law that states that the more you keep getting something, your enjoyment for it diminishes? It just might come into play.
Davido and producer Fresh VDM have released 5 singles together, and not all of them pack quite the punch of ‘FIA’. But they continue to do their primary job, which is to get into the ears of the fans.
But there lies the danger. The secret to staying fresh isn’t in myriads of releases. It’s in the sweet spot between supply and demand. Where anticipation meets excitement at a new release. Fans might lose that desire if they get flooded too much. They might lose the anxiety for a new record by Davido. They might never shiver in anticipation for new music from OBO, and that’s what we don’t want, do we?