Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s largest copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, has called for the coming together of the different interest groups within the music industry to properly tackle the problems of the industry, and to end the era of ‘divide and rule’ which it says has been deployed to pauperize the stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry.
In his “No Music Day” address to the nation issued from COSON House in Ikeja, and syndicated on multiple media platforms across the nation and across the world on September 1, 2020, the Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, Chief Tony Okoroji, said, “On this ‘No Music Day’, we must tell the musicians of Nigeria that our problems will not be solved until we stop the bickering and factionalization in our industry which most times are exploited to keep us down. We must work together in the interest of our country and the young people who look towards us for guidance. We must understand that in a democracy, there will be alternative points of view. Each alternative view should not result in the setting up of an alternative faction”
Continued Chief Okoroji, “We should no longer tolerate a situation where there are diverse organizations in the industry that upon close observation provide no answers and do nothing for anyone except those who claim to be their leaders”
In the words of the celebrated former President of PMAN, “All true musicians in Nigeria must be terribly embarrassed by the endless finger pointing and dirty name calling that have become the order of the day in PMAN, the once most admired and important national association whose image has been badly damaged and which has been made the laughing stock of the nation. The time has come for the bickering and quarrelling to stop and for those in the industry who truly have the interest of musicians at heart to come together and work with one another to ensure that the industry speaks with one voice on critical issues. We must take to heart the immortal words of the late Dr Martin Luther King Jnr who said, ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools’”.
Speaking on the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the music industry Chief Okoroji held that while the pandemic has hit practically everyone badly, it has been devastating for musicians in Nigeria. According to him, with all event venues shut down, event centres, hotels and nightclubs closed, no birthdays, no weddings, no product launches, no concerts and not even funerals allowed, the income of thousands of musicians in Nigeria has been crushed.
He declared that it was as a result of this devastating situation that during the Coronavirus lock down, the COSON Board took the bull by the horn and earmarked the sum of N72.5 million naira of COSON money for distribution to musicians across Nigeria to cushion the crushing effects of the pandemic. According to him, “the great lesson is that there was no quarrel whatsoever about the distribution of the money because it was done transparently. Of course, we could have done a whole lot more if the many obstacles placed in our way by the Nigerian environment were not there”
Said the COSON Chairman, “the fact that this broadcast is being made from the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja built without one naira of government money, no loan, grant or debt whatsoever places on record what the Nigerian creative community can do if no shackles are placed on us.
“We have read in the newspapers and heard on broadcast media that the government is interested in providing COVID 19 palliatives for the creative industry. We find it odd that as the one Nigerian organization with the greatest number of creative people and undeniable structure, several months into the COVID 19 lockdown, nobody has reached out to us, nobody has asked us any questions and nobody has provided any palliatives”.
TO WATCH THE “NO MUSIC DAY” 2020 OFFICIAL STATEMENT AS READ BY COSON CHAIRMAN, CHIEF TONY OKOROJI ON BEHALF OF THE NIGERIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY KINDLY CLICK ON THIS LINK