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The world’s leading promoters & the 55 top markets they operate in.
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With its stars Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido currently taking the world by storm, Nigeria is a powerful force in exporting music. And while its population revels in the domination of its domestic artists, this is affecting demand for international acts performing in Africa’s most populous country.
From its beginnings as a live events production company, Livespot has expanded to become a multifaceted creative solutions company covering experiential marketing, production, entertainment, advertising and media, digital marketing/tech innovation, and more. It also owns a significant stock of equipment through one of its subsidiary companies, Rent A Rig, including trussing, PA, projectors, LED screens, and top-spec lighting rigs.
Livespot’s Entertainment arm produces the Born In Africa Festival (covering music, art, film, and fashion), Love Like A Movie (a valentine-themed concert experience, which has featured the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland, and Ciara) and Livespot X Festival (featuring Cardi B, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Tems, and more) as well as music events for big-name brand clients.
“There’s a real thirst to see international acts, but it’s not always backed by the financial wherewithal given our economy and the real cost of these international acts. So that thirst to see acts has to be matched with a desire from brands willing to fund it.”
It also owns a venue, Livespot Entertarium, which comprises of two merged 3,700sqm, 12m-high complexes creating a purpose-built event arena with audio and TV studios; rehearsal studios; conference and meeting rooms, and more. Larger than the Eko Convention Center – a frequently used venue for international and domestic concerts – its multifunctionality means it’s the largest indoor facility in Nigeria.
“There’s a real thirst to see international acts,” says Livespot managing director Tiwa Medubi. “But it’s not always backed by the financial wherewithal given our economy and the real cost of these international acts. So that thirst to see acts has to be matched with a desire from brands willing to fund it.”
And chief creative director Dare Art Alade adds that international acts need to understand that the strength of the domestic market means Nigerian talent will most likely top any concert bill, no matter how big the other names are. “If you put a huge Nigerian artist on the same bill as a huge ‘international’ artist in Nigeria, you’d be quite surprised that the homegrown star needs to close out that show. But that’s what audiences demand. When it comes to what kind of acts entertain us, unless it’s a huge star of the likes of Jay-Z, Drake, or Beyoncé, Nigerians won’t even flinch.”
Medubi says: “With due respect to everyone’s craft, there was a time in the past where if an artist wasn’t doing too well in other markets or declining in their own market, they would look to come to Africa. And Nigerians were happy to have them. These days, with our guys taking a seat on the biggest tables on the global stage, those days are gone.”
“With due respect to everyone’s craft, there was a time in the past where if an artist wasn’t doing too well in other markets or declining in their own market, they would look to come to Africa. And Nigerians were happy to have them.”
This December sees Afrobeats festival Afro Nation land in Nigeria for the first time, following editions in Accra (Ghana), Miami (US), Detroit (US), Portimão (Portugal), and Balneario De Carolina (Puerto Rico).
“Lagos is a huge one for us,” festival founder and UK co-head of agency UTA, Obi Asika, said during Easol’s new masterclass series recently. “It’s been in the making –
mentally, for me – for years. I feel like it opens up the whole continent and the whole country.
“There’s so much potential there – restaurants and clubs are packed – but large-scale events have been where things fall down. I’d love to prove the point that something large-scale can be done safely and in a quality way in Lagos because I think that would open up a lot of opportunities for everybody.”
Eyeing the huge potential for growth, major international venue firms are moving into Nigeria, with Oak View Group currently working on developing a venue in Lagos, CEO Tim Leiweke said earlier this year.
“Huge brands are making inroads investing in infrastructure here, just as we are,” says Alade. “We have huge partnerships, probably the biggest you can imagine (but we can’t mention names just yet) that will have a huge impact on the infrastructure and the business of promoting and live experiences.
“Huge brands are making inroads investing in infrastructure here, just as we are.”
So, for the foreseeable future, we expect heavy investment in infrastructure, particularly arenas and venues for several thousand people, which are retrofitted to global standards. The other big challenge is ticketing, but we’re hoping to close the gap on those two items, with the partnerships and deals we’re about to announce.”
To develop the nation’s live entertainment industry further, last year, the company organised the first Entertainment Week Lagos – a gathering, ecosystem, and platform that aims to “bring the world to Lagos to collaborate, network, showcase, and exchange knowledge and resources,” covering many aspects of the entertainment industry including fashion, art, tech, brands, and music, with empowerment being the overarching focus.
“Over the years, we’ve invested in a lot of people in terms of training. When we have partners come in from across the globe, from the UK, South Africa, and the US, we ensure that they transfer skills to our indigenous talents in areas such as lighting, staging, and so on. Our outlook is multi-pronged because we’re in this for the long haul,” says Alade.
Other regular promoters working with international acts include Toro Entertainment Company, which promotes the Vibes On The Beach events (headlined in 2022 by Wizkid), and Flytime Fest, which, since 2014, has produced the festival of the same name, featuring performances by Wizkid, Davido, Craig David, Megan Thee Stallion, and Burna Boy.