The Liberian music industry has been struggling to gain traction and compete with other African industries for a long time. There is no doubt that some Liberian artists have talent. While there are several factors that contribute to this, there are a few key reasons that explain why the Liberian music industry is failing compared to other African artists.
First, Liberian artists have not been able to leverage the power of social media to reach a wider audience and properly market their artistry. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have allowed African artists to connect with fans all over the world, which has helped to propel their success.
Dropping a single or album has to have a proper marketing strategy in order to get the song to a wider audience. Marketing on social media is key for the brand of an artist. Using your platform to show your personality, engage with your fans, and display you public image is key when it comes to branding an artist. In contrast, Liberian artists have been slower to adopt social media as a marketing tool, which has limited their reach and exposure. There have been many amazing Liberian songs, but this is one of many reasons it doesn’t go far out of the Liberian market. Most Liberian artists release music without a rollout plan.
Public relations or “PR” is key when it comes to an industry. That refers to entertainment blogs, shows, events and other platforms. The Liberian industry has many entertainment blogs but most of them are not successful. Many blogs are biased, unprofessional, and don’t seem to have direction or branding. That leads to most of the blogs posting anything which makes them irrelevant or overlooked. Blogs, like DJ’s, help to push an artist and brand. Artists, DJ’s, and blogs must have good relationships in order to grow an industry. With that being said, artists also have to be subject to good and bad criticism for blogs and other media channels. Criticism, good or bad, is still great exposure.
Second, the Liberian music industry has a much smaller audience base compared to other African countries. Liberia has a population of just over 5 million people, which is significantly smaller than many other African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana. This means that Liberian artists have a much smaller potential audience, which translates into fewer opportunities for success.
Thirdly, the Liberian music industry has a lack of infrastructure and resources. Many other African countries have well-established music industries with record labels, music production studios, and established distribution channels. However, in Liberia, the music industry is relatively underdeveloped, with few record labels and limited distribution channels. This makes it difficult for Liberian artists to gain exposure and reach a wider audience. The Liberian Entertainment Awards was a media channel that helped artist to get recognition. Unfortunately, the infamous award show has been active in recent years.
Forth, the quality of music production in Liberia is often poor compared to other African countries. Many other African countries have a thriving music industry that produces high-quality music with world-class production values. In contrast, Liberian music often lacks the same level of polish and professionalism, which can make it less appealing to audiences. For example, singing or rapping in your native tongue is great but there is a way a polish it without changing your native tongue to make it sound appealing. Music is a universal language, once its done right, it will appeal to anyone of any nationality.
In addition to that, there is a lack of financial investment in the Liberian music industry. Many other African countries have record labels, writers, investors, and sponsors who are willing to invest money in the industry or an artist, which has helped to fuel its growth. Having creative teams and stylists is very important to the branding of an artist. However, in Liberia, there is a lack of investment in the industry, which has limited the resources available to artists and made it difficult for them to produce high-quality music and high quality branding.
Finally, there is a lack of international exposure for Liberian artists. Many other African countries have established links to international music markets and are able to promote their artists on a global stage. However, in Liberia, there are limited opportunities for international exposure, which can make it difficult for Liberian artists to gain recognition outside of their home country. Artists like Kobazzie have been able to collab with names like Davido and Stonebwoy. Those collabs have not moved the needle for the Liberian music industry. WHY? There is a lot of factors missing. It's time to the Liberian Music Industry needs to step their game up.
In conclusion, the Liberian music industry's failure to compete with other African artists can be attributed to a lack of resources, infrastructure, and investment, lack of proper marketing, as well as a smaller audience base and limited international exposure. Until these issues are addressed and changed, it is unlikely that the Liberian music industry will be able to compete with other African countries. Addressing these challenges will require significant investments, from the government or private sector, to build a strong music industry that can support the growth and development of artists. Otherwise, the Liberian industry will continue to be a hidden gem.