The Nigerian music industry has evolved from humble beginnings. It has witnessed a rapid ascendance from ancient cultural songs based on the norms and customs of the people from where the music emanated, to a global multi-billion-naira industry. The industry is largely regulated by the National Broadcasting Commission, National Film and Video Censors Board, and the Copyright Protection laws and other interest bodies. These institutions have statutory roles to review and censure music contents that overstep or collide with cultural, legal, ethical, or intellectual property requirements or norms.
However, the recent rise in the rate of release and production of lewd, inappropriate, and culturally incompatible music contents in the Nigerian music industry has generated calls for a closer review of how regulatory institutions can be strengthened to effectively address the negative impacts of contemporary music on Nigerian laws and norms, especially among youths. This article evaluates the roles of law in regulating the contemporary music industry in Nigeria to ensure coherence and compatibility with ethical, legal, and cultural norms. It analyses how current regulatory institutions in Nigeria can be strengthened to effectively discharge their regulatory roles of ensuring the appropriateness of music content for the good of the Nigerian society.
There is a steady rise in the level and number of songs and accompanying videos, which promote nudity, coarse language, sexual stigmatization, perversion, lavishness, fraud, get-rich-quick approaches, violence, and gender discrimination. All of these are incompatible and constitute fundamental affronts to Nigerian laws. Thus, there has been a steady rise in the call for such songs to be properly evaluated before being allowed to be released to the public. Where a song fails to provide positive and meaningful content, it behooves the various regulatory bodies, stakeholders, and the society at large to censor such songs and reject such musical productions in order to ensure sustainable development in the minds and character of the youths. While commending many music artists who have helped shape society in ways that have made the society better, politically, morally, and economically, in recent times a lot of the trending musicians have increasingly generated music contents that are generally inappropriate and incompatible with legal, ethical and normative requirements in Nigeria.
The type of music listened to may bring about conduct disorder; which is physical and verbal aggression, fights, and disobedience. This is evident in the song text of a popular fuji musician “Emi o ni gba yeye” (I will not take nonsense). This result is in line with the findings of the Council on Communications and Media, the official website of the American Academy of Pediatrics (the primary recourse for pediatricians who work in the media). The result of the study showed that lyrics have become more explicit in their references to drugs, sex, and violence, “which may produce significant changes in behaviors and attitudes in young listeners.”
Analysis of the content in music videos is important because research has reported that exposure to violence, sexual messages, sexual stereotypes, and abuse of substances in music videos might produce significant changes in the behaviors and attitudes of young viewers. Frequent watching of music videos has been related to an increased risk of developing beliefs in false stereotypes and increased perceived importance of appearance and weight in adolescent girls. In studies performed to assess the reactions of young males exposed to violent rap music videos or sexist videos, participants reported an increased probability that they would engage in violence, a greater acceptance of the use of violence, and a greater acceptance of the use of violence against women than did participants who were not exposed to these videos.
Listening to a piece of music establishes a mood, creates emotions, brings about negative or positive responses, and establishes a behavioral pattern in an individual which becomes part and parcel of such an individual. Every human being has feelings or emotions which hearing or listening to a piece of music can make either negative or positive.
When you listen to songs from the past, one realizes that musicians then sang to promote unity and engage the youths. An example is Christy Essien Igbokwe. Nigerian musicians need to look beyond the present and think of how their music can be utilized positively to better Nigerians.
Now that most of the trending musicians in Nigeria are youths, it is easier for them to connect with the youth and change the narrative. Their songs should be used to condemn drugs, cultism, and other criminal acts. It should be engaging and promote unity. Within the security agencies, the concept of fighting crime among the youth through music can curb the high rate of crime taking place in the country, when musicians produce songs with engaging and life-changing lyrics. Parents’ organizations should spend time working with their children to help them understand the dangers of profanity in the music they listen to. Artistes who promote social vices with their songs should be sanctioned and videos banned from airing on all television and radio outlets by the National Broadcasting Commission, and National Film and Video Censors Board.