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MUST READ: The Impact Of Education In The Music Industry

Posted by Temitope Delano on June 6, 2016 in Editorial · 19 Comments

Yesterday, the internet was put in a frenzy of both rage and excitement as one of the top artistes in the nation, decided on ‘schooling’ a fan by telling him, ‘School is not for everyone, just drop out and pursue your dreams.’ Now, in as much as I would love to share my thoughts on his rants from the moment he posted the above to the very last tweet that emerged from his account, I’d let things slide and focus on the topic, how exactly does education impact today’s music industry.

To make things easier to assimilate, I will break it down in three sub-headings.



Music itself

Music, as I love to say is like a compass that shows/directs you in the right (wrong) path to tread and this can be fully understood if fully and clearly expressed. We all know, for anyone to be able to garner that skill on how to express his or her thoughts perfectly, that one person needs the powerful help of formal education. The magnificent hands of Literature added with the powerful hand of English, come to play to create the most beautiful expression needed to convey whatever message need be.

Nigerians today are more into songs that not only stimulates their creative side but also evokes not one but several emotions all in less than 4 minutes and for an artiste without formal education backing to achieve this feat, it will be almost not possible.

You want to write a well composed, grammatically clear with lyrics well researched and smartly picked to convey the ultimate melody and emotion kinda of song? Yes, you need formal education.

I am aware that some artistes, who were not privileged to get a formal education still come up with good songs, but how many of those same artistes actually wrote those songs all by themselves?

The likes of M.I, P.O.E, Waje, Vector, Timi Dakolo (who by the way went back to school and bagged a Master’s Degree in Music) are the few, who have attained that high standard of lyrical wit and skill, which till today put their music in high demand by their millions of fans.


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Music Business

Last week, I wrote an article on record labels and their necessity in today’s music industry which I personally feel is still highly necessary for most young and budding artistes trying to make a way for themselves in the competitive business.

Now, while English and Literature cleverly assists in dishing out lyrics solidly embedded in literary devices like personification, pun, euphemism and the other fun and necessary ones, Mathematics, is another field of course in formal education that can never ever be overlooked.

Maths, is a highly important discipline needed in solving most problems that might crop up in the music business. So, you eventually got an offer from a huge record label and you have been presented with a contract, this is where the powerful might of Mathematics comes into play.

Of course, pursuing a career in the music involves recording, negotiating deals, royalties which are deeply rooted in figures, equations, percentage splits. For someone who has no education in Mathematics, this would definitely confuse him/her which I dare say is what most of these labels wanted from the get go.

No one is asking you to get an M.Sc in Mathematics, rather, understanding the core concepts of this subject makes it easier to calculate your financial returns.

Also, Maths plays a huge role in rhythm and patterns of most of the highly enjoyable melodies churned out from top lyrical gods.



Social setting

There is an air of ambiance that pops it’s head up when learned minds are in a gathering. An educated artiste knows just how to carry his or herself in a social gathering, prompting like minds and brains to come up with business ideas which in turn makes them even bigger and richer acts.

Asides this point, an educated artiste knows just how to respond to a question when being placed on the hot seat.

Recently, Tiwa Savage, who attended Berklee College of Music was interviewed at a radio station and asked her stance on the subject of adoption. She replied, ‘I do not want to say anything politically incorrect’. This is coming from a woman and mother who knows adoption goes beyond the plain cause for charity, as a lot other things are considered in the process of adoption. Nations have different policies about this process which if one day she does decide to adopt, might stand against her as the most successful female act in Africa at the moment.


What do you guys think, is education a necessity in today’s music industry? Let us know in the comment box.


Written by: Tope Delano


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Tope Delano, is a creative content writer/editor at She is a graduate of English and Literary studies who enjoys writing and listening to music. When she is not writing or listening to music, you will definitely find her reading or watching a romantic comedy movie
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19 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Brilliant. Good one at Tope Delano

  2. only if they knows

  3. Musik dose not need degrees..but jux be a bit lenard its gonna help wrt up too

  4. It is essential to be educated, @ least having d 1st degree b4 dabbling in music.
    This is a nice write up. God bless ya!

  5. Well, i cherish your words, very true and even courageous.
    But my opinion: music dont need degree, so far you can read and write, you will be able to think, jot down, arrange the words mathematically and voice it out. Thanks Tope, you’re dope!

  6. Here is why I like reading your work, you make the words easy and simple for your readers, but again isn’t that the sole aim of writing? This is a fantastic job and I can only agree with everything you talked about. Welldone Tope Delano…I really do hope those upcoming acts would settle down and read this, at least you made it easy to digest.

  7. Listen to Homikron, a new school Nigerian rapper, he’s the best lyricist after Modenine……..His lyrics will thrill you

  8. yea it’s a good write up but most American top artiste drop out of school and make it big. I guess the key point is understanding and knowledge

  9. Education is needed because your field of study can sometimes be brought into the music line and with ease the little ones that took you as a role model can easily grap what you are trying to pass out like a football…..get it

    Lyrics (punchlines,metaphors,pun,) is what I can do with ease without too much of thinking cos am use to it……lol

    Even sometimes I can use metaphors and pun to grap and break down of some difficulties of understanding in my course of study……

    For example
    E.g in the world the largest living bacteria is “Thiomargarita namibiensis” see the break down now hahahahahah

    THIO-MAGAR-RI-TA (Thio …The maga see am sell lol ) mixture of English + pidgin + yoruba and NA-MI-BE-HEN-SIS ??? (So u mean ( “Na me be hen sister” ) lol
    ………..its a ghost its a wrap

    Terminology used up there
    Grap means to understand

    Follow me at everywhere you are
    @Charmbuckology lol

  10. Education isnt 100% necessary…its being able to express yourself/pass a message perfectly that matters

  11. hmmmmm

  12. Music is expression of self, topcats like Eminem and Kendrick lamar are dropouts but they got some complex vocabulary, just be intelligent that’s all …besides schools are overrated, mind you those pipo in Nigeria u listed that has masters degree aren’t even close to the success of those without a degree

  13. yl it does not need degree

  14. not atall

  15. i said same it cant

  16. nice one

  17. Education n music go hand in hand but it depends on what u mean by education…education is knowledge,knowledge is key…being properly informed in music is all d best education u can hope n ask 4 in dat field…doing music has nothing 2 do wit maths n english…other music greats made waves without school,so anyone else can…but education is important tho’

  18. Good one

  19. Talib Kweli, Damian Jnr Gong Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Seyi Akinlolu(Beautiful Nubia), Mode9, MI, Vector, Praise, Timi Dakolo, NAS, Common, Tupac etc…great conscious artistes, solid, well crafted lines of lyrics. A lot of us take it for granted that a lot of the greats who dropped out of school are ‘air heads’, but we forget that they must have consciously or unconsciously ingested valuable knowledge and fundamentals before they dropped out that comes to bear on their music. Education can be viewed as an advantage in music, but again it depends on who is applying it. Now, what are we gonna say about our Highlife, Apala, Fuji, Juju and the very many types of native dialect musicians who do not know a word of English, have no formal education and yet drop deep, articulate, message filled lyrics every time they step to the mic or in the booth. So, I think lyrical consciousness and delivery is dependent on the individual and the inspiration to do music.

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