It’s 2023 and hardly any smash hit goes out without marketing and a strong rollout plan.

To gain a wider reach and keep momentum going for a long time post-release, a pre-planned rollout of promotional activities is necessary. Nigerian music has evolved such that a lot more intentionality goes into executing a project release.

It’s no longer enough to hold your money and be creative, the average Nigerian musician needs to find new ways to engage people. Learn from Davido, Joeboy, Victony and Ladipoe, who are currently running the hardest rollout campaigns.

Davido released his latest album, Timeless, in March 2023, bouncing back from a major personal tragedy. He set a new bar with the project, which became the number one album on Spotify in 24 hours, broke Boomplay’s debut week record in four days, had the highest on-demand streams across all platforms in its first week, and is one of the best albums of 2023, according to Rolling Stones — all results of his star power and the fantastic rollout he put in place with his team.

From March 30 to April 1, 2023, Davido collaborated with Beat FM, who changed their name to “Timeless FM” to promote the release.

A partnership with PUMA to produce his merch and sneakers line followed, as Davido joined their list of famous partners — Jay-Z, Skepta, Dara and more. PUMA, who’s also making Manchester City FC’s home kits for the 23/24 season, invited Davido to the club to see its match against Chelsea on May 21, 2023, to celebrate its third Premier League cup in a row.

When you think of levels, his partnership with Martell is one for the record. An exclusive blend cognac blend — Martell x Davido — was launched to honour their partnership renewal in June, 2023.

These events put the already loved superstar in the world’s face, announcing his return and increasing exposure for his new body of work, Timeless

But Davido didn’t stop at brand visibility; he’s also killing it in the pop cultural department. The world is doing his “Unavailable” dance challenge as they prepare for his tour in three weeks. He’s made appearances on popular platforms like The Lateish Show (his UK TV debut), Forbes, Drinks Champ, NativeMag, Billboard, spreading his message to a larger audience across the globe. And in May, he was awarded an honorary title of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). 

We stan a king who knows his business and is aware he must hawk it.

Joeboy has also applied a new approach to engaging his fans; his new album campaign has shown there are no restrictions to music promotion. While most musicians limit it to media tours and a little social media interaction, Joeboy unlocked a new channel for Body and Soul, which dropped in May, 2023. 

He understood that podcasts are the hot cake of media, so why not set one up to talk about his album, the stories and processes behind it and the creatives who contributed to it? And that he did in May.

He’s only taken this further by hosting some fans at his birthday/album listening party — an experience many couldn’t get enough of.

He has done a great rollout so far but most impressive is the unprecedented provision of free transportation — in effort to reduce the subsidy stress people face, he provided buses to help people in Lagos shuttle between 8 a.m to 6 p.m without hassle.

Stayed true to his words.

Since “Body and Soul” dropped, he has put his foot on the gas, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.

Victony is another artist rolling out like a king right now. Coming after the success of his Soweto remix, Victony announced that “Ebelebe Music” will drop this June, and we don’t even know if it’ll be an album, EP or single.

He’s since brought dramatic content to our phone screens, featuring artists like BlaqBonez, OdumoduBlvck, comedian, Nasboi. In these short clips, Victony has been walking around with a briefcase that has “Outlaw” written on it.Victony hands the featured artist the panama cap and watches them wear it. Could these videos be hinting at possible Ebelebe Music collaborators? Victony is cooking, and we’re here for it.

The game is slowly changing and demanding artists’ A-game. For example, Ladipoe’s quietness after his appearance on his label’s recent album, “Chapter X”, has caused a sudden outburst from fans, who are demanding new music through protests and hashtags.

Nigerian comedian, Layi Wasabi, joined the list of people demanding for new music, even addressing Ladipoe by his government name. Yes, it was that deep.

On June 1st, these starved fans went on a mission spearheaded by Layi Wasabi; tailed down the rapper, kidnapped and held him hostage for hoarding songs. The ransom, new music.

Not a joke.

These fans took control of his social media accounts to make demands.

You’ll think it’s a skit, but as the drama unfolds, you begin to see that there’s something in the water. After hot slaps and gbas gbos here and there, he agreed to their terms.

Freedom at last.

Ladipoe went straight to the studio and gave the kidnappers their ransom with the release of “Guy Man”, featuring Bella Shmurda. All we’ll say on the matter is Ladipoe has learnt well from Nollywood.

The level of intention, out-of-the-box ideas and passionate teams behind these rollout strategies have made more people connect with the music. 

Afrobeats in 2023 has gained huge visibility and gone from performing theatre shows to selling out stadiums, penetrating the Asian market and being formally recognised as a music genre with a new Grammy Award category — “Best African Music Performance”.

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