HOW THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WORKS IN CAMEROON


The music industry in Cameroon is quite an exciting one. Cameroonians love to dance, sing and have fun basically every day….it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Monday or the weekend. Most often, when Cameroonians have fun, it is accompanied by great music. The main brands of Cameroonian music listened to or danced to, are Mokossa, Bikutsi and at times the “Bensikin”. As a result, the Hip Hop and R&B artists who are trying to make themselves known are still in the shadows.

There are great music talents in Cameroon but they are yet to be exploited. Even when they are spotted, they end up being wasted. For example, so far we’ve had brilliant voices win singing contests e.g. ‘THE STAR DE DEMAIN’, ‘I WANNA BE’ etc…but upon winning a contest, all sorts of promises are made to them on how to help them follow up their career and reach their goals but they are later abandoned and nothing is ever done to actually help them achieve their ultimate dreams.

Of course many young artists want to be known at the international level despite the fact that they are not known at the national level. As an observer passionate about music, I don‘t see how that is possible. If anything, I think despite the fact that it is difficult to get produced; some budding artists are part of the problem in trying to over dream of suddenly going international without any National recognition.

It is a fact, if you never knew or thought of it, that most music producers in Cameroon do not produce musicians. Not because they do not find young talented budding artists, but simply because producers cannot afford to pay for the recording of their albums. As a result those true talents who cannot be produced or do not have the means to sponsor their own music end up not being known. In some instances, even those (the 1%) who try to produce themselves and pay for their albums to be recorded don’t even know how to go about marketing their product. Hence the lack of success in the Cameroon Music scene.

Cameroonians have a lot to offer so far as music is concern but the push is not there. Even the Ministry of Culture gives a deaf ear to all that is happening…one main reason why most music albums produced end up being listened to only by the producer, the musician and probably his friends and family members…in ‘Njangi’ houses, pear groups and village settings. How then can Cameroon grow in the domain of music when even at home we cannot sell our own music to Cameroonians? A saying goes that…”Charity begins at home”…but from my perspective, it isn’t the case in the Cameroonian music industry. In Cameroon Charity does not begin at home. Apart from the production aspect, the worst part is that Cameroonians (as consumers) love all things foreign when it comes to music. Cameroonian music always comes last.

In summary and conclusion, the way the Music industry works in Cameroon is that if you are talented or even not talented you are probably on your own because even with those of you who are talented, the producers are too financially unfit to help you, and even when you produce yourself, Cameroonians are too unpatriotic to support you. It is a dog eat dog situation.