Extending the reach of African artists has always been a priority for Jukebox Music founder, Akoh Isiah-Akoh. The Jukebox brand is one of the new brands influencing the Nigerian music business today, thanks to a team of talented team players.
Amid the rising popularity of Afrobeats and African music in general around the world, it is crucial for native media companies like Jukebox to continue giving artistes platforms and voices so they can be seen and heard by the local and global listeners. Jukebox has ferociously taken on this responsibility.
With the aid of the internet, which has influenced how music and sounds are presented and advertised to us in the modern day, jukebox has evolved into a venue for the audience to be introduced to fresh artistes and sounds.
In a conversation with TXT, Akoh Isiah-Akoh, founder of Jukebox, shares the past, present and future of the brand with us.
How did the Jukebox Music brand start?
Akoh: Jukebox began at one of the night classes at the university. While studying for tests with a friend, I said “Hello, Kevin I’m about to launch a music blog, but I’ve been having trouble naming it “and after that, we began looking for names for music players, finally arriving at Jukebox Music.
What was the idea behind your brand?
Akoh: As the name applies, Jukebox, the idea is based on being a music player/music discovery website for Nigerian and African Music lovers.
What goals did the brand set out to achieve?
Akoh: Our major goal as a brand is to push out talented artists to an audience that will consume their music. We have been lucky to be part of the growth of artists like BNXN, Burna Boy, and Olakira, and it’s been a lovely ride.
We also have a goal of being one of the largest and biggest music festivals where artistes can perform and even get noticed by international listeners.
We all know what Coachella has done for our African stars.
Can you say the brand has achieved its goals so far?
Akoh: Yes, we have achieved that, but obviously we can do more, and there’s more to come, and we are not stopping anytime soon.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Akoh: Let’s be honest, the Internet problems we have faced building this brand haven’t been easy, and then the artistes and their lack of knowledge about the music business means we need people to learn more about it because it’s always hard to get them to understand basic things.
The Nigerian music sphere has grown beyond borders; how have brands like yours contributed to the global acceptance of Nigerian music and how do you intend to continue?
Akoh: Yes yes! I would love to say that Nigerian music is even bigger than a lot of us and that nobody can even be a gatekeeper anymore.
Jukebox has contributed to making people discover a lot of artistes and songs; we pushed the BNXN song with Zlatan; we were the first blog to publish Burna Boy’s “Smoke some weed” when nobody said it; it’s been 10 years and it’s still a tune today; see how Burna Boy has grown!
We don’t intend to stop anytime soon; there is still a lot to be discovered. We have also pioneered the push of the rap genre. It’s a genre that will take over everywhere soon, with how it’s influencing the Abuja lifestyle.
What’s the most interesting thing about your brand? What sets you apart from other similar brands like yours?
Akoh: I think the name is distinct, and then how we find artistes when nobody is looking where nobody expects and we scream their names till they pop sets us apart from other brands who just jump on the train when the artistes are already popping.
What changes do you think need to be made in the media space for brands like yours to flourish?
Akoh: I think we need to stop free download culture and then make sure everybody hits the steaming links; everybody has to put in the maximum amount of work and build this space together and keep the whole gatekeeper, and I’ve been here for 18 years, aside. We all need to work together to push this culture.
How profitable do you think media brands are in Nigeria considering the challenges of doing business in the country?
Akoh: Media brands in Nigeria will always be fruitful to me, you just need to position yourself and then get noticed! And all this can be done with consistent hard work.
If you could bring back one trend in the music industry, what would it be and why?
Akoh: I’ll do anything to have male bands coming up and dropping hits, like psquare and the likes.
What new artists are you vibing to right now?
Akoh: I love the transition of Pheelz and Young Jonn from producers into hitmakers, but See Blaqbonez,BNXN, Ruger and Rema, Ayra Starr are really giving it now!!!
What’s next for Jukebox music?
Akoh: By the grace of God, we would be moving into management and events I believe everybody would love to attend a JukeboxFest soon!!