#DearArtiste: That is not a viral video, it’s a low budget one

We all know Nigerian artists like their national government, take audiences way too unseriously. Critically, Nigeria has been blessed with such and ingeniously uninventive generation of artists. We’re  almost certain Nigerians are the only ones who have experienced first hand what a club song with gospel undertones that could also pass for a political campaign rally anthem  sounds like (shout out to Wizkid by the way). But we have tolerated all of this alongside all the bad PR(s), half-witted publicity stunts and poorly thought grand lies. Of course, that’s even if they had the common sense of courtesy to think about the plot holes of the lie at all. But as expected, many a time, they don’t.

Viral videos by description are usually short clips circulated via the machinery of a social media actively sharing and redistributing it. Usually, they are expected to be shot by amateur hands with often humorous content. Logically, this means two things; (i) Except it is funny, a full blown audiovisual clip shot with poor content direction does not pass as a viral video (ii) A video can only be deemed viral after it has been shared by fascinated social media users. In other words, tagging a video “viral’ does not give it a free pass as one.

Interestingly in Nigeria, the ‘viral video’ trend has been around for a while, but there has been little attention paid to it by anyone. Artists who have their shoulders too high in the sky to admit being cash-strapped to make a properly cut, pasted and edited videos often release poorly directed versions labelled as viral. We don’t know but a wild  guess suggests we’re miraculously expected to start sharing the usually amateur video on our individual social media accounts even though nothing interesting happens through the entire run time.

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Music videos do not come cheap. Even in established music markets, the filming and release of music videos usually chunk out a bulk of record deals offered to artists. But it doesn’t mean artists are not allowed to have bad music videos or poorly directed ones masked as lyric videos.

For the sake of emphasis, a vignette of an artist walking through a desolate subway station in London or video of a crowded street shot on an iPhone camera without any actual content value is not a viral video.

It’s just a horribly cheap one.

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