Darey Art Alade of Livespot 360 is using innovation and ideas to build out Nigeria’s entertainment and experiential events industry.
LAGOS, Nigeria: Darey Art Alade and his wife Deola are the powerhouse duo behind one of Nigeria’s leading creative companies, Livespot 360.
From launching global entertainment formats such as The Real Housewives of Lagos and The Voice to producing Last One Laughing, shooting commercials and creating viral radio jingles in Nigeria, Art Alade and Deola, who wear the hats of creative director and CEO respectively, have been at the helm of cutting-edge experiential events in Nigeria for the last decade.
Art Alade also moonlights as one of Nigeria’s most sought-after musical talents and event hosts. His foray into the content production and event space began in his early years when chance and preparation got him his first gig on the radio. Born in Lagos, he grew up surrounded by music. His father was a legendary media personality and musician who counted Nigerian icons like Fela Kuti amongst his friends. His parents met when they were both singing in a church choir years ago which incidentally is also where Art Alade honed his skills as a musician.
“I learned how to make commercials, interview people etc, from the radio. One day, someone hosting the morning show opened up an opportunity for me by not showing up for work and I was there, ready, prepped and I took over and the opportunity built itself. Everything was all about time and chance,” says Art Alade to FORBES AFRICA.
From that early opportunity, Art Alade became the go-to name for event hosting, wedding ceremonies and corporate launches in Nigeria.
“Along the way I met my wife and we ended up releasing and promoting my first album and from then on we continued to make music. We set up a record label and she was running a design outfit at the time and we came together and there was always ideas and creativity and that’s how we started out doing things together and we went into the creative space,” recollects Art Alade.
Nigeria’s creative industry is the second-largest employer set to account for about 2.7 million jobs by 2025 according to research by Jobberman, Nigeria’s leading career site.
Like many things in Africa, innovation comes from a lack of infrastructure or scarcity of resources and Art Alade saw this lack in the entertainment space as an opportunity to provide a solution.
“A lot of things we wanted to do at that time couldn’t be done because there was no infrastructure or experience so it was necessity that forced us to create our own experiences,” says Art Alade.
The first experience they created was Love Like A Movie, a Vegas-style experience where music meets theater at the intersection of cutting-edge production – with Kim Kardashian even flying out to join the party. That was the first time in Nigeria’s entertainment history that a solo artist had launched an album like this.
“I was one of the first to engage in what everyone is doing as a template when it comes to launching an album. So, you have a body of work and then it’s time to perform that body creatively, then you invite the whole industry and make it an experience. That happened years ago and I set the trend as a solo artist,” says Art Alade.
That gave birth to the first iteration of Livespot. As word-of-mouth spread, Livespot production morphed into a content ideation and execution hub responsible for the entire 360-degree delivery of brand activations. The company is so busy that during our call at 9PM, Art Alade was still on set putting the final touches together for their new experiential event, Gangs of Lagos, Amazon Prime’s first Nigerian Original, which is set to launch in a week. From Heineken to Apple, Netflix to Showmax, Livespot 360 has built a clientele of both blue-chip Nigerian companies and multibillion-dollar global industry giants who have a vision of sampling the growing Nigerian creative space.
“We want to be the go-to creative solutions company not just in Nigeria but across the globe. We want people to come into Nigeria through our eyes because we understand the challenges on the ground. A lot of global brands want to come into the country but sometimes what happens globally doesn’t apply here and you need a nuanced understanding on the ground and the infrastructure to navigate the challenging waters here.”
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with over 200 million inhabitants so it is no wonder that all the global entertainment companies are making a play to capture a share of this market. From music labels like Sony Music and Roc Nation to the National Basketball Association’s establishment of NBA Africa and Amazon and Netflix, it’s boom time for Nigeria’s creatives.
“I think the Nigerian entertainment industry is flying but we must not get carried away because it is very important to translate a lot of the hype to actual success. It is about building for the future and we have to invest more and more in infrastructure as well as people by training and educating our technical hands. When the hype is gone, just like Bollywood had its peak, how are we going to trickle that down on the value chain and not just internationally but in Nigeria to invest in the people that will solidify the success?” says Art Alade.
And that is where Livespot 360 wants to make a difference. From investing in people and technology, the company hopes to continue contributing to the Nigerian creative industry and owning the platforms that will shape Nigeria’s entertainment future.