2017 is upon us. Everyone is growing older. Like the popular saying; ‘old wine is fine wine’, some people are getting wiser and smarter each passing year. But, many others are unfortunately becoming absurdly unreasonable either by choice or unavoidable circumstances as they age! That is life!
For the past two decades, our musicians have been predominantly depending on concerts and local performance bookings as their ‘cash goats’. Most of the wealth that has been accumulated by many of these singers has come from payments for either local show performances or organizing album launches and concerts. That has been the norm.
But with the fast growing number of serious musicians (rumored to be close to 1,000) in Uganda, revenues from concerts and shocks have dipped. For instance, during the just concluded 2016 Christmas season, there were more than 100 shows in Kampala and other major towns. But, the number of artistes announced and paid to perform at these shows was in the region of 80.
As expected, Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono had the highest number of shows. Ironically; at these shows, same artistes were advertised. Majority of musicians that performed at Kavumba recreation also performed at Kiwatule and Freedom City. Many that were at Colline Hotel Mukono were also in Bwaise, Nabugabo Sand Beach and later Busabaala. In all; about 15 artistes were shared on most of the posters. For those that had many bookings, they earned abnormal profits while those with no bookings endured slient holidays.
Such occurrences are not good for the industry. In markets like South Africa, the number of musicians is equally high but many of them are reaping big from their art unlike here were only a few are enjoying the majority share of revenues leaving leftovers to the most of the artistes.
What is happening in markets like South Africa is thanks to revenue generation diversification and expansion. Instead of only focusing on show performances and album launches, many artistes in markets like South Africa have prioritized other revenue streams. These are Digital Music Sales ( Full Tracks, Half Tracks and Phone Tunes- CallerTunez and Hello Tunes for the case of MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda respectively). They are also focusing on singles and album sales mainly through online music selling platforms.
The other avenues they are focusing on to generate more revenues are product and brand endorsements at the nation, regional and township levels. In our market, the view of endorsements and sponsorships is for big and super brands. In reality, it should never work that way. From village to national level, there are several brands, institutions and companies that need brand endorsers and ambassadors.
As such, our musicians and their ‘learning management teams’ must source for those deals at all levels. If you can’t have a national ambassadorship for a beverage company, it doesn’t hurt if you get one for a town to town transport company. Like they say, one by one makes a bundle. It makes better sense for over 100 musicians to be brand ambassadors to brands and companies based in their areas of residence, towns and districts while another 10 musicians are signed to national brands. Our musicians need to critically give this serious thought.
And when money starts to flow in from all the different avenues listed above ( concerts, digital music sales, singles and album sales plus Ambassadorship and Brand Endorsement deals among others), our musicians should put it to proper use through investing in more businesses either in the entertainment line or outside it.
If this is implemented, then music fans will be rest-assured that calls for fundraising and help to hospitalized and debt-burdened artistes will reduce.
But importantly, such a formulae will serve our dear musicians the endless embarrassment of nonstop begging and fundraising when they are faced with life problems including illness , accidents and debts.