It is such a pity and shame to find out that, in this digital age, most Zimbabwean artists are still ignorant of opportunities the internet has brought to them in terms of revenue generation even posthumous.
It is more worrying to note that musicians still stampede for live shows to put food on their table. While live shows is a good source of livelihood for all musicians even in developed countries, artists need to be reminded that with live shows, it is more to do with satisfying immediate needs.
Yes! most of our artists launch and release albums with show bookings in mind (thus,more bookings, more money), forgetting the harsh reality of life that some day they will wear off and dwindle into the oblivion where no one will be hunting for them to curtain raise their events.
The story of famed actor and comedian, Lawrence ‘Bhonzo’ Simbarashe of the, ‘Timmy naBhonzo,’ drama series who died a ‘pauper’ though he once lived a fancy life, should always remind artists of the harsh realities of life.
At some stage in his life, Bhonzo was unarguably the most successful comedian and this also saw his pockets fattening, to then wonder how all those fortunes faded, boggles the mind.
But at least for Bhonzo, he can be excused as he lived in a ‘not so on-line era’ where there were no platforms to package content for sale even after career termination, secured from piracy.
With all the hullabaloo around the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), key lessons from Bhonzo’s death is that creative artists should be running in hot-pursuit of aggressive, professional on-line presence or at least literacy as it will benefit them in future when careers frail.
Alas! only a few have taken heed.
We will not talk of i-tunes, as most will not relate, instead we will use YouTube to measure the level of ignorance regarding commercializing Internet.
But take for example Zimdance-hall sensation, Freeman, who launched his album titled ‘Mukuru Wekambani,’ last week, four days later, he has not yet uploaded anything on his YouTube channel when he is supposed to be chasing for views (which is where the money will come from).
Now entrepreneurs are always quick to see weaknesses and they capitalize on them. If you would go onto YouTube in search of the HKD Boss’ latest album, you will find all the songs on Maxx Nyandoro channel who uploaded them a day after the launch meaning by the time the man from Danger Zone plans on uploading the content, Nyandoro will have taken a bulk of viewers
Not only him, but a bulk of Zimbabwean musicians have failed to exploit online money making opportunities, YouTube at least, and this is why when you search for their music, first suggestions that pop up are for pirate channels.
Killer T, with his well performing album is one person who would be beating himself to death considering that the same music he uploaded on his channel has not gotten as much traction as it is on pirate channels.
His song Hondo which features Jah Prayzah has reached 500 000 under t_e_n_d_a_i YouTube channel.
However, Winky D and Jah Prayzah appear to be leaders of the pack that is pursuing every dollar they can get form the Internet. They have even gone ahead to copyright their material which disables pirate channels to upload and monetize their content.
Artists can earn a living from the internet, a smarter way of making money and avoiding dodgy and shady promoters who pay off peanuts after countless leaps, sweat and hard work on stage.