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Musicians, record labels take music to the streets

As the economy continues to take a nosedive, a range of musicians and record labels have taken their musicians to the streets.

This move has been prompted by the skyrocketing number of vendors who have flooded the country’s capital trading music CDs for a paltry fee.

Selling music has become a source of income for vendors who are amongst the 90% of unemployed people in Zimbabwe.

As they try to survive in these harsh conditions musicians including Kudzi Nyakudya, Live Nechavava, Dembo Brothers, Selmor Mtukudzi among others have taken their music to the streets via agents who sell these CDs to passers-by.

These musicians have resorted to self-advertising where they set up huge Chinese-made speakers and play their music on the streets as a way to attract those passing by.


Photo credit: www.tvyangu.com

263Chat spoke to Life Nechavava, an upcoming gospel musician.

The Makomborero hobho hit-maker considers his street listeners equally as important as the patrons of exclusive clubs.

“I’m just trying to find a new market for my music and to get in touch with the people on the ground as well as increase my sales.


“I took my music to the streets as a way to make sure that my music gets into the hands, homes and ears of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

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Romeo Gasa, a young Sungura artist said record bars sign artists for a paltry 10% of the net sales instead of the other way round.

“Musicians are getting peanuts from record bars thus we are now bypassing record bars and taking our music straight to the streets where profit margins are way too much compared to what you get from the record bars,” he said

In an effort to combat piracy, Diamond Studios, a record label is also selling music in the sreets.

In parked cars, representatives of Diamond Studios sell music from yesteryear.

A representative who spoke on conditions of anonymity said that on a daily basis they pocket more than $50.

“We sell more than 50 disks on a daily basis and streets have proved to be paying rather than waiting for customers to visit our outlets she said.

Tinashe Mutero, music analyst said the number of artists turning to the streets had increased dramatically in recent years, “This is a positive thing because it brings the streets to life with good vibes. Lots of people can’t go to music shows because of the high price of tickets, but anyone can come to these streets shows.” He encouraged people to “listen to real music”, from the owners themselves whether it’s gospel, zim-dancehall or sungura because it will make them feel in a way they have never felt before.”

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Journalist based in Harare

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