Local Artistes and Missed Opportunities

As we say in slang iko watu wamelalia maskio. 

Kenyan/east african artistes are doing themselves a major disservice and they dont seem aware of it. The kawaida ruse is to complain about piracy and mismanagement at MCSK and ungrateful fans.

Ok listen. I love your music. But how do i get it? I wait for your album to be ready in 6 months and then buy it for 800 bob? I like you but not that much. The thing with piracy that no-one seems to acknowledge is that it is efficient. And nothing beats efficiency not even cool music. For instance the only source of Mejja’s and Madtraxx’s music that I have is getmziki.com and I download for free. These are just the singles, not the albums or any compilation of any sort. Getmziki.com is a US based outfit run by one Leo Faya. Why an outfit run by a guy based in the states should be promoting local artistes beats me to a pulp. There is no reason a club banger like maddtraxx’s   get down should not be onsale somewhere easily accessible to all those with Nairobi phones and Ovi enabled gadjets.


Now this is what I mean by being slow/being behind the news/kulalia maskio. If every (or most) of the copies of all the major tracks blasting on everyones phone right now had been sold rather than bluetoothed to death, we would have real celebrities who actually make money from their music rather than use it as a key to chicks and VIP entrance to clubs where they pose all weekend in clothes they cant afford. It would be an adequate revenue stream that would supplement perfomances. Contrary to popular belief people pay for percieved value. if you sell me a track for $1.49 I will sneer and go look for the torrent. Sell it at Ksh 10 – Ksh 15 and I will buy it gladly and tell my pals of this new site I found. You can even DRM protect it so that I dont bluetooth. Thats cool afterall its just 15 bob.

The idea is to make a joint concerted effort to have a presence online and am not talking Facebook. A central resource that would host all Kenyan if not East African artistes music for sale and provide a myspace like page customizable to the artistes demographic and style. This would be a central page where the fans can track new releases, scheduled concerts and even a blog that the artiste maintains himself or via proxy. If you get 500,000 people to download your music and lets say on the lower side your cut is 1 bob after taxes,producer,safaricom,mcsk etc you still make half a mill sitting there doing nothing. All kenyans need is to be pointed and they will flock and buy, if it is convenient and cheap. 

There are a few sites out there that are trying to push digital like this and this but I find them lacklustre and lacking the psyche needed to push legitimate music downloads mainstream and make it profitable.

This video by mejja I could pay for. 

But how and how much ? If they can answer that then they will be rich soon enough. 

  • Interesting perspective. Kenya music industry is complex and complicated and the solutions will not come easy.

    • mwangy

      Kevin, is what i propose not palatable to musicians or is it the other stakeholders?