Why African musicians remain poor and famous?

Editor: Arnold Mutamiri

Africa is full of raw talent and some yet to be discovered. The genres in Africa are very unique and the music is done from the heart such that it can touch every generation but the musicians will remain poor. Poor management of music is taking or dragging Africa down. Musicians are very popular or famous but with nothing in their pockets because their missing link with the business mind is not yet sink in the blood.

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Revenue streams must be well planned in order to realize good money. Piracy is all over the world but technology has tried to overcome the challenge by providing online purchasing of music and online ticketing for shows. There are stage musicians which is a class of musicians who generate their funds by offering live music in shows and concerts. Such musicians must the idea and knowledge of online ticketing.


Artistes should have a band management which is just there to guide the artiste while he/she is doing the artistic work. A musician cannot organize for a show advertise and market it by means of posters and then take it to social media alone. This is where the management comes in with the idea of division of Labour. The road to success may include the issue of management and sponsorship. The manager is not the sponsor and the sponsor not the manager.

The manager is responsible for the day-to-day run of business like making sure that the rehearsing studio is ready for rehearsals, all guitars and other instruments are in good condition for performance, hiring and purchasing instrument for the musician to put up a sound show. The manager is the chief negotiator for the musician and must have public relation skills in interviews on television and radio. The sponsor is there to take the brand all over by promoting shows through sponsoring a good venue for the show or putting some money for the to be a success.

The promoter is there in the music sector as a businessperson. The promoter can give a musician a show, market it and then take a certain percentage after the show for the services offered. The Promoter, Manager and Sponsor can link to brand and market the artiste.  Managers must negotiate for shows, sign contracts and do press conferences and leave the promoter and sponsor to do their job.

Talent is not enough; you need a strategy.

Talent alone cannot take a musician far; a musician must have strategy to get known. For long African musicians relied on sales of their compact discs which are reproduced by CD burning process. Musicians should sign up with record labels since it is a one-stop shop for business.

Record labels have quality studios with qualified sound engineers, marketers, graphic designers who exist to do the job for the musician. All the musician has to do is to get a cheque from the record label after sales are done. The record label is there to record the musician and market his or her music while he is home and then deduct their operational costs and the musician gets his sweat for composing and playing the instrument.

There are musical sites owned by these record labels. Music is sold online and one can only pay to download it. This is why musicians out of Africa are progressing well and are famous because they let the professionals to do their duties. Desperation in Africa is on the rise and musicians are vying for famous hence they do anything to be known but without anything in the pockets.  

Written By: David Nhawu  

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