The much sang song about the Malawi music industry progressing satisfactorily continues to make rounds to the detriment of noticing ugly effects affiliated to the high cost of producing music and becoming an established artist.
Up and coming artists short of a record label have been badly affected by the exorbitant charges they are required to meet in the process of producing music. As they say, high charges go with good quality, let it be if Malawi music is to gain the much hungry for international recognition.
But this means the very same artists with resources will continue coming up with new projects worth public consumption while financially handicapped budding artists continue to have their music dumped into the trash barrel due to poor quality as a result of engaging cheap and amateur producers.
In an interview with Malawi24, new kid on the block, Rita of the Chapatali fame said the high cost of production is slowing down music progress in Malawi. She added that this is fueling an influx of poor quality music that cannot make it on the international scene.
“Yes, it is slowing down the progress of up and coming and already established artists who are talented but cannot afford the expensive but very good studios and videographers. This means low quality music and videos that can’t make it to the international scene,” she said
However, Rita believes the rising cost of producing music is in tandem with time as charges on most things have gone up.
She said: “It’s true that production costs have risen. But honestly everything else has too.”
Renowned gospel musician Khama Khwiliro agreed with Rita on how lack of resources hinders progress in music. He said up and coming artists are suffering as they have to pay for everything from studio until the finished products goes on the market. He attributed the hardships to absence of promoters and record labels.
“The absence of music promoters and record labels hinders talented up and coming artists to break into the industry due to limited resources since one has to pay for almost everything from studio until the finished product goes on the market,” said Khwiliro in a separate interview
With the issue of high charges acting as a drawback, Khwiliro said there are other factors affecting up and coming artists from prospering.
He said: “There are a lot of issues contributing to slow down of progress, apart from higher costs of studio fees most up and coming artists rush into the industry for fame before mastering music basics and without making a research on what music requires instead they do the opposite like recording with makeshift studios and producers which hinders quality.”
But producer Percy Manyozo of Propee Records defended the huge fees on production saying when production costs are low, even people without music talent forces their way into the industry.
“As a matter of bringing sanity in Malawi music, a considerable charge make people more serious to record with you as the celebrity audio producer,.
“As a producer I think the higher the cost, the more serious artists want to record with you. Nowadays everyone wants to be an artist even if they do not possess what it takes to be one because of cheap production,” said Percy.
In Malawi most of the very few talent uplifting companies we have are blamed for being profit oriented as evidenced by their signing of big names in music while overlooking budding artists. The companies are after marketing their brands using artists which cannot be achieved when a person without a name is engaged.
Out of many artists the local industry can boast about, only a few manage to work with good but expensive producers be it in visual or audio.