For many years, the Malawi music industry has been showing signs of growth. High quality production of music and creativity among artists attest to the much-touted growth.
The sad part is that the said industry is progressing at a tortoise pace, a development that sees the country losing a lot of money to foreign musicians. This can be partially alluded to lack of experts in music management.
Music managers play an important part in uplifting talent. Their roles include negotiating contracts and collecting payments for artists, publicity and branding, discussing career strategies with artists, scheduling concerts and advocating for an artist’s mental health as needed.
In a nutshell, artistic growth lies in the hands of a manager. Unfortunately, the Malawi music industry is dominated by promoters who are in the art for personal benefits.
The promoters only bankroll music production. This is not done in the name of charity as they benefit when artists under them get booked to perform at events.
Unlike managers, promoters are not passionate about music but making money out of other people’s talent. They put in minimum or zero effort to uplift artists under them as long as they are making the little, they can through the musicians.
This is why a majority of Malawian musicians hardly get invited to grace international events. This is not because Malawi does not have talent worth exporting, but it lacks people who can connect artists to international platforms.
It is clear that companies are ready to support music for the sake of uplifting their respective brands, as evidenced by their involvement in artistic events. In the same way companies bankroll events, they can support individual talent if and only if it is well represented by a manager who is passionate about music.
There are a lot of top notch musicians who can afford services of a manager, but are the managers available? Well your guess is as good as mine. We have seen the fruits of having music management experts through musicians like Patience Namadingo, Onesimus, and the youngster Eli Njuchi.
Most musicians are managing themselves hence their popularity is limited to Malawi. If you check the YouTube statistics, you will come to the conclusion that the so called celebrated musicians in Malawi are not in any way different from commoners in other countries. When more countries know an artist, the more that artist generates revenue.
The problem with most Malawian musicians is that they easily get satisfied. They think that social media popularity is an achievement. For instance, when they post trivial things on cyberspace and record thousands likes, they think that translates to stardom.
Malawi has a lot to offer to the world. We are looking forward to the day when musicians from the land will be performing at prestigious platforms like the BET Awards. That is possible if and only if music management experts flood the industry.