The year 2021 and the ones to follow will be different from what you knew and experienced before. The terrain has changed so the approach to music business has to shift too or you may lose it on the curve and become white elephants. (In the article i will share some pictures from some of the finest new Zimbabwean voices who are utilising the digital space to grow their brands)
By Plot Mhako
Covid has fast-tracked the change and most of you never had a chance to adjust but had to make changes whilst the mill is running. Without being too much of a pessimist ; The lockdown situation will last longer than you think. This means you may not be able to hold live shows and tour for a long time. That means your income streams will be hard hit! So your market & reach has to be Bigger!
The digital space is that window.
Get the latest Memo! You used to be Big and may lose the leverage that came with that status as the dynamics are changing. The way people are consuming music is fast changing. The way artists and content creators can monetize is also changing. The audience and where you find it is changing too! At first this was a narrative from afar but now the reality is here. Are you ready, informed for this? Is your management and team prepared, capable and competent for this new world order? Sadly the new changes will OUTGROW many artist handlers and the artists themselves.
New strategies go beyond posting on Facebook and monetizing your Youtube. You will need young, innovative, informed, tech savvy and engaged people in your team to complement and boost your drive.Artists and their managers will need to identify key industry players, the digital activators and ENGAGE them.
Your team as an artist needs to have a strong RAPPORT with key players in the industry. [I have noticed a good number of Artists in SA understand this so well and their PR teams are very engaging and have a DIFFERENT attitude, but in Zimbabwe egos seem to fly high.]
An artist is as big as their CATALOGUE, BRAND, RELEVANCE & at most their LAST RELEASE. The bulk of music consumers on digital platforms are YOUNG PEOPLE and these young people are loyal to good, UNIQUE content and VISUALS matter. This audience is now more EXPOSED to more VARIETY online than ever before.
Then you have the crop of NEW Artists emerging! These will definitely give BIG artists a RUN, your Holy Ten, your Poptain, your Mark Ngwazi, Anita Jaxson, Jøy, Sharonrose, Nutty O, Thandy Dhala, Vimbai Zimuto, Probeatz, Ananya and more. They are hungry, innovative, fresh and forward thinking.
As a ‘big’ artist you need to have a crop of new artists that you assist grow, associate with; dont see them as mere competition. Do not block their growth, HELP them. Collaborate, support, motivate them. You will earn more respect and support which will keep your brand even BIGGER.
Always ENGAGE! So the process to ENGAGE has to be continuous & WIDE for one to stay RELEVANT and grow their NUMBERS beyond their ENVIRONMENT and current workspace.
In simple words, TALK to people. Avoid being cultic. Have a working PR strategy and brand development plan. Do not wait for people to look for you. Clique and cabal approaches wont work. If you only engage and speak to your friends you will be limiting your growth.
TOLERATE criticism. There are (new media) creatives emerging with sound platforms. Two good example are Ray Vines, Zimcelebs. Such new players are a serious disruption and have given traditional players in the media space a run.
You and your team need to continuously gather CREATIVE intelligence and be proactive about it. Individualism will not work especially for an industry that was already fragile before Covid hit.
My last point for today is; READ, read widely. Leave EGOs behind! Advise is for free, not everything works, pick what you find valuable. Have a great week, STAY SAFE, MASK UP! Until next time, the plot thickens.
firstname.lastname@example.org / @plotmhako