The situational analysis undertakes a rapid diagnostic of the current situation of the music sector to identify existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
The analysis was carried out under the framework of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility for the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries and is part of the Zimbabwe project “Strategy for the sustainable development of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in Zimbabwe – focus on the Music sector” piloted by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.
It is intended to feed the development of a future evidence-based national strategy for the music sector.
- While statistics on the size of the Zimbabwean music market are scarce, industry players generally concur that there has been strong growth in the number of musicians, both male and female, in the past decades.
- 34% of Zimbabwean today consume music primarily through streaming, and another 23% primarily through WhatsApp transfers.
- Radio and television remain the main mode of music consumption for 11% and 2% of Zimbabweans respectively.
- Most online consumers of music are consuming music freely, with only 27% of Zimbabweans reporting having a paid subscription to a streaming platform.
- YouTube is by far the most popular platform for Zimbabwean music consumers: 78% use the platform at least once a week. The second most popular platform is Facebook Live, used regularly by 37% of consumers. Only 8% of respondents say they do not use any streaming platform regularly.
- The Covid pandemic has pushed music consumption even further online, including watching streamed live performances.
- Zimbabwe suggest that the Zimbabwean sector currently relies more on revenue from live performances than any other income stream.
- Piracy has dwindled the physical sale of music almost completely. CDs are pirated within 24 hours and many producers or labels have stopped releasing CDs at all.
- 68% of musicians questioned in November 2020 declared having made no revenue whatsoever from streaming in the past year, and only 2% reported having made more than US$5000 from streaming revenue in a year.
- Revenue from a live performance is generated both from concerts in Zimbabwe, as well as performances abroad. For some genres of music such as Zim Dancehall, performances outside Zimbabwe target mainly diaspora populations, while other genres reach out to more diversified foreign audiences
- Revenues from royalties are often not significant for individual artists. In the past, non-payment of rights by national broadcasters to the collection society, ZIMURA, has resulted in artists being paid royalties several years after they were due, which in an inflationary context can cancel out the bulk of earnings.