Popular Jazz songstress Vuyo Brown has ventured into the risky but bold “Pay What You Want” model with the online launch of her brand new single “Mayeh” on 23 April 2021.
Vuyo Brown is an award winning Zimbabwean singer, songwriter, and multi-genre artist who broke into the music industry in 2016 as a Contemporary Christian Artist. Born Nokufeza Vuyolethu Ngwenya, she makes music because she believes it should bring joy and healing.
Through this model she lets her listeners decide how much they want to buy her new song for themselves rather than give them a set price tag. “The goal is to reach 400 digital sales in 2 weeks with you paying as much as you feel the song is worth to you. The more you like it, the more you may pay.” As such, the model is in effect from 23 April to 07 May 2021 and aims to reach as many people as possible. A wise decision considering the relatability of her new song “Mayeh” A song of regret, of someone who wants to go back where they now realise they were truly loved. A brave cry for forgiveness and a plea for a second chance with the singer admitting her mistake of leaving and overcoming her ego to say “ndixolele bo, mayeh!” (oh please forgive me!) In her context, it is a love song to God as much as it may be to a man because the emotions and struggles are the same once one strays.
“It’s a person who wants to go back to what they first felt, that first love that got lost along the way. A basic desire to rekindle a fire. I’m simply capturing my relationship with God. The song is shaped after Revelation 2:4” (“But I have this against you, that you left your first love.”)
Produced by music producer Just Percy and written by Vuyo Brown herself, the song was originally conceived in August 2019, however its production and release was delayed by the onset of COVID-19. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because between that time and its recent release, the idea of using the Pay What You Want model came to shape to make sure it reaches the widest audience possible at the best price for each of them.
The decision to use the Pay What You Want model comes after the traditional sales model has bore little to no profit for her with all her past releases. She also felt online streams paid too little to give any real profits unless she would be getting streams in the millions or billions, which unfortunately she isn’t yet at the moment. Considering how much she would have sacrificed to make the music however, she still needs to make profit in order to survive and continue working, thus being creative and strategic with her sales is a very necessary and overdue move.
Since “Pay What You Want” comes with no set price tag for the song, any of her international listeners using World Remit and willing to can even pay as much as $50 or more for it while Ecocash users and locals in Zimbabwe can pay as little as ZWL$100 or $1 or more in cash depending on what they feel the song is worth to them. The model of course comes with high risks as people might pay the bare minimum which is below the true value of the song, however some might pay so much more which would more than make up for the losses, thus it felt like a necessary risk worth taking instead of repeating a failed strategy. Business after all comes with many risks and Vuyo looks at her music as a business and more than just her talent or craft.
The sales mechanism has been clearly outlined in all her social media pages detailing how from as little as US$1 listeners can have the song sent to them via WhatsApp or an E-mail depending on their preference. “Send US$1/ZWL$100 OR MORE! via Ecocash to 077 2 377 105 or via World Remit (or one of your choice) to Nokufeza Ngwenya. Send proof of your purchase via WhatsApp to +263 772 377 105. Mayeh will then be sent to you. Sales updates will be posted daily to keep you in the loop. Let’s do it together & show that we are #ProudToPay artists for their work!”
Follow her on social media @vuyobrownZW