Music and Strategy in Zimbabwe 

Strategy has and will always occupy a pivotal role in the music industry, without proper strategy, talent can go unnoticed which is a disservice to both the artists and the fans who are the consumers. 

By Argus Mepo 

Of late, artists in Zimbabwe have been utilising a number of strategies in a bid to solidify their craft and widen their horizon.

In the same vein, there is no universal or one size fit all strategy but it must be contextual in harmony with other determining factors like good timing and proper marketing. 

1) Dramatization – is the most common music distribution strategy that has been utilised by artists as of late. It involves courting controversies and scandals as part of a well coordinated publicity stunt in a bid to promote and hype the song. In pursuant to this strategy, some artists have faked their deaths, mocked and pocked other artists, pretended to be lunatics whilst some have dressed in an inappropriate way in a bid to gain attention. Some of the artists who have been part of this wave include Vimbai Zimuto, Ndunge Yut, Holy Ten, to mention just a few. 

2) Paragon Strategy – this strategy involves taking ample and sometimes a longer time working, polishing and refining a product. This strategy values quality rather than quantity. Artists who utilise this strategy might take time to release but when they strike they hit hard. A case in point is Nutty O, he takes his time to serve the best. For instance, in 2020 he released only 2 songs Safe and Kokai and finished the year on top. In 2021 he released his debut album Mustard Seed which he worked on for 4 years. In 2022 he went low key only to release a new project Makanonoka in 2023 which is making noise. 

3) Hibernation – this relates to an artist who intentionally starves the fans by not releasing projects oftenly, some times in a year or a couple years time. The exterior motive of this strategy is to stimulate curiosity so that fans will consume the next project in excess. This is the Winky way of doing things and he mastered it, it works best for him. 

4) Split strategy – this strategy involves making waves and disrupting the game whenever an artist drops a project. The deliberation of this strategy is to set tongues wagging, dominate the talk which is assist in pushing music. However, this strategy must be powered by adequate resources. This is mainly used by Jah Prayzah, it can also be called the JP strategy. If it’s not a big album, it’s powerful and strategic collaborations or creative or high budget videos. For the record he will remain a trend setter cum game changer because of this strategy that he properly embrace.  

5) Unflagging strategy – this strategy is common to tried and tested artists who have enough zeal and stamina. It is stipulates that artists must consistently and persistently release music, the intention is not to starve fans, because sometimes fans are quick to forget. This strategy is utilised by artists like Freeman and Killer, among others. If they do not release albums, they release either singles or visuals. One thing they make sure of is at least having a hit-song every year. This strategy is critical because an artist will remain relevant and will dominate in terms of bookings.   

6) Visualiser strategy- this relates to releasing a song accompanied by visuals. This emanate from the fact that the end goal of every artist is to become popular and visuals are pivotal in realising this goal. This strategy is currently being harnessed by new school artists, amongst them Bling 4, Leo Magoz, Tha Bees, to mention just a few. In the same context, Director Leoy Vee has greatly contributed towards shaping this strategy. 

7) Troth strategy – this is mainly resorted to by artists who have a cultic, loyal and unshakeable fanbase. It relates to artists who release music in sync with their fanbase with the intention of servicing the interests of their niche market despite the changing shifts and dynamics in music. A case in point is Seh Calaz, he always satisfy his cultic dancehall and reggae oriented fanbase come rain come thunder. This is why he has remained one of the biggest dancehall artists when careers of some of his peers have faded. Alick Macheso and as of late Mark Ngwazi also fit in this category, the Sungura king pins have always delivered the best to satisfy their fans. 

8) Tune fi tune Strategy – it relates to the continous releasing of new music. The desired goal is for an artist to continously be on the trending list so that he can remain relevant, get people talking which might unlock commercial value in form of bookings and sometimes endorsment deals. Holy Ten is the befitting artist in this cluster. He is not tired of releasing new music weeks after dropping an album. 

9) Classy strategy – relates to releasing a quality, top notch and relatable product. This is mainly used by artists who seek to appease an uptown market. For instance Tamy Moyo, she is just good, her relations with an uptown market are solid-rock, it is not a surprise that she is a Zimoco brand ambassador. Same as Ex Q Mr Putiti, the Musalad hitmaker has remained relevant for the longest time because of his classiness. 

10) Ambigious strategy – this is common to most upcoming artists across all the genres in Zimbabwe. It involves releasing music without a proper roll out plan, marketing strategy and distribution direction. The intention is to just say, l have released new music bla bla bla.

Conclusively, there are scores of strategies that are currently being embraced by our artists, this is just a compilation of a few. 

More importantly, strategy must be informed with a befitting context and good timing.


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