I consider myself as one of the luckiest people to have lived in South Africa at a time when creatives were putting structures for the industry. It was a lesson well learnt.
Allow me to digress. It was in late 2000s when Slickour of Skwatta Camp, JR of “Show Dem” hit, DJ Sbu, media personalities Proverb, Tbo Touch, Sizwe, Scoop and many other industry icons embarked on a movement dubbed, “Play local or die”.
Harsh and undeplomatic as it may sound, the movement was simply aimed at encouraging radio stations and Club DJs to play local music in a bid to support local acts and build the industry. This is consequently how the South Africa showbiz has developed to greater heights and artists are thriving.
It, however still pains me seeing DJs and event organizers preferring international acts at the expense of local acts who are equally good or even better.
The fact that international acts are given preference gives room for listeners and fans to create a narrative that international acts are better. To some extent, this assumption is not true.
How many of us have listened or payed attention to artists like TKR, C-Scripture, Black Isco, Sage Poet, Luzio, Eli Njuchi, Luki247 just to mention a few.
The good thing is that these highly underrated urban artists are not giving up. Despite being sidelined, they are still pushing regardless. The best part is they continue being creative and innovative.
The recent innovative idea is that of selling music on websites and mobile money. This year alone, Phyzix, C-Scripture, Eli Njuchi and Black Isco have recently released albums and EPs for sale.
In an interesting twist, artists are now selling singles.
On 25 April, 2020, Blantyre based reggae dancehall artist, Fyah Bwoy released a single “Everyday Hustle” featuring renowned urban music legends Phyzix and In-house Media founder Black Jak. The single is selling at K200.
C-Scripture’s album is selling on iTunes at $9.99 as well as Mpamba and Airtel Money at K2,000. Send proof of payment to +265882640450 and you will receive the album within an hour.
Local musicians lack prominent markerts to sell their art. Performances are perhaps the only source of income for most artists. With shows cancelled because of Covid 19 global pandemic, its now high time to buy local or die!