Collapse Of Music Market Forces Players To Look Abroad

THE declining sales of music have forced music producers to look to the foreign market to boost revenue and encourage aspiring musicians to look to music as a career, says a representative of a new recording studio.

Speaking at the launch of the Thulani Studios, co director of the studio, Bengt Post said the new studios would target festivals in Africa and appealed to donors to support the initiative that will look at all aspects of live performance including concept development, set design, costumer design, lighting design, stage direction and choreography.
“The purpose of the programme is to improve the performance of talented and promising musicians to a level where they can ‘compete’ internationally, i.e. perform and sell their albums abroad,” said Bengt.
“Given the collapse of the local market, we must become an export industry –– there is no other way in the short to medium term.  Our first point of focus in this regard is music festivals in Africa.
The launch was attended by a colourful mix of guests –– the National Arts Council, the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Culture Fund, fellow musicians, young and not so young, DJs, music journalists and members of the international community.  
The new studios are focusing on launching their first two albums towards the end of the year –– Kuzangoma by Willom Tight and Famba Pore Pore by Adam Chisvo, produced with the financial assistance of Africalia, a Belgian NGO that supports cultural initiatives in Africa. The project is collaboration with Producciones Serrano, a Spanish Production company.  
But the managers of Thulani Studios- Steve Sparx and Bengt- are not entirely new to the music arena. Four years ago, the group brought together eight of Zimbabwe’s most creative musicians to collaborate on the production of an album to form the group “The Collaboration” whose end product was the album Hupenyu Kumusha.  The group performed at the Sauti Za Busara Festival in Zanzibar.  Their group’s hit song, Urombo, was included on an album by one of South Africa’s most successful groups, Revolution, and has featured on the musical channel Channel O for over two years.
The new breed in the music scene comes at a time when the music industry is teetering on the jaws of collapse as the productive sector of the economy seems to be getting little rewards. The music business in Zimbabwe is in very dire straits, and music being a luxury item, it is in even rougher waters than many businesses.
“Steve Sparx (co-director of Thulani Studios) spoke to a Director at the Zimbabwe Music Corporation who said that CD sales have declined to a point where they have pretty much come to a screeching halt. “No CD sales in Zimbabwe,” said Begt
“In a poor country like ours, music is a luxury item, and who can afford such frivolous spending in Zimbabwe today?  Here we are faced with a sad irony, one of many that confront us today.  Zimbabwe has a very rich musical tradition that is respected all over the continent and beyond,” said Sparx.  
In Zimbabwe today, only a handful of musicians manage to make a decent living from their trade.  Only a handful of musicians are able to afford to pay to record their music.  –– Staff Writer.