‘Artistes must develop their person into personality’

Jive Zimbabwe online music store has filled a gap created by the demise of traditional recording music production and distribution companies such as Gramma Records and ZMC in Zimbabwe. The music business model experienced disruption due to technological developments such as the World Wide Web. Jive Zimbabwe music store is primarily an online music platform with a bias towards local music. Established in 2012, it was registered with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe as a promoter, with the goal of catalysing digital music sales in tandem with global trends. It represents most of the premier music artistes in Zimbabwe, from Ammara Brown to Jah Prayzah and has several social media platforms to help coordinate their services. The company’s founder is Benjamin Nyandoro (BN), an engineer by profession. He has in the past been a manager of controversial but talented dancehall chanter Soul Jah Love, among his several promotional activities. IndependentXtra’s Admire Kudita (AK) caught hold of him for an interview concerning the business of music in Zimbabwe and related pertinent issues.

AK: You were recently asked to speak on new media and the marketing prospects and opportunities at the Sadc theatre development camp, with participants coming from five countries: Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, hosted by Savanna Trust. Some of the ideas can be applied across the entertainment sector. Can you share your insights with our readership?

BN: I met a vibrant team from Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and presented on developing your person into a personality, marketing prospects and opportunities in new media. You need evidence to put a value tag. This means quantity and quality of evidence such as:

  • Number of friends/followers (on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter);
  • Number of likes;
  • Number of reactions; and
  • Number of shares.

Such evidence can be measured using new media (with Google Analytics). This is the same evidence that makes your CV and justifies the value tag. Once you develop your person into a personality, you no longer have the luxury to separate the two. Your personality attributes and characteristics decide what person you should become. This involves the way you conduct yourself, both on, and more importantly, off stage. Corporates look for personalities not persons.

AK: What is your take on the state of our enttertainment sector in Zimbabwe?

BN: Arts in Zimbabwe are significantly affected by the shrinking fiscal space generally, both the national and individual. (The) Arts are regarded as a luxury and quickly fall off the list of needs. The quality of art is compromised as little to no revenue is available to fund creative work.

AK: Which Zimbabwean artiste represents an exportable artistic product?

BN: This is a subjective question, we need to look at the qualifiers that determine (an) export and (what’s) exportable. Our current bottlenecks are gatekeepers who choose who to promote regardless of. However, Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Oliver Mtukudzi, Hope Masike, are among the few who come to mind.

Given Zimbabwe’s dicey economy, Jive Zimbabwe is a gutsy arts promotion company utilising technology as its main driver. Digital distribution companies are borderless. Artistes, regardless of physical location, are able to access their services. It is however a challenge for companies such as Jive Zimbabwe to turn a profit given the economic environment the country is facing currently. An upturn in the economy will have a positive impact on disposable income.

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