By Amanda-Ellen Jojo
THE rapid transformation of the music industry has generated entrepreneurial activities in the sector. The Entrepreneurial Magazine caught up with various players in the industry who deep-dived into the considerable elements that lead to balanced acts of the artform and the business of music
The sizeable components of the music business: Walter Wanyanya
Jacaranda Festival Founder who doubles as an entrepreneur, Walter Wanyanya believes that succeeding as a music entrepreneur requires a great deal of education.
“Many people would like the learn about all the different carrier opportunities, we need schools that teach, lighting, sound, music management, playing instruments etc but I feel education of these and other subjects need to be taught and the need for a school that is set up to teach is one of the most important if not the most lucrative opportunity at the moment,” Wanyanya told this publication.
Wanyanya added that as much as being a musician is hinged on creative talent, succeeding in the area requires commercial awareness.
He said: “Commercial awareness for me is more impotent than talent because music is a business and it demands that one applies business parameters to their approach. Talent will open the doors but you being business minded and respecting the rules of business will make sure that one stay on top of their game and also running their business profitably.”
Technology has been a greater enabler of entrepreneurship across many industries one of the latest to feel its disruptive impact is the music industry.
Wanyanya highlighted that business savvy musical creatives are taking advantage of that in their daily creative endeavors.
“I think as far as creatives are concerned, they were among the first to embrace technology in how content like music, movies etc is created and it also brought new ways of consuming content which led to the introduction of various gadgets.
“Creatives have been at the core of how tech has grown over the years and I believe for us in Africa the only thing that held us back is access to internet. We have however caught up as Africans but we have not been able to do at the same pace,” he said.
The creative entrepreneur is of the view that there’s under capitalisation in the music industry, as a result, this has been affecting entrepreneurial activities in the sector.
In order to address that he suggested that those in the music business need to start applying good business practices and forge viable partnerships.
He stated that some of the macroeconomic fundamentals that have been affecting the entrepreneurial activities in the music industry include access to business education, funding and opportunities for new markets.
Commenting on the notion that musicians need independent streams of income he said: “Multiple streams of income are always a good idea but they only work with people who can handle having to juggle all of them at the same time especially if they demand a lot of time.”
The business side of music promotion: Noel Borerwe
The currents of commercial music promotion are fast moving and only those that are strong enough to ride will be standing.
In an interview with this publication, music promoter Noel Borerwe unpacked some of the commercial activities associated with music promotion.
“These include; bookings, whereby we ensure that the artist we are promoting has shows lined up, artist management: where by the logistics of getting records done right up to distribution is a key role and the manager as well the booking agent do get their percent in the deal. Public relations and marketing are part of the commercial activities that are important this is where we win endorsement deals for our artists which furthers the promotion of the songs since the artist will now be gaining a much wider audience.
“Organising events such as braai festivals, cook outs, concerts, parties amongst others are all key activities done from a commercial perspective. Legalities are important as well when contracts and agreements are involved,” he said.
Borerwe indicated that for one to enjoy the benefits that come with music promotion they have to promote what the fans want
“That way you will always have a niche market which has a leverage to spend money despite the tough macroeconomic environment. This is where you see a concert with ticket prices ranging from $10 USD to even $100 USD.
“In a capitalist state mainly characterised by the rich or the poor, it is important for the promoter to identify their niche market accordingly by respecting their core values because the rich will always be there and even the poor will always look for money to attend events to their favorite artist,” he stated.
He further highlighted that the music promotion business is associated with high costs especially if one is starting from scratch.
“Thus, it is important for one to be well networked first with a great professional character it will help you reach high potentials to achieve financial back up,” he said.
Borerwe has been a music promoter for 10 years and he was part of the organisers of Mudiwa Hood album launch event in 2015. He is currently working on the Nowizzville Youth Auditions.
Singer unearths noteworthy tenets required to strive in the music industry: Kunkuse
In order to realise the full commercial benefits of music production, there is need of acknowledging the central role of the value chain which starts with the artistes and finishes with the end customers.
Upcoming musician Kundaimunanshe ‘Kunkuse’ Chikuse said the value chain of music usually starts from the recording part and this part usually requires money for the producers, backing vocalists and instrumentalists.
“Music is just like any other business it requires more capital especially at infancy stage and at this stage the musician may experience little or no profit and sometimes huge losses since there will be that need to raise awareness
“Once you get that awareness (limelight) within the market you will be able to reap some proceeds in your musical career,” Chikuse told The Entrepreneurial Magazine.
The soloist is of the view that just like any business upcoming artistes should aim for continuity and sustainability.
“For continuity sake music needs to be treated like a business especially at infancy once you do some freebies you may incur an early downfall, growth in music business needs some funding.
“This notion of music as a business needs to be treated with caution especially at infancy stage where there is a tendency of audience willing to pay the so-called big artistes more than those that are new in the music industry, so for a musician at infancy stage it is important to operate at break-even point for survival,” Chikuse remarked.
In the view of the notion that musicians do not operate in a vacuum, Chikuse underlined the need for artistes to value networking so as to thrive in undertaking music as a commercial activity.
“Music communicates with people from different backgrounds and it creates networking. I remember at one time I after playing at a wedding got a chance to play for another wedding the following month
“And as a performing artist some audience can fall in love with your music and even invite you for the next gig,” Chikuse said.
The Afropop sensation also weighed up prospects that musicians can tap in order to stay afloat in the music industry.
“One greatest opportunity in music is to become a brand ambassador for a reputable organisation, still looking for such great opportunity though.
“And having that exposure from media is a huge opportunity as well for instance I am grateful for the programs such as The Night Cap who gave me a chance to be broadcasted live at their show on 3K tv,” he said.
Challenges and trials are part of the package that comes with being an upcoming musician who is trying to make it commercially. Chikuse noted that the challenges revolve around the issues of finance.
“The challenges that I faced or still facing are mostly owed to funding and they zero around the notion of treating music as a profitable business. I remember at some point this year was working with a certain business owner at a café what we agreed first just changed without my consent
“Some business guys out there do not operate on good faith they just want your services for free under the pretense of giving us exposure yet exposure does not pay bills,” he lamented.
To curb these challenges, he underscored the need to invest in a stand-alone management as well as sourcing for independent sponsorship.
Urban groove songstress taps into entrepreneurship, launches skin care range
In the beauty industry, particularly in Africa there is a massive interest in beauty products that celebrate the essence of the continent’s unique natural resources and ingredients.
Through her cosmetic range, Ini Skincare line, renowned soulful singer Plaxedes Wenyika is on a drive to change the face of beauty industry in Zimbabwe and beyond.
She told The Entrepreneurial Magazine that the antidote to skin problems was birthed out of her love for cosmetics and bath products.
“When I had a shop in 2014, I used to make soap, sell bathing body stuff, and I would also make body scrubs.
“During COVID-19 era, I then started getting back to my first love (bath products) from then I started working on the current serums that I have. I want more products, but the products that are currently available for what I wanted are all imports so I realised that no one is doing that in Zimbabwe and I took advantage of that,” Wenyika said.
Ini Skincare line was formulated to address different skin care concerns such as hyperpigmentation, acne and dark spots. The local science-based skin care range also consists of a body range that has body butter, lotion, and soap.
She is currently implementing direct selling thus, if one wants to acquire her products they can do via her official social media platforms and the company’s website.
It is on the record that most artistes are venturing into entrepreneurial activities so as to get independent streams of income since the entertainment industry in Zimbabwe is not really lucrative. Wenyika however, affirms that anyone can be an entrepreneur.
She said: “It’s not just about artistes, I think every person, anyone can hustle because working and getting one source of income is not sustainable enough.
“Put your eggs in many investments because you do not know where your luck is, also spread the risk is generally a good thing, so I think this one for everyone, one can actually find a skill that can give you an extra income for it buffers you and gives you more options.”