O.G Issa stops buying Malawi musicians: Defao steps in

Push comes to shove? The financial mess of 2012 has not spared the music industry as Malawi’s major music distributor has reportedly stopped buying music from artists.

For the past 50 years, the O.G Issa brand has been synonymous with the music industry as the company was the monopoly when it came to distributing music.

O.G Issa had so much muscle that he could distribute music across the country in a single day.

But since the company diversified to furniture, plastics and matches, music has played second fiddle.

Two months ago, the music giant closed down their Limbe shop, claiming that they wanted to centralise their operations hence they were moving to their Kristwirk offices.

OG Issa shop

Defao: To step in

O.G Issa has been a central link between the musicians and the buying public.

Owned by the Hanif family, O.G Issa also run the Consumer Electronics shops in Blantyre and Lilongwe, that also sell music, music equipment and electronics.

O.G Issa general manager Salim Sattar could not be reached for comment after several attempts on his mobile phone.

But a source within the company confided in Nyasa Times that the rough economic terrain has forced the O.G Issa group to rethink its priorities.

“To be honest, things are tough and the music industry is not doing that well. We are in business. We are not a charity and we have to be economically viable,” he said.

The source further disclosed that there us a warehouse full of unsold tape covers at the O.G Issa warehouse in Blantyre which translates to cash.

“This is so because we pay the musicians for all the covers that they supply even before we sell a single tape. So this means if the tapes are not sold, we make losses because we have already made the payment. We have thousands upon thousands of these unsold tape covers which translate to millions of kwachas,” he said.

A top musician who sought to sell him music through O.G Issa was turned back last week after Sattar told him that they had stopped buying music.

“This is so unfortunate because most of us rely on selling our music through O.G Issa. Things are already difficult for us and this will make life really tough. I don’t know where we will turn to,” he said.

However, top music vendor Defao said there is no need to despair as the local music vendors will seek to fill the void that has been created by O.G Issa’s decision.

“This is good news for us locals because it challenges us and gives us an opportunity to prove our worth. We should seize the opportunity that has been created and start distributing music on our own. Music is good business,” he said.

Apart from being on the forefront of supporting Malawian music, a lot of musicians have benefitted from the system where they are awarded mechanical royalties for selling more tapes.

Top sellers such as Mlaka Maliro, Joseph Nkasa, Thomas Chibade, Lucius Banda, Black Missionaries and Lawrence Mbenjere are some of the major beneficiaries of this scheme as they have been paid millions in mechanical royalties.

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