Malawi music producers team up to raise production fees

Malawian musicians will have to dig deeper to pay for their recording sessions as producers in the country have announced an increment to production fees following a meeting they had on Thursday.

According to a Facebook post shared by some of the country’s top urban music producers, they have agreed to set a minimum of K10,000 for a digital session and K15,000 for a live session, effective 1 March, 2014.

Nyasa Showbiz has established that the increment has come following a movement by producers formed last year. They went ahead to convene an online meeting  last Thursday evening and agreed to raise the fees.

The meeting was attended by producers from Blantyre and Lilongwe. Present were Marcus of Daredevilz, Stich Fray of D&T Records, Excess of AGM, BFB of Exclusive Records, Dj Sley of Chit-Chat Records, Janta of S.U Records and Big Vision Entertainment’s Cuff-B, among

The move has however been received with mixed reactions. Others say K10,000 is too much for an industry that doesn’t sell records, while others say the increment will bring sanity to the industry.

“We don’t sell records in Malawi, K10,000 is just too much,” reacted one Facebook user by the name of Duman Deco Mwaungulu.

Takon Kartel concurred with Deco saying “…myne don really have much promoters of urban music in mw 10 grand z just too much for an individual musician…come to think of it…..10 tracks 100 grand…wat????????”

On the other hand, Ras Imiru Tafari Mdala had this to say: “Tink dis will make people go to di studios wid good tunes we tired of di stupid tunes pon di airwaves.”

Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Showbiz, Cuff-B, who is one of the hot urban music producers in the country, said: “For us producers we lose out a lot because we work extra hard to bring out good quality production to artists who most of them don’t take it serious”.

He added: “It’s only artists who benefit but we [producers] don’t. We want our skills to pay some bills as some serious artists do. We want to go far, like international. Our industry needs serious artists, so this might get rid of wack artists”.

Responding to an observation that Malawian artists don’t sell much, especially urban cats, and that people may take the hike as a hindrance to unearthing or promoting talent that cannot afford such studio fee, hip-hop artist Dizzo said it was high time Malawians started recognizing music as serious business.

“The producer needs to get paid for his time, talent and skill dedicated to the project. On top of that there’s electricity used and then consider the capital invested into equipment to ensure good quality.

“Malawian artists have had it easy for too long,” he said. “Even do your research, in our neighbouring Zambia, people are paying the equivalent of K30,000 upwards for studio time, some even get charged on a per hour basis plus ‘engineering fees’ and instrumental rights fees.”

Speaking further, Cuff-B observed: “If one wants to be a musician they should know what happens in the music industry and know what has to be done to be successful, that’s what happens in other countries and that’s why we get mature music from outside Malawi. Maturity will come after this change, we want artists to sell music here in Malawi”.

Also expressing his sentiments, producer and reggae-dancehall singer Stich Fray claimed as a Malawian producer he gets insults from fellow producers, mostly from South Africa.

“They say why do we let people record music in our studios that is gonna benefit as nothing? So all this time I think it was us the producers who have been contributing to trash music in the industry ‘cause anyone was able to do music.

“I know people are gonna talk absurd things about this, but, all in all music is not cheap. All the equipment that am having in my studio is worth K1 million, so why do I have to be charging low prices as if I get donations from somewhere?” he questioned.

In Malawi, studios are almost on each and every corner of the streets and currently most of them charge between K4,000-K5,000. Despite the country being flooded with cheaper production studios, the country’s music industry is still struggling to breakthrough.

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