We have heard many stories both in Africa and abroad of the hardships artists and producers face. I have a friend who is an upcoming producer in the African music industry. He has talent but what issues could hold him back from pushing the keys with ease? What could hinder the singer with a great voice from pouring his or her heart out? Or the upcoming rapper from speaking his or her mind and pursuing a career from it?
Here are some of the challenges African Artists and producers face:
Upcoming music artists.
1. Little or no legacy artists
Most upcoming artists look up to foreign performers. They will also adopt some of their styles and their music may not fit or fully accepted by local audiences. Moreover, few of the already established artists reach out to the young upcoming artists to help them get recognition for their work. This is because some of those who have already achieved success in the music industry will see the new artists and producers as competition and feel threatened by them. Moreover, these already famous artists are usually almost always the ones performing and releasing new songs.
2. Minimal Distribution Companies.
Distribution companies save artists from a lot of hustle. However, in Africa, most upcoming artists will take up the role of recording, marketing, and distributing. They will juggle a lot at the same time and it may prove strenuous to some especially those with limited resources.
3. Little Opportunities To Showcase
How many new artists are called to perform at local shows? Very few at times none. Most of those new performers who appear on our stage are usually performing it for free just to gain recognition. The already established artists dominate the stage.
4. Little Or Lack Of Parental Support
An African parent usually dreams and wants their child to pursue educational careers in fields like law, engineering, medicine and other prestigious courses offered in the universities. Some consider pursuing a career in music as a waste of time and a disgrace. When a child is torn between pleasing his or her parents and following their passion, it may estrange the relationship with the parents or make them feel less fulfilled in life.
5. Little Money For Studio Time And Video Costs
Upcoming artists have little money to boost their careers with. Most African artists and producers have a side hustle to support them and help launch their music careers. Fans will mostly appreciate video versions of a song more than they like audio formats. Shooting videos can be expensive and low investment will produce videos of lesser qualities.
Look at our previous post on How To Make Money Online and get an idea of how you can support yourself and launch your music career as an upcoming artist.
Established music Artists And Producers
6. Artists Vs Producers
Established artists and producers present challenges to each other. This is a global issue in the music industry as there have been reports of studio conflicts. There have been complaints that some artists fail to give producers recognition for their work. Artists have also raised complains that some producers fail to value their input towards making their songs. The studio conflicts emerge as an issue of pride.
7. Royalties Worth Peanuts
Established artists have raised serious complaints about their pay. There is an issue that happened in Kenya, an East African country, earlier this year. The Music Copyright Society of Kenya, (MCSK) allegedly paid artists royalties fees of $25 (KSH 2,500). It raised outrage from the local artists and they raised protests and awareness on social media. Such cases discourage an artist from pursuing music as his or her livelihood.
8. Low Turnouts
Local fans also let down the African artists in many cases. When they host a concert, the turnout is usually low as compared to when a foreign artist holds a concert in Africa. These low numbers will reflect on lower revenues and the local artists will feel less appreciated.
As all the artists across the world, established artists need to display consistency. The music industry moves fast with new music getting released almost every day. People will enjoy the new music and new sounds of various artists have to offer.
An established artist will need to grow and evolve a little to stay valid in the music industry. He or she has to effectively promote their sound and create music that will touch his listeners and grow his fan base.
Common Challenges Between Upcoming And Established Artists
Piracy is a common challenge that affects artists all around the world. Many countries have laws to try and curb the piracy menace. However, it does not stop people from downloading music for free. Piracy makes it hard for artists to earn money for their copyrighted work. The only positive aspect of piracy is that artists and producers will gain recognition for their work and therefore opens up doors to performances.
11. Social Influence To Create
Yes, artists and producers get to create what they want. But do they really have that much freedom? At some point, trends among the fans define what artists get to create. For example, a genre the young people are into the moment will pull artists and producers to create in that line.
An artist may get little views if they do not create music that the fans are into. Moreover, trends influence the content of an artist’s song. The trends limit a producer from following their passion.
12. Little or No Support From Government and Public Institutions
Most artists get a tap from government institutions when they achieve big feats. In most cases, government officials hardly attend concerts. Artists and producers also receive little support from banking institutions. Most bank managers will deny an artist a loan as they do not acknowledge their business as valid. However, there are governments that are offering loans to the performing arts.
13. Little Local Support
You will find local radio stations and people playing foreign music. Another issue is with traditional songs. The youth of these days hardly listen to traditional music in their native African mother tongue as they fear being labeled ‘uncool’.
However, as an artist or producer, you should embrace patience, persistence, consistency and work hard to perfect your skills to achieve success in this industry. Africa is growing day by day and these challenges are being tackled as time passes by. For example, governments have started granting loans to artists and producers.