How Do Musicians Spend their Money?


Donot be cheated, Malawian musicians have managed to hit gold through our verypatronage when we buy their music and lately, they are making more money withlive shows.

Ifyou want to attend a musical show at Ozone for example, be ready to part wayswith a thousand kwacha. If you are to attend a show at Mzuzu Hotel Boma Park,keep K800 in the pockets, because that’s what they will demand for you to passthrough the gate.
Aminimum of 1000 people most of the times would have passed through the gate,meaning K800, 000 would have been pocketed. If the fans are as many as 2000which is a common feat when the show is either for The Blacks or Lucius Bandathen the figures are in seven digits. 
Addedto this, there are street sales of the album through compact cassettes orcompact disks which is minus the musical DVD which when thrown into the frayand with good patronage, the money becomes so big to be true. 
Thenthere is also Mechanical, Public Performance and Broadcasting Royalties, whichmost of the times come as a surprise to musicians who end up buying cars andother useless expensive consumable items for they do not have any single ideawhat to do with their money.
Malawianmusicians will always complain that the market is exploitative and this is thereason they cannot prosper. While this, to a large extent could be true, thereis also one area that they do not talk about; this is where windfalls likemanna avails itself for their taking. And this comes when you look at the waymoney comes in.
Ithink we can easily follow the musicians and find out how they manage theirworth.
Itreminds me of what happened on December 29, 2009, when Lawrence Mbenjere set anew record when he became the first musician to cart home money in excess ofover K2.5 million in royalties.
Iwrote about it then, and then as is the case today, my interest is not todiscuss whether that was a vote of approval of what he is churning out by theconsumers or there are other factors at play, but my interest would be; has hereally benefited from this money? Has he managed it properly?
Whatwas also historical was the fact that since the establishment of the CopyrightSociety of Malawi (COSOMA) 15 or 17 years ago at that time, K2, 523, 459.16 wasthe biggest money it ever dished out to a single musician.
Ithas not given out again since then, I should hope this year, COSOMA is supposedto pay the musicians.
Atleast in 2009 Lucious Banda carted home K1, 094, 579.10, Thomas Chibade K712,742.48. Joseph Nkasa who in 2003 got a million got K597, 942.27 this time round.
Mbenjereto get this kind of money, accumulatively he amassed K2.35 million fromMechanical Royalties that an artist receives after they record with a recordcompany.
Onthe other hand, K103, 000 Mbenjere earned from broadcasting royalties thatcomes from air play of an artist’s music by a radio or TV station. He alsoamassed a meagre K66, 000 from Public Performance Royalties unbelievably, thisis the money that is earned when the artist’s music is played in public placeslike bars, hotels etc.
WhileI still doubt COSOMA’s capacity to ably manage the collection of money from allpublic places where music is played as no COSOMA official ever visits most barsand such places, I wonder how this is done.
 I still want to know how musicians, whose musicis played there, ever profit from such ongoing.
Thereis no way; a bill for institutions like radio can beat that of public places.This is what I find sticky with the management of the Public PerformanceRoyalties.
Thisis also not to mention the poor remittance on Broadcasting Royalties, by suchshameless institutions like MBC.
Mycontention today is not about MBC, it is about the management aspect of theselittle resources that our musicians accrue.
Atleast Lucius Banda has numerous business establishments including SummitCultural Centre in the Capital Lilongwe and Zembani Lodge and a music companywith the same name.
Likewise,Mbenjere Music and Video Production companies at least have their workssprouting about, meaning this is an investment of some kind.
Iam yet to find out how Joseph Nkasa or Thomas Chibade has invested theirresources.
TheMinistry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, which is supposed to be lookingafter the musicians, is doing little to change the status quo to egg on theinvesting mentality in our musicians. I remember director of culture in theministry, Bernard Kwilimbe, himselfa reputable musician, said at one time that there is a ignorance on the part ofmusicians as they not know that this is a calling that goes with properplanning. Planning comes from proper management, no?
Whilethere is this knowledge by government, there is nothing that it has so far doneto help improve the situation on the ground; one way to achieve this is toconduct several clinics within the year to equip musicians with musicmanagement.
Feedback:drummingpen@columnist.com
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About Gregory Gondwe - Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started practising journalism in 1993. Until March 31, 2012 he was regional editor and bureau chief for Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS). Gregory is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma of Journalism and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He is also columnist for Malawi's first and oldest weekly, Malawi News. He can be contacted on gregorygondwe@gmail.com.
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