Artistes side hustle to make ends meet

Musicians have been taking advantage of their huge fan bases to come up with business enterprises.

ARTISTES have been encouraged to come up with multiple revenue streams to curb poverty as the local arts industry and economy does not guarantee their upkeep.

Musicians have been taking advantage of their huge fan bases to come up with business enterprises. Singers such as Selmor Mtukudzi, Feli Nandi Chipendo, Jah Signal, Jah Prayzah and Freeman have branched into other businesses to boost their income.

Selmor opened a grocery shop in Domboshava and of late she has advanced to having an online store with a delivery scooter and has also branched into the goat meat business.

Selmor set up her business during the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic as she said she needed other streams of income.

Her late father, Oliver Mtukudzi, also branched out from just being a musician by establishing Hai-Kobo footwear in 2015.

Hai-Kobo was a trademark chant in Mtukudzi’s songs and was later developed into a dance routine, which was popularised at his live shows.

Other artists who went into fashion include Jah Prayzah, Jah Signal, Freeman, and most recently Feli Nandi.

Feli Nandi launched her self-titled Ankara clothing line which has seen her establishing showrooms in the capital.

Arts critic Plot Mhako told Standard Style that the economic situation for most artistes is very sad as they are struggling to make ends meet because there are not very significant revenue streams in the industry.

“The economic situation for many artistes is very dire and sad because most artistes are struggling to make ends meet so even balancing out with side hustles has not been easy as not many of them can afford to do side hustles,” he said.

As an artiste there are ways one can make money within the industry and that is through album sales and launches, paid shows, brand ambassadorship, airplay royalties and awards recognitions. However, Mhako said there is hardly any value for artistes in all these areas.

“Organisations like Zimura pay artistes once a year and when they pay, they are paying in Zimbabwean currency, so you are getting paid money that would have already lost value and in terms of brand ambassadorship, there only maybe five artistes that are getting brand deals in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“When it comes to gigs and shows, a lot of the shows it’s basically the same line-up and faces, you can literally count them.

“So if there are only 10 to 20 artistes that are making up the line-up every week in an industry that has at least 3000 artistes that are signed under Zimura.

“This then gives a description on how artists are surviving, they are trying so hard but the environment is not permitting and those that are doing enough are not getting the recognition.

“I do not think there are more than 10 artistes that are actually making it off music and surviving from music , most of the artistes are struggling to balance it up and make a good kind of income that sees them paying bills and having a decent livelihood.”


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