Namibian artists urged to unite

May 12, 2017

NAMIBIAN musicians have been advised to unite so as to support the music industry and safeguard their work. The appeal was made at the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM) members’ workshop held in Walvis Bay, Namibia, last week.

Held under the theme Empowering the Artist in the Music Industry, the workshop was held ahead of the main event of the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs). Speaking during the workshop, the director of Botswana’s Lekoko Entertainment, Seabelo Modibe, said: “Artists in Botswana have fierce competition among each other but when it comes to industry issues, they stand together.”

Modibe recommended Namibians to desist from subscribing to various music industry associations and have “one solid unified organisation”.

Highlighting the difference between Botswana and Namibian artists, Modibe said: “The biggest challenge I’ve seen in Namibia is that the bigger artists are not activists. In Botswana, it’s not the smaller artists at the forefront; it’s the bigger artists driving for change.”

Also present during the workshop was former Universal Sounds executive Robert Shipanga who also shared his perceptions about the importance of investors in the music industry. “It’s very important to have people invest in the music industry but there should be a return on investment,” he said. “The music industry should not be a charity because it’s a business.”

Upcoming musician Esther Lipumbu expressed her satisfaction with the workshop. “It was very beneficial in the sense that when you’re an upcoming artist, you tend to focus more on the fame and getting people to know your music,” she said. “We don’t look further like how to be an entrepreneur and make a living as an artist.

“Artists don’t really share ideas or open doors for each other. We need to be unified because we are all after one thing, so why not move together to achieve it?”

Some of the issues that were discussed included the non-payment of royalties by commercial radio stations, a call for a 90% radio quota system and the role the music union would play, how artists can earn a living from their music, the creation of an independent music publishers’ association, dealing with the rise of digital music distribution as well as artist welfare programmes. – Music In Africa

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