Nkosilesisa Ncube, Sunday Life Reporter
INGWE studios may just have come up with the right recording package to make recognised musicians out of upcoming artistes in Bulawayo.
The package, known as the Rising Star Promotion includes recording one single and its video, a professional photo shoot, and profile video, online promotion as well as training in online marketing all for $100.
Speaking to Sunday Life, a representative from Ingwe Studios, Zenzele Ndebele said the idea of the Rising Star Promotion had come after the realisation that the music industry in Bulawayo was not as alive as it could have been.
“We asked ourselves if the Bulawayo music industry is even alive. You will realise that the most attended show in the city, Kalawa Homecoming does not really feature any of the city’s artistes and even local chart shows are dominated by artistes from outside the city.
“With this deal, we felt the need to go back to the drawing board, start afresh, work with local artistes in making music because we believe there is talent in Bulawayo, the problem comes when it comes into moulding that talent into a marketable product and that is where we come in,” Ndebele said.
According to Ndebele, the promotion has been greatly received since its introduction during the first week of the year with many underground artistes inquiring about the deal and showing interest. He said he hoped many artistes would take up the deal as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity because recording companies hardly ever do so much for so little.
The Rising Star Promotion differs from other record deals firstly because of its affordability and secondly because it is not pushed by the profit motive.
“We are not aiming to make money with this deal; we aim to promote local music. We realise that there is no continuation in the local industry. Legends like Lovemore Majaivana and Don Gumbo are no longer in music and artistes that emerged in the 2000s are no longer accounted for. With this, we aim to groom future legends.
“Through this we want artistes that are going to win awards at the end of the year, we want to top charts locally and regionally, we want them to tour internationally, we aim to turn these socialites into artistes, there is no celebrity industry in Bulawayo and we want to change that. We want to create brands and sellable artistes, so as to contribute to the economy, Ndebele said.
A survey carried out by Sunday Life showed that three in every four upcoming artistes were willing to take up the deal, citing affordability as the main reason why they would sign with Ingwe.
“I think this is a good deal for me. I would consider it because it is affordable and I guess it offers quality not quantity and it is a local project,” said one Mbube artiste.
The quarter of the interviewed upcoming artistes that said they would not take the deal said their decision was influenced by their access to technology and internet.
“It looks like a good deal but I would not take it. I have access to recording software which I can use at no cost and I can use my Facebook page to market my music myself as I have been doing,” said one artiste.
However, Ndebele highlighted that access to something does not necessarily equal the ability to use it well.
“Just because software and social media are there does not necessarily mean everyone knows how to use them fully. As Ingwe Studios, we are not just a recording company, we are internet marketers and we know how to get these people noticed. We can get people to 500 000 views. We are going to train the artistes in social media use so that they broaden their social media presence,” Ndebele said.
Of all the artistes that sign up for the Rising Star Promotion, the one with the largest social media following will get a contract to record a full album with Ingwe Studios.