What is the problem with artist management in Malawi?. Our Reporter ALBERT SHARRA finds out.
If we press the refresh button, one artist Macdonald Mlaka-Maliro comes to mind. Under Zembani Band, Mlaka-Maliro sold over 300 000 copies of his Dzanja Lalemba album in a few months.A record at the time. But what followed was a decision to part ways with the band and form his Maloto Vibrations.This was after disagreements on benefits from the album with Lucius Banda.
Billy Kaunda also went his own way after registering fame with his Mwapindulanji album on same reason.Maskal fell out with Nde’feyo Entertainment on contract agreements. Last week Piksy said he will not sign another contract with Nde’feyo which which connected him to Airtel. Fikisa’s relationship with Nyimbo Music Company also went sour before rehabilitating it on similar reasons.The list is endless.
However, fruits of parting ways with sponsors after registering success are observable. Most of the artists are struggling in their career and very few have maintained their status.
In an interview, Thom revealed while holding on to reasons that the group is struggling and people should not expect a new album from them soon.
Nonetheless, in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and other countries, musicians have proved that with good partnership and sponsorship any talented musician can excel, as the support helps them to put up quality material for the song—both from the artist and studio.
Lucius Banda who has been the victim of helping artists and later on loses them believes there is a weakness in the understanding of partnerships. He said, he has done research on the topic to understand why most partnerships including those in other sections of arts fail.
He says he found that artists do not understand the concept of partnership and how it should benefit the two sides.
“The majority of artists begin to feel differently when they attain fame. It is like everyone wants to be labelled a success individually.
Every time an artist in a group registers success, people come in and tell the person that you are losing a lot because you are in a group, if you work separately, you can do well. I have seen and heard this.
“In Nigeria artists work in groups and they are successful,” said Banda.
However, Banda also feels some sponsors are contributors to this saying most of them stretch their portions in the contracts and this makes the artists feel cheated and robbed.
Jai Banda who has also sponsored many artists concurs with the Mabala hit-maker. He says there is gap in understanding partnerships. He adds that most musicians do not understand how sponsors recover money they invested in music’ projects.
“When fame comes, most artists think they can do it themselves. They want to be praised individually. They also deliberately forget expenses sponsors make. It has happened that a sponsor spends about K500 000 (US$1 515) on hiring transport, equipment and hall, and agree with artists to share gate collections.
“If the show realises K500 000, the artists give a deaf ear and if they get nothing, they feel tricked,” said Banda.
Musicians Associations of Malawi (MAM) president for women’s desk Martha Mituka agrees with the two. She said there is a forgotten factor that sponsors come in for business. She added that most artists do not abide to contract agreements and when things are working, they start claiming for more shares. It is a problem if it is not highlighted in the contract.