Music sales worldwide have taken a paradigm shift from selling CD to more sales online. The development has made it easy for musicians to sell singles rather than albums. However the development has come with its own problems.
While Lucius Banda’s Wabadwa Christmas carol has made over 8 400 free downloads on www.malawi-music.com , Skeffa Chimoto has withdrawn his songs on the site claiming listeners have opted to download the music for free instead of purchasing the physical CD.
If Lucius’ Wabadwa was for sale on the same site on the rate of US$1.65 (about K700), then out of the 8 400 downloads he would make US$13 860 (about K6 million). These statistics suggest the potential that Malawian music can sell online.
Speaking in a telephone interview from South Africa, Lucius told On the Arts that he is excited that his song has topped the chart with the highest number of downloads in just a few weeks.
He added that selling music online is the way to go and the bemoaned ignorance on how music is sold online.
“Although this is a good development, most artists do not understand how the selling of music online goes,” said Lucius.
The self-styled Soldier added that he is contemplating on selling his music online and that he is discussing with the South African publishing company with which he recently signed a deal.
“I am just coming out of a meeting discussing the sale of my music online and soon it will be uploaded on various portals that sell music,” said Lucius.
Soldier further said that selling music online makes music easy as one can sell music in singles, and one reaches out to a wider audience.
Revered radio and club DJ Kenny Klips, who is one of the managers of the online Malawi Music, said that the site is not only selling music but also helping musicians promote their music.
“Most of the singles that are on the site are for promotional purposes, it gives the artist the visibility and as such when he comes with his album people are not surprised,” said Klips.
He bemoaned the tendency of some artists who think the site is there to rip-off their benefits.
“We only sell music of musicians that are in contractual agreement with the site but for promotional purposes, everyone is welcome,” said Klips.
He echoed Lucius’s assertion that selling music online has made it easy to sell music adding that it opens new markets for artists.
“Online music is sold to people who have credit cards, of which most Malawians don’t have but because our online site is visible to the whole world, it gives opportunities for a fan in say the USA to buy Malawian music,” said Klips.
Anthony Makondetsa, who according to Klips is one of the musicians whose albums are doing well on the site, told On the Arts that online music selling is a good development and he is excited that his music is doing well.
He however, said that most fans do not know how to buy music online and said there is need for campaigns if musicians are to make maximum profits from music sales.
“Cosoma, which is also responsible for safeguarding our copyright, should take that initiative to help the fans on how they can download music, we cannot only rely on overseas markets,” said Makondetsa.
The Mbumba ya Abraham hit-maker however, said that the rest of the world is able to sell music in singles via online music downloads which is profitable while Malawians are just joining in.
“Our friends started this way back and we joined the party quite late but this is a good development and it can help advance Malawian music,” said Makondetsa.