Zim artists Urged To Use Online Stores

Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira urged artistes to embrace technology in marketing their music to counter piracy at an album launch held recently in the capital city.

By Tongai Mwenje

‘Jamaica has a total population of about 2.7 million, their export music value is between 80 to100 million dollars, and we can do the same thing here’, he said.

‘The best way to make profit from music is to sell it online platforms where it is also difficulty to pirate. Can’t we come up with platforms like iTunes that sell our local music?’ The minister said during an album launch by Afro-pop singer Emilia Patrick; he spoke highly of the iTunes platform as a way to harness the rampant piracy that has killed the music industry. However, can we actually gain traction from that platform?

iTunes is an online content wholesale platform by Apple just like Play Store by Google. These are international online platforms that house millions of contents from internationally renowned geniuses from all sectors. Can our very own local artistes gain traffic from such a competition-saturated environment? I am not taking anything away from our local geniuses but all I am saying is the competition is very stiff and we need our own local online platforms to market and sell our products, with that, traffic is gained from within the localised people.

Alas, Zimbabwe now has online platforms like the mobi-store to sell our content, Astro MobiStore by Bethel Communications is our local online marketing and selling platform serving the same purposes as iTunes, Play Store etc. Bethel Communications is a local mobile phone manufacturer, which trade as Astro Mobile. The platform is designed to market and sell local music, merchandise books, applications and wall paper.

This online platform will however likely to provide renewed hope to local artistes the majority of whom have been negatively affected by rising piracy. The Astro MobiStore is a free, android-based local digital content store modelled around the Google Play and the Apple store where third party content providers or owners can sell their content on.

Mr Leonard Mafati who is the Astro MobiStore head, noted that the platform could ideally be a conduct for Zimbabwean goods onto the international market as sales can be done via other international platforms. ‘Apart from the local payment platforms, we also have Mastercard and Visa as payment options,’ Mr Mafati said.

The online platform has been received with much enthusiasm by renowned local artiste like Oliver Mutukudzi, Alick Macheso, Sulu, Jah Prayzah among others. ‘There has been serious interest from artistes we have talked to, the likes of Oliver Mutukudzi, Alick Macheso, Sulu, Jah Prayzah among others, while merchandisers and authors are also very happy to start selling their books and products on our Mobistore platform’, explained the MobiStore Head.

This platform if marketed well I see it as a game changer in terms of arresting the problem of piracy by our local content consumers. This is exactly what the minister has been lamenting on during the album launch at Alliance Francaise.

The launch was also attended by Kenyan Radio Africa Group director Patrick Quarcoo who bought the album for a whopping us$10000.The other one was bought by a fan for us$1000.

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