A lot of Ugandan musicians don’t inspire people who want to join the same industry, and this is because they make it look like the music industry is not profitable.
In a recent interview, Dian Namukwaya also known as Spice Diana asked her fans to contribute money for her, so that she can complete her Shs 500,000,000 million Uganda shillings houses she started building in 2017. I wondered whether or not should fans be contributing money for musicians.
When fans pay to come and see you at your shows, watch your music videos on YouTube or even stream it on streaming platforms, that is already a big contribution they have made to your music career.
A lot of Ugandan artists have fallen sick, been evicted from houses, instead of dealing with their issues, they start begging the public to contribute money for them. Unfortunately, for the good people, Ugandans have always run to their rescue.
Some of the artists who beg for help were at one time a big deal in Uganda. For example, Victor Kamenyo recently ran out of the house he was renting after he could not pay rent arrears, the same was for Dj Michael, Red Banton, and Cute Kaye who have both been consumed by drugs and poverty. These at one time were one of the biggest artists Uganda had.
Musicians need to learn how to set priorities, and save money. The last time I checked, Spice had hired about five bodyguards which is okay for her safety as a celebrity. But why have five when you can have just one or two able-bodied bodyguards and then save the rest of the money. Last year she revealed that she spends Shs3million Uganda shillings every day on her attire, but today she is crying out to fans to contribute money for her.
What happened to living within our means? The reason why a lot of artists in Uganda have a begging culture is that most of them lead a life that is not theirs. Yet the business model in the Ugandan music industry is based on concerts and gigs, these contribute a bigger part of their earnings because Ugandans are not in the culture of streaming music due to expensive data, and the culture of buying music is not alive here. It is not the kind of business model can sustain an artists for long if they depend on it alone.
This means good financial discipline and planning is required for them to stay afloat in times when shows are no longer available such as times like Covid19 times, where a lot of artists are struggling to pay rent, pay studio rime or even eat, yet when they get the little money from gigs and concerts, they invest most of it in liabilities like fuel-guzzling cars and renting expensive apartments.
But again we wonder, are artists exploiting fans, or are they just greedy for money, or want free things they have not worked for? Because in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, Spice was the busiest female artist, she signed three endorsements from different companies; Chipper cash, Lato Milk, and Itel P36. On top of that, she had some gigs with Club Beats at home. Where does that money go?
Artists should plan for sustainability because they are not going to be performing forever, pick a leaf from Chameleon and Bobi wine, Raga Dee these artists survived in the same industry and up to date are still among the richest artists in Uganda.