Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Malawi-Music.com Mea Culpa

Lack of knowledge has proven to be poisonous on more than one occasion. Take my entry last week for example where I doubted the website: www.malawi-music.com .
After I took time to browse the site and scoffed at the efforts that had more musicians complaining than complementing, I lost my footing by not taking the issue back to them. But this was all after they had brought the situation to my attention.
Looking at the whole concept now after the tolerant and accommodating brains behind it looked for me and walked me through the whole idea behind the ‘Music from Malawi’ or Nyimbo Zachimalawi Project which runs the website, I am forced to eat a humble pie.  
Now what I thought was just a façade with which to exploit local musicians, turns out to be one way the owners of the site came up with in their efforts to create a window for the first serious online music market and promotional platform for Malawi music.
Listening to the two youthful brains behind the project elaborate the vision and describe to me the five-year-long history the project has endured before emerging unto simmering height, it has but converted me into a follower. Their earnest gasping for air and fame in the industry brings to light the nature of resilience and increases my awareness on how such a project can quickly become trendy presenting a bright future for our musicians.
The challenge that I observed is that the lads are not that much into publicity, a fact which has been their own undoing. I mean last week I almost achieved that.
One thing I learnt is that these are not just the kind of boys with no vision that we have seen coming and leaving the music industry without leaving any mark. They are far removed from the misplaced breeze in a blizzard that our industry is highly criticized for.
The website, I now realize, is the best thing that has happened to Malawi music especially when you consider the personal sacrifice, conviction, dedication and passion that has been invested in it.
This is the first web site of its kind where musicians are now able to sell and distribute their music online where consumers can purchase for a small price of £0.99 (approximate K612.81 at the current exchange rate)a song and £10.00 (K6,190.00) for an album.
So far there are just about seven artists who are selling music on the site and they include Lucius Banda, The Black Missionaries, Anthony Makondetsa, Limbani Simenti, Young Kay and soon Skeffa Chimoto.
All songs that are sold are in full length and of CD quality in mp3 format while albums will be zipped, in a single file with all mp3 files inclusive and details on how to unzip the files.
At the moment website visitors are able to stream and download free promotional Malawian music on the site. 
Unlike promotional songs that contain the Malawi Music promotional tag, all the songs and albums that will be sold on the site will not have that.
Musicians who sign sale agreements with the firm are assured of transparent transactions as the buying processing is through the website which will be supported by Google checkout cart also known as Google Wallet. 
This is a fast and secure checkout process that helps new customers by allowing them to buy from the site quickly and easily with a single account from Google and musicians or their agents will be able to check how transactions are operating. 
Google Wallet keeps track of all transactions and operates bank transfers on behalf of Malawi Music.
The young brains behind the transaction arranged things in such a way that through credit/debit card set ups they can soon enter deals with phone mobile companies to use their money transaction facilities. 
They say since Malawian musicians are uploading their songs on international websites like Reverberation and YouTube it would do us well to have a more centralized access point.   
There are currently 291 artists’ profiles, including the ones whose music is on sale.
The website is custom designed as it does not use free and open source platforms like that by Joomla or Word press as its technicians are UK and US trained and qualified software engineers.
The duo also has a marketing and sales guru who was able to help us get to learn what the Malawi Music website is all about.
All that is required is to make musicians understand what www.malawi-music.com is all about and I guess I am now in a better position to respond to the queries as I have been schooled on the project myself.
So far musicians whose songs are on sale on the site have already started getting their money. By the way, under the agreement, after the sales Malawi Music gets 30 percent while the musician gets 70 percent; how nice can it get?
And for the first time, unlike our radio stations which play all kinds of music without regard to quality, Malawi Music scrutinises each and every song before it can be offered the promotional platform. How about that?
  


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