Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Friday, 3 February 2012

Can we trust

Call me a technology freak, but I seem to have very strong misgivings on the new site that will enable Malawian musicians to promote their music to a global audience.
It is said this will also give fans a chance to get their hands on it for free; I don’t know if my freakiness is coming in because of this point.
But for your information Timve Media Group (TMG) as a recording studio and agency that works to promote local musicians has created a new site,
This will be possible for it will be allowing local musicians to promote their talent by uploading selected tracks or even full albums online.
The other thing that is perhaps giving me creeps is the fact that this site is delivering the music to registered users, who can legally download and share it for free.
If you visit the site ‘1 Malawian Music dot Net’ you will be left impressed with the beauty of the site with album covers of our local musicians.
The first windows of the website is on promotion, then there is where you can get to the terms of use with declaring under a sub-headline called ‘content’ that the author reserves the right not to be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided.
It thus declares further that liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.

A second point under the terms of use is Referrals and links which says the author is not responsible for any contents linked or referred to from his pages and is not liable for any postings or messages published by users of discussion boards, guest books or mailing lists provided on his page.
The third one discusses Copyright where it says the author intended not to use any copyrighted material for the publication or, if not possible, to indicate the copyright of the respective object.

It says the copyright for any material created by the author is reserved. The fourth on Privacy policy says they monitor stats on this website, while the fifth one on Legal validity of their disclaimer.
It also says if one owns any music that is posted on the site and would like to request it to be taken off; they would be required to email them with proof of ownership.
Of course videos are streamed from YouTube but the claims that every time a video gets played on their website YouTube will register views.
The musicians have also a section on the website on how they can upload their music.
Artists are advised not to email music, unless communicated to the hosts who say will not upload any music that has been emailed to them via email.
Musicians are supposed to put the music tracks as mp3 in a folder that has been labeled with their name including a picture and any other information they require to go with their music like social links, email, video links etc) and then zip the folder.
The website has already registered the most downloaded music and leading the list a track called ‘Ngati Kumaloto’ done by Black Thunder, Third Eye and Barry One.
The second track is ‘Mafilu’ done by Sonye, Nepman and Tay Grin; the third is ‘Unamata’ by Piksy, fourth is ‘Sweet like’ by Kalista and Sonye, fifth is ‘Pauchidolo’ by Young Kay featuring Armstrong.
‘Dziko lathu’ by Mafunyeta takes sixth, followed on the seventh by Pombo, Maskal and Sonye with their remix called ‘Tabwela’. Young Kay’s ‘Zipepese’ and ‘Wazilila’ and ‘Domado’ both done by Fikisa are eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
It is clear that the musicians are not being told how, apart from the initial reason to promote them, they will benefit financially. I know there has to be a way of ensuring that artists are not left in the cold.
Yes the website is well organised with a window for dancehall and reggae, gospel, hip-hop, R&B, all artists, full albums and videos.
The other challenge I am faced with within is how those who will freely download the music will not produce many copies of such and sell them at the expense of the musicians. The question are how will the musicians going to be protected from exploitation, first from the website host and secondly the users.
I know how already, the musicians in Malawi are abused through the normal mediocre marketing system that is available in Malawi.
But being a completely new technology as proven by the type of musicians already on the site [as you cannot find Mikoko Brothers Band for example] what measures will also be there not to use artists’ ignorance to exploit them.
This is all questioned considering how much money is involved to release a music track let alone an album. Can be trusted?

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