The media is the essence of music promotion, and musicians have to be part of the media, Rick Ross, one of the biggest rappers globally, recently said during the Baller Alert radio show. Rick Ross, AKA Rozze, was at the radio show to promote his upcoming joint album with Meek Mill titled ‘Too Good To Be True’, which dropped on November 10, on all streaming platforms. When asked why he still goes to media tours despite all the fame he has to his name, Ross said, “you have to be part of the media no matter what, and that’s something I still want to do even after getting where I am today.” What one of the biggest rappers and record executives alive believes, is not the case in Rwanda, where many influential musicians seem to be at war with the media, a move hindering the growth of Rwanda’s music industry. A few weeks ago, Bruce Melodie, one of Rwanda’s biggest Afrobeats star, got into an online fight with a local journalist, whom he claims have been reporting fake news about his music career and personal life. It is also in the same period when Bruce Melodie is said to be beefing with The Ben, another top musician in the country, with media still at center of it all, providing spaces and talking about the beef. ALSO READ: The Ben vs Bruce Melodie: What is behind the alleged ‘beef’ between the two artistes? How did we get here? In Rwanda, most artistes lack management lines and record labels that could help them work fairly with the media, have communications specialists, as well as avoid unnecessary engagement with journalists. This, for instance, is the reason why Kina Music, the biggest record label in Rwanda, has over the last many years maintained good ties with the media, seeing how strategically the music house is when it comes to its reputation. It is close to impossible to interact with any artiste signed to the record label without going through Clement Ishimwe, the CEO and founder of the record label. According to Miguel Mucyo, a music expert and analyst, besides talent, a musician needs a strong management line to not only broaden their consumer base, market and distribute their projects, but also maintain how they appear before the public through the media. ALSO READ: Challenges affecting the growth of Rwanda’s music industry “The absence of strong record labels and management lines in Rwanda is the reason why artistes, especially newcomers, are regularly fighting with the media because they have zero limits. This is why they end up giving interviews YouTubers who tarnish their names,” Mucyo told The New Times. Another thing, Mucyo said, there are many unprofessional journalists and other different players in the news industry who tarnish artistes' names for what he identified as ‘clout chasing’. “Many local journalists are doing journalism as a hobby not as a profession, which is why they end up reporting fake information for the sake of getting views. More efforts are needed to regulate who is a journalist and who’s not. That’s the only way to save the industry,” he said. For B Threy, one of the pioneers of the Kinyatrap sub-genre and a major rapper in the country, the tension between musicians and the media is fuelled by the negative public perception that artistes are the only beneficiaries in the music industry. Many journalists, he says, want to have the same power and money as musicians, but the structure of the industry puts artistes first, something many influential players in the media refuse to understand. The jealousy in the industry is clear and visible. An upcoming artiste is close to the media until their career takes a turn and everything starts to come at a price. We should uplift each other in all possible ways and move the industry forward without putting our interests first,” What’s the long-lasting solution? According to Klepy, a renowned showbiz journalist at KC2, media people should learn a bit more about the music industry like how music is produced, mastered, distributed and everything related to the business of music. “The bias in reporting about music comes from media personalities who lack the basics about the industry. Artistes should also understand and learn how to take criticism without taking offence every time a media person comments on their project,” Klepy noted. For DJ Sonia, one of the leading female deejays in town, who has been fighting with local media for attacking her fashion sens, the solution to the media-music tension relies on the media itself. ALSO READ: DJ Sonia responds to critics of her fashion sense “The media has put its own benefits before anything else, even if it’s taking someone’s career down,” Sonia recently told The New Times, adding that something has to be done to save the music industry. “It’s time that both musicians and journalists focus on what’s best for the industry and this relies on cooperation and teamwork. Musicians also need to have communication teams that deal with the media professionally to avoid fights, DJ Sonia noted. Speaking to The New Times, Patrick Rukundo, popularly known as Patycope, a social media influencer who is also in the business of music, said that Rwanda Media Council (RMC) should intervene and make sure that professionalism is put first in the media sector. “We have to make sure that professionalism is professionalism when it comes to journalism. A lot of fake journalists have been spreading misinformation about musicians and it is killing the industry and discouraging young musicians to even continue producing music. Rwandan media should be essential for artistes who want to get their work seen by a wider audience, establish credibility, expand their network, and improve their online presence, rather than fighting, he added.