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Why artistes need other sources of income

L-R: ‘Low Key’ hitmaker Yvan Buravan and Afro-pop singer Alyn Sano. / Photo: Courtesy.

It is no news that the music industry is one of the businesses that were hit by the new coronavirus pandemic.

With concerts and public events not allowed by the government to recommence yet due to the risk involved, many artists are puzzled on how to survive yet no one knows when the situation will normalise.


But regardless of the harm already caused, financial experts have weighed in on how musicians should halt the pity party and instead focus on having more than one financial stream.


Teddy Kaberuka, a Senior Consultant and Economist in Kigali, is of the view that artistes should diversify the source of income, because having one source of income puts them at risk while at the rough patch.


He says that using what they save, they can start businesses like supermarkets, restaurants, electronics shops, decoration, makeup, among others so as not to rely on only music.

Kaberuka points out that the requirements artistes need to start up any business is to find something that they have passion for, craft a business plan, understand their target market and be open to ask for any assistance where needed.

For Egide Ihimbazwe, a music enthusiast, he says that although it is necessary for artistes to have a culture of saving, savings alone can’t help in lean times.

“First of all, musicians should treat their art like a business, save from it and invest to create the side business which they are committed to,” he states.

Ihimbazwe says that the side business can even be related to the music industry for instance, instead of centring on only singing, an artiste can start writing songs, recording music so as to earn an extra income. “Find means of even learning new skills to earn from them,” he said.

Yvan Buravan, a renowned artiste and Prix de Couvertes RFI 2018 winner, says that artistes who are lucky to be popular should focus on using their brands to start other income generating activities because it all starts with the mentality.  

He notes that alternatively, an independent brand can make a consistent income from brand partnerships through having a firm online presence and a significant social media following. When artistes have an established online presence, they is no doubt that they will start to see endorsement requests from brands on a consistent basis.

“Once the artiste has built a large enough fan base, they may be influencers of a certain business that would want to work with them through a brand deal,” he says.

Upcoming artiste, Rita Ange Kagaju explains that making money in diversity ways could be through works of art that have the potential to score an audience that can buy it. Apart from that, artists need to promote their online presence as social media is one of today’s quickest ride to fame and is filled with potential art buyers.

She also notes that artistes cannot thrive alone as the government has to recognise the music industry as one of its major cultural representatives and fuel its success by investing in it.

“Particularly in Rwanda, I have seen artistes being denied shooting locations, licenses, and even worse-the opportunity to be free in their creativity.

“It is important to understand that our music industry will never grow within boundaries set in the name of culture. We should allow our industry to grow by being welcoming to a variety of music genres that might be new but a door to the next step,” she said.

According to Himanshu Arvind Kapadia, a Consultancy Partner at JALI Partners Ltd Kigali, it is important for any musician to keep constant touch with their fans and followers. Sooner or later the pandemic will be over and the ball will start rolling again.

However, for artistes to survive during this low season, he suggests that they should do live streaming performances to capture the fan base and remain relevant. But also seek means of advertising for different companies to earn extra money.

He also noted that companies also want to only advertise with brands that are relevant.

Kapadia also stated that teaching is the best way to earn an extra bonus. Look for people who want singing training, or playing music instruments and agree on the amount of money to be paid. In the beginning the amount should be fair so as not to scare away clients.

 Kapadia further explains that musicians should also develop music for local corporates, sports promoters, gaming platforms and so forth and share the outcome as they may get well paid in case their association goes through.

Rising Afro-pop singer Alyn Sano is of the view that artistes can still invest in other areas, but not necessarily quitting what they do, for instance, through audio and video production, renting sound systems and video production equipment.

Some Rwandan artistes like King James, Riderman, Knowless Butera and her husband Clement Ishimwe and Danny Vumbi, are known to run successful businesses, but not so much for majority of the artistes who are said to solely depend on their art.

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