The biggest concern of the artist and the industry called Dancehall in Zimbabwe is “How do we make money and be wealthy”; that will only happen when the concerns of the brand marketer, and public relations manager are understood and obeyed, being “Are you Sponsorable”. Unosponseka here dred?
After Chimurenga II, Dancehall in Zimbabwe is the biggest movement and community that has become an economy. It must now become organised and profitable, and to do so there is need to understand what brands and public relations offices want in order to finance the profitability of this economy called Dancehall.
Dancehall in Zimbabwe has grown in musical influence and following from being less than 17% of the urban youth population in 2008, to an estimate 80% of the same in 2018.
In Dancehall, there are Artists (DJs), Selectors, Fans, Stables (Producers), Crews (Houses & Gangs), Sound Systems, Distributors, Media, Event Managers, Food, Creative Arts, the Sponsors, and more.
Whilst the lyrics, staging, and profit worthiness of the artist is being resolved, there is a higher calling for the industry as a whole, that of attracting and engaging the Public Relations Manager and Brand to finance the growth.
In Jamaica, the most popular event is an all year round competition sponsored by a beer called Guinness, and the revenue for all participants of the Dancehall industry are in the millions.
Dancehall Zimbabwe must now speak and behave marketing and branding, and my case study will be three artists whom I want to call “Vatatu” – Boom Betto, Blot and Jah Signal.
Boom Betto hit song “Kudonhedza Musika”, Blot hit song “Ndiri Bad”, and Jah Signal hit song “Kupinda Mubako” are filled with language and entertainment worthy the attention and money of the brand and business in Zimbabwe; only if present well.
Vatatu are the new generation of Dancehall in Zimbabwe with hit songs with lyrics that are now part of the current urban street dictionary; that is where you must begin to engage the brand and the public relations manager.
Vatatu are able to earn much more revenue from sponsorship than from the stage, only if they redirect their efforts in the backstage to making the brand and PR manager happy, as much as the fans on stage.
The artist and all stakeholders of Dancehall in Zimbabwe are brands, and must behave as brands because they are brands, and the world of the stage is not kind to disorder of brands.
For brands and public relations managers to finance the artist and the industry, the artist, and industry as a whole must master and present themselves “Sponsorable”.
The Sponsorbility of Dancehall in Zimbabwe is possible if the artist and all stakeholders needing more revenue and following adhere to the simple concerns of the brand such as Following, Etiquette, Order, and Potency of Language.
Potency of Language is not a challenge for most artists in Dancehall Zimbabwe, because we all want to “enter the cave as is” (kupinda mubako yekedero), and make markets fall (kudonedza musika), and “bring them pain like draught” (kuvarwadza kunge drauti). There is enough potency, but potency without profit is like being a peacock, beautiful and elegant but cannot fly; dancehall must become like eagle in Zimbabwe, flight in glory.
Most are concerned with following and potency of language of the brand; the triplets are great examples of potency, but are lacking on mastering their following.
As much as I love the singles of Vatatu, they need more social media profiling and websites, that are basics of being noticed with businesses and brands that can actually finance.
They have healthy following on Facebook, and their songs are well followed on YouTube, and circulated via WhatsApp.
Over and above having a website, there are at least seven social media platforms that are used world over to engage consumers of brands and the Dancehall artist in Zimbabwe is no exception if they want to make money.
Having profiled self, the artist is what brands and businesses now call an “Influencer”, a person that can practice “Influencer Marketing”.
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole.
There is need for the Dancehall artist to walk and behave as an Influencer, a person that makes people consumer Zimbabwean brands, and make money out of it.
The brands “Boom” and “Doom” must sponsor and finance the lives of Boom Betto and Blot, just as Econet must adopt Jah Signal, but this can only happen if Vatatu up their branding game to be visible and Sponsorable by these.
Zimbabwean businesses and brands must know that it is Dancehall that has kept consumers consuming their products and services, and it is now time for them to return the favour by sponsoring and financing the industry.
To do this, Dancehall in Zimbabwe must now become well presented as much as it is well followed and lyrically fit.
This was Oscar Habeenzu, speaking at the inaugural Zimbabwe Dancehall Summit in Harare, June 28th, 2018 at the College of Music in Harare.
The Zimbabwe Dancehall Summit is an all stakeholders gathering where music industry players, hopefuls and veterans alike can come together to dialogue, gain insight into the reality of today’s music business and help transform the genre into a viable business model.
The summit will draw artists, bands, DJs, promoters, marketers, media, engineers, producers and the government to the forum and create a positive conversation.