More exposure for new artists

16 August 2019 | Columns

I am not advocating for a generational divide in music, but I do feel like new and emerging artists do not get sufficient airtime on our older radio stations.

I am a fan of the culture, a fan of the arts, and a fan who has shown support from day one. What really busts my head is radio airplay when it comes to new artists. To a great extent, the reason established artists get the most love, support, money and shows is largely based on the extensive airplay they get across all national radio stations. I would know because I am a radio junkie. If the same amount of time was allocated to new artists, they could also book sell-out shows all the time, get government to back them up and overall, get taken more seriously by the general public.

Album sales are dismal. Have you even seen how they package new artists' albums at music retail outlets? Who's taking these kids seriously? I believe it starts with radio because it's all about the audio and it's far from an extinct medium in Namibia. I commend urban and vibrant radio stations like NUST FM, Fresh FM, Energy 100 FM and 99 FM because they seem to be aware of young people's music and playlist them. Maybe their audiences are different, but the more traditional radio stations need to incorporate more new music on their playlists. Music compilers at radio stations need to study the game, know which of the new artists have big numbers online and bring these artist on board. In Namibia, LMPC and PhredGot1 have the highest plays on Sound Cloud and Donlu Africa respectively, yet radio overlooks them.

I pray that the print medium will never die - otherwise who's going to give music fans the best pages of new talent? But back to radio, look at Gazza and King Tee Dee, part of the reason they are able to fill big venues for their shows is because radio was behind them from the early stages of their careers. I am not saying it was much easier for them, they probably also fought the same fight at some point of their careers. I wish in the near future King Elegant or Kp Illest can have the same amount of success, why not?

To the new artists, I urge you to not give up on pushing your music on radio. Yes, there are various platforms digitally that you can market your music on, but it's important to prioritise radio too. I know there are certain new artists who believe radio airplay is not essential for you to be successful in today's music environment. You may argue that this isn't the 90s anymore where radio play was the be all and end all for artist's career. I beg to differ, because having radio play will expose your music to a wide audience and most likely get you new fans. This is Namibia, radio is still a huge part of many people's lives.

Lastly, I would just like to emphasise that let us settle our differences and build a music empire. Let us keep Namibian music alive, let us hustle together, make money and split it. Let us make corporates see sense in this art form.



[email protected]; @MichaelMKAY on Twitter

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