The fight upcoming artists endure

20 September 2019 | Columns

The tenacity of upcoming artists to never give up in the face of countless 'no's' given to them is what eventually takes them into the limelight and the realm of success.

There are many conditions that stand in a young artist's breakthrough in the industry. Sadly, some of these conditions have often been caused by major broadcasting platforms that, ironically, continue to preach their ambitious support towards artists in their early stages of their careers. The best example would be an upcoming artist's constant struggle to be played on radio. Getting radio airplay is probably on top of most artists' lists, because this goes beyond the reach and reflects back on all those moments when you would sit next to a radio and wait for hours just to listen to your favourite song and get inspired. I believe the relationship between radio and determined upcoming artists has always been an important one, but you would never expect that direct source of inspiration to become a direct enemy of an artist's journey. Maybe it's not the radio medium itself that is to blame but certain individuals behind the medium who have corrupted the radio's relationship with new musicians.

Another example would then have to be television, which again has been another important source of inspiration for emerging artists. Remember back in the day when you would rush home to finally catch your favourite music video on NBC's Whatagwan? That moment when you would rush home to carefully study how your favourite artist continued to do it - remember that? Television is one platform that is definitely every rising star's dream, but when the same medium continues to neglect and reject music's progressive nature through making things difficult for young rising stars, then the relationship is negatively affected. However, it must be noted that in Namibia there aren't many television stations and there are not even more than five Namibian music shows on our television channels. In light of this I call on the arts community to invest in a music television channel to air Namibian music videos because the few television music shows we have are not enough and often they just last for an hour when we have so many musicians trying to broadcast their music videos to the masses. YouTube has been very helpful in this regard but that is not a Namibian platform and not everyone has access to internet connectivity in Namibia.

Those two examples above are enough to make you nod your head in agreement with the struggle upcoming artists go through in broadcasting their music to the masses. The good news is that a promised land has been found and recognised, which is the internet, because when the major platforms could not accommodate every artist, the artists turned towards another platform that has no restrictions. On the internet artists can upload their music without so many restrictions. But like I stated earlier not everyone has access to the internet in Namibia, so with this newfound promised land challenges still persists and it does not guarantee success. Getting thousands of views is just as difficult as getting radio airplay.

[email protected] ; @MichaelMKAY on Twitter

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