28 June 2010

Zimbabwe: Rockers Mix Clinches International Music Deals

Harare — Zimbabwean artistes may have missed a golden opportunity to wow the world at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, but they have a gateway to regional and international stardom right in their own backyard.

Rockers Mix Technology, an IT company incorporated in 2007, has revealed that they have signed agreements with several international music stables which give them the chance to promote local musicians across the world.

"Under the agreement, we take on an artiste and we promote them locally and outside, depending on their target audience. We upload their music onto our website and the studios that we have agreements with then also put the stuff on their websites and promote it from their end. That way a Zimbabwean musician will have reached the global stage just like that," explained Prosper Ngwenyama, one of the directors of Rockers Mix.

Once they are known, then it is conceivable that the musicians will then be invited to perform shows in other countries all over the world. They could also end up in collaborations with big international stars like Shakira and P Diddy.

But he warns that international fame and the accompanying fortunes are not just there for the picking by all and sundry.

"There is a need for musicians to realise that there are very high standards in the world and that they have to produce comparable products, or no one will be interested."

Some of the studios that they are in agreement with include Eminem's Shady Aftermath and Universal Interscope, which has major players like Mariah Carey and 50 Cent in its stable. According to Rockers Mix, under the agreement, they promote all the stables music across Africa and can also do promotional copies, which they can sell.

Cosmas Goche, the other director of Rockers Mix, said that they have no room for any conflict with local musicians as they do not sell local music.

"We do not sell local music at all. We are not pirates. We would also like to see the pirates dealt with because it is painful to just see them benefiting from everyone else's hard work."

He said that their organisation, which has a studio in Mainway Meadows, produces music for the artistes in their stable. They also design the album sleeve covers then do promotional discs, which they give away for free, in agreement with the musician.

"Names are not made from just talent, but from the promotion. The names that are big today on the musical scene may not necessarily be the best that the world has to offer. Take Nicholas Somerayi, if that guy had had the right marketing he would have gone far. He showed a lot of talent," said Goche.

Somerayi had a hit single in the nineties with is video making waves on ZTV. But sadly he just quietly faded into the background and made no other noteworthy contributions to the industry.

Goche and Ngwenyama said their biggest challenge was the poor Internet services in the country.

"It takes up to 4 days to download just one video and several weeks to upload just one album. This is the largest thing that is holding us back. Otherwise we are happy with the progress that we have made and we are sure that we will continue to grow," Goche said.

It is now up to the local musicians and their managers to hear the knock on the door and find out if international stardom is calling.

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