8 March 2019

Tanzania: This Is Why Every Artist Yawns for an Award

It has been almost four years since the last Kilimanjaro Music Awards were held at Mlimani City Conference Hall, it was a scene that the industry had become accustomed to as the City's glitterati converged.

The 15 years of the awards had seen many come and go as it became a point of reference in every artiste's career.

It was a day that every artiste and those who earn their bread through music looked forward to with glee.

The events that followed afterwards were always interesting especially as some got the bragging rights over their peers.

The absence of the awards has never been explained by Basata and the then sponsors Kilimanjaro, as many agree, it has left a great void, one that is yet to be filled and worse still, it remains a mystery as to when the next awards shall take place.

Two year ago Azam came up with what they named the Sinema Zetu International Film Festival, an event that was meant to reward the cream in the film industry.

The inaugural ceremony was quite a marvel, to some it was just what the industry especially the film industry was yawning for.

With former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in attendance many wished for such nights in the film industry which had been plagued by all sorts of mediocrity.

The second season however left us with some questions after two young actors beat odds to emerge as the Best Male and Best Female actors.

The questions that were raised were rather far-fetched in many ways, for example there are those who questioned why organizers had put children in the same category as seasoned actors.

They blamed organizers for being insensitive using all sorts of adjectives, yet these same artistes had failed to point out this during the nomination stage.

As Professor Muhando explained later, it was no the first time that a rookie had been pitted against the so-called superstars.

"When Lupita Nyong'o won her first Oscar no one knew anything about her, and because of professionalism no one complained," he said.

Many have wondered if artists get paid for winning these awards given the kind of pomp that was associated with it.

Contrary to the practice elsewhere in Tanzania artistes receive paltry fees for winning awards but in most countries they are not paid.

At the Grammys it turns out that the Beyoncé's and Rihanna's of the world who cash in millions don't get paid a cent when they grace the esteemed ceremony. They don't get a cheque for winning either; but those golden trophies could auction off for a hefty amount of dollars should they ever need the funds.

The live event is far from a loss though. Forbes reports that performers and producers see a Grammy Bounce' of at least 55 per cent in concert ticket sales and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win.

David Banner says that his producer fee jumped from $50,000 to $100,000 after his work on Lil Wayne's single "Lollipop."

Co-producer Jim Jonsin, who also worked with Beyoncé, told DailyFinance.com that the rewards were "life-changing."

"If I really wanted to, I could charge a good 20 per cent to 30 per cent more. I didn't raise my prices, though," he said of his Grammy win. Pre Grammy-winning status, producers on average charge $30,000 to $50,000 per track.

If you're fortunate enough to snag an award, though, Jonsin says that the starting figure is in the $75,000 area and super-producers like Timbaland and Pharrell can demand twice that. Thanks to the high-profile night, stars benefit in mainstream visibility and in their pockets too. After winning his first Grammy, Bruno Mars' average nightly gross swelled from $130,000 to $202,000.

Esperanza Spalding went from $20,000 to $32,000 and Taylor Swift jumped from $125,000 to $600,000.

And because it would be so tasteless for Hollywood to send its multi-millionaire guests home empty handed, celebrities leave the occasion with a gift bag worth more than some people's salaries.

According to the TorontoSun.com, gifts include Tiffany cat collars, Gibson guitars, trips to deserted islands, cashmere sweaters, teeth whitening products, jewelry, sunglasses and designer leather bags."

The very generous goodies in 2010 reportedly came to about $50,000 in value.

So, no, music's superstars don't walk away with a physical cheque in hand. The mere association to the Grammy's, however, does fatten their wallets long after the special airs.

And just as it is in the West, local artistes here too saw their profiles balloon after the win, most notable, when Diamond in 2009 picked five gongs his personal and artistic life changed.

The young singer got a rare profile to work with some of Africa's superstars including Senegal's Yussou N'dour.

His growing profile soon put him among the elite just as his asking price for shows soon began to shoot up from a prodigy to a superstar.

Though there have been other awards that have come up with the aim of filling the void, there is every indication that the Kili Awards are sorely missed.

Whatever happened that forced the organisers to back out is still a point of debate but as they continue mulling over what the future holds it is obvious that the industry needs these awards.

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