Namibia: The Long, Hard Road to Making a Living Out of Music

Music sales in the Namibian music scene have declined as people scarcely buy compact disks (CDs) and artists earning money from online streaming and downloads is proving to be quite hard while music retailers are limping as well.

Entertainment Now! spoke to some local artists and music experts about surviving the music business during these hard times.

In a telephonic interview with a multi-talented singer Ml, she said even though the sale of CDs is quite outdated the main issue has always been the distribution of music.

"If we release an album it has always been hard or it takes long for the music to reach people from far areas, and with the technology that took over, fans can now access our music through online music platforms which also does not make us sufficient money," explained the 'Ndota' singer.

Ml, who is likely to be the only artist in the country to follow the new trend of selling albums on custom USB drives, further explained that their regular customers for CDs used to be jukebox owners until jukeboxes evolved to digital which pushed her to migrate from traditional CDs to USB.

Talking about how much she makes money from live streams and downloads, Ml said the online market depends on the type of music they make.

"I sell my music on all digital platforms such as iTunes and Deezer but surprisingly I get streams from across the borders but at the stage where we are as a country, we do not get enough streams and downloads to make us decent money."

Local artist K-dio, who is currently selling his album 'Real is rare' online, said his album has sold better compared to the physical copies.

According to him, he only sold 70 copies of his CD since the release of the album.

The owner of one of the popular music retailers in the country and top-selling music promoter Dragan Djokic, commonly known as Antonio, told Entertainment Now!: "The sale of CDs in the country is such a disaster. I only sell a few CDs in a week compared to the good old days when the sale of CDs was good."

Antonio is calling upon artists, producers and music specialists to join hands and find ways how they can make the sale of CDs popular again.

While there is strong growth in digital music sales in the world, the founder of Donlu, Namibia's premier online music and merchandise stores, Llewelyn Adams, said Namibians have an issue with subscribing to online platforms, which is why artists earn little money from digital music sales.

He confirmed that Namibians barely buy music online which he believes is caused by the lack of understanding of digital technology.

"In my understanding, people need to be educated on how to use digital platforms because at times they fear to enter their details online which limits them from buying music," said Adams.

In 2014, South Africa's online business news website reported about the decline in physical music sales by almost 12%, which is also likely to happen in Namibia. According to Statista.com Revenue the digital music segment is projected to reach US$51m in 2020.

Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2024) of 6.3%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$65m by 2024.

The market's largest segment is music streaming with a projected market volume of US$37m in 2020.

- ashikololo@nepc.com.na

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