Botswana: Artists Unity Key to Industry Growth

Maun — Maun gospel artists have called on artists to work together to help each other grow.

The artists, Esekiya Keotlhokile and Otshepeng Leepile, told BOPA in an interview that teamwork could help the music industry develop and grow .

They said some artists remained stagnant and became disgruntled when they encountered challenges because of working in isolation, adding that teamwork could help turn some of the challenges into opportunities.

"I believe that working in silos has seriously affected us as artists because we lack knowledge on where to go if we want our voices to be heard," said Keotlhokile.

She said though she had been in the industry for the past seven years, she was still struggling to penetrate the market, just like other artists in other genres. She decried lack of support from the community and fellow musicians, adding that most of them did not know the procedure to record an album and how one reached out to radio stations once the album was ready.

Ms Keotlhokile said she had so far produced two albums, which she had been marketing through word of mouth and social media, adding that even though some of her songs were played in different radio stations, she did not benefit.

She appreciated that social media had been helpful as she learnt about Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU), which represents the welfare of musicians and together with Leepile had an opportunity to participate in the last awards.

BOMU, she said also advised them to register with the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) so that they could reap the rewards of their efforts.

Despite the challenges, Keotlhokile stated that she did not give up because she wanted to exploit her talent and preach the Word of God through gospel music.

The 29-year-old Leepile concurred that gospel artists were struggling to grow because of lack of support, adding she had realised that generally the value of gospel music was decreasing. She believes teamwork could help revive it.

She said as gospel artists, they were willing to work with other musicians to reap the rewards.

BOMU, she said had opened her eyes and called on fellow artists to join existing associations to speak with one voice.

Leepile said she had a dream of being one of the leading gospel artists in the country and believes that she could achieve that through support from fellow musicians.

She also welcomed the establishment of COSBOTS, saying it was pleasing to learn that some artists had already reaped the rewards of accrued royalties for their work, something which she said some were clueless about.

Most artists, she said survived in the industry through festivals, performances and sales of their music in shops, adding that through COSBOTS, they could easily penetrate the market.

She also advised musicians to develop their profiles saying there were the best marketing tools that say a lot about their brands.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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