As we close in on the three months mark since the first case of novel coronavirus was announced in Kenya, it is clear that a lot of things will have to change going forward. Lives have been lost, businesses closed, jobs lost among others.

We are experiencing a lot of unfortunate events which I would not like to dwell on this piece. Let’s look at a few good opportunities that if well explored, most of our artists will not live to condemn the government for not taking care of them.

For your information, the government already did its part after President Uhuru Kenyatta released Sh300 million to artistes, Sh200 million from royalties and an additional Sh100 million from the Sports fund, as a measure to cover artistes from the effects of covid-19 pandemic. Unless you are comfortable with the Sh5000 from the funds given to artistes by the government, it’s time for artistes to do their part as well.

It makes me sad to learn that most Kenyan artistes have been depending on shows to make a living, and with Covid-19 seemingly here to stay, it would be prudent if our musicians thought a little outside the box. I have been watching most TV interviews and most Kenyan artists claim to be surviving off their savings during this pandemic.

The pandemic has provided an opportunity for these very same artists to explore additional avenues of making money, we have more than enough music streaming sites out there they can make money from streams, purchases from their singles or albums. If this was the case, our artists wouldn’t be out here crying.

Akothee, Bahati and Femi One. Kenyan artists: It’s time to think out of the box and evolve with time
Akothee, Bahati and Femi One. Kenyan artists: It’s time to think out of the box and evolve with time

Spotify, Boomplay, Itunes, Deezer, Mdundo, the list is endless. One would argue that some of these sites work well in markets abroad. Why should your music be heard only locally? How will you be able to secure a show abroad if no one knows how your music sounds?

I’ll give an example of East Africa’s number one Diamond Platnumz, he currently stands to be one of the richest musicians in Africa, what did he do differently? Investing in music streaming sites and its working. I would like to commend artists like Octopizzo and Tanzania’s Ben Pol who have embraced the idea of working with several streaming sites, and it is working out for them, with or without shows, they will not sleep hungry.

Most of Kenyan musicians have their songs not going any further than YouTube and they still expect to make money, think of it from this angle; If YouTube can earn you the little it does, how much would you earn if you had your music on ten other streaming sites, earning you the same as YouTube gives you.

It’s time for the Kenyan artistes to stop being lazy and lying all blame on a few dysfunctional bodies for failing to pay you a few shillings. Widen your scope, put your music out there and all will be well. You cannot live your whole life blaming MCSK for sending Sh2, 500.

Covid-19 came as a reminder, so make the most out of it!