MAM to negotiate price with OG Issa
It seems the problems of music distribution will never end. First, the musicians cried foul over the closure of OG Issa as a music distributor, and they were forced to find alternative means of selling their music. Artists such as Joe Gwaladi took to the streets to sell their music. Others such as Lucius Banda increased their outlets such as Puma fuel station shops across the country to distribute their music. And now that the distributor is back, the Musicians Association of Malawi (Mam) is picking another fight. Instead of celebrating the return of OG Issa, they are demanding more than the K30 they are offered for a copy of the music. ALBERT SHARRA finds out.
MAM has complained that the amount which music distributor OG Issa has offered to buy music from musicians is too low if measured with the current economic challenges facing the country.
MAM president Chimwemwe Mhango said his office will be meeting the distributor during the week to consider revising the price.
OG Issa closed his shops six months ago saying there was poor business and he rescinded the decision a fortnight ago.
However, when announcing the return through The Daily Times, Salim Sattar, who runs Afri-Music Records for OG Issa, said they have reopened their shops, but with tough conditions.
Nonetheless, among many other conditions, it is the cost of each copy which has not pleased many artists who have been complaining that the distributor buys their music at a very low price.
“As MAM, we have welcomed back the distributor but we wanted to discuss revising the cost of each copy,” said Mhango.
When asked on how much they want the distributor to buy their music, Mhango said they will be negotiating for something around K75.
“The devaluation we had recently has not spared musicians and the price for each music copy will be tackled,” he said.
One of the veteran musicians Mlaka Maliro also described OG Issah’s return as a relief to musicians.
On the cost of each copy, Mlaka said K30 is too little. He said with the devaluation, anything lower than K100 is too little to cushion an artist’s investment into music.
“We now spend between K100 000 and K200 000 to produce an album, in the past it was lower than this and so it means struggling for artists,” said Mlaka while encouraging artists to produce quality music to sway the distributor to increase the figures.
However, another music follower and promoter, Jai Banda said artists have no option because there is no one to compete with the distributor.
“It is a private business and we cannot force him to push up the figures because it is private business. We just need to challenge the distributor with other competitive companies. Again artists should strive for better music because I believe he cannot maintain the price on quality,” he said.
Despite the coming in of CDs the majority of people in the rural areas still use cassette tapes and OG Issah has been the sole supplier of these.