With social media gaining a greater following as a platform to showcase art, Namibian musicians have started to increasingly shun television and radio platforms to promote their music.
Musicians have also often complained that radio presenters would choose to play the music of their few favourites while ignoring the music from genres they do not like, which has pushed musicians to use platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to launch and promote their music.
Online applications such as YouTube and Soundcloud have made it easier for artists and music labels to side-line radio and television stations as these social media tools allows audiences not only to see videos but also hear their favourite music without the constant interruptions of advertisement breaks or the voices of presenters.
“Music has always been about hearing the track first. What social media has done is to fast-track the process of artists getting their songs to the public. This has somehow put radio in a peculiar position as there is a process to getting your record played on the stations. This can take up to three days or a week.” said Fresh FM presenter Azeal “Cheeze” Matsoarelle.
Tuning into most local stations one is inundated with songs from international artists unless listening to stations with shows dedicated to playing strictly local content; and even then, very rarely does one get to hear the sounds of new upcoming artists. It is always the same artists getting airplay, creating a sense of repetitiveness.
“You can’t blame artists for turning away from mediums such as radio and television, because at the end of the day they play more music from outside the country then they do local guys. The media as a whole is also just very disappointing as all they do is spread negativity and not positivity” said Triple Seven’s Arraffath.
In previous years artists have complained about local media houses and events’ organisers not giving them the same chances or coverage as they do international artists, resulting in our young talent preferring to remain underground.
“They are also not paying royalties. It’s really discouraging to the people in the industry. As a nation we are not supporting each other. Artists with outside connections are the ones making it in the industry.” added Arraffath.
Whether the industry loves it or hates it, radio and television play a role in helping to maintain the quality of music the audience have reaching their ears. Cheeze also added that radio has restrictions in that all artists wishing to have their music played are to be registered with NASCAM.
“On a personal note releasing online, in my opinion, is for lazy artists. Sitting in your room and recording in your room and releasing from your room is nonsense.” said Cheeze.
“The public still wants to hear from the artists and that is where radio and television come in. As much as social media is easily accessible, not everyone in Namibia has access to internet but everyone has a radio or television so at the end of the day radio and television are not dying out,” said Lafika, a radio presenter at Fresh fm.
Although discouraging to some artists, radio and television will always play a vital role in sustaining our music industry and all other forms of entertainment. Unfortunately we do not live in a fair world and there will always be a gap that separates the haves and the have nots resulting in people that only have radios and televisions as a means of connecting to the outside world and their favourite artists.