If artists snooze, they will surely starve

There are so many festivals taking place in the country that it's easy to be fooled into believing that "work blues" for artists are finally over.

There are so many festivals taking place in the country that it's easy to be fooled into believing that "work blues" for artists are finally over.

A closer look at the festival line-ups shows that in most cases it's the same clique of artists performing. If you compare this number to that of recording artists in the country, you realise that most of them fall by the wayside.

Discussions among stakeholders raise a number of arguments as to why the industry is wallowing in this state of apathy.

For starters, there is a suggestion that promoters will go for artists who are currently riding the crest of a wave - an artist who is in your face, doing interviews and appearing on various publications, or adorning the covers of highly sought-after glossy magazines.

In their defence, promoters insist that you need to strike while the iron is still hot. They swear on a stack of Bibles that crowds will not turn up for their events unless they punt flavours of the moment. Rightfully so, we are talking about businesspeople, not charity workers.

An analysis of the situation shows that it's not as simple as it appears. This vicious circle, ready to tear the music industry apart, starts with the signing-on of an artist. Question is, does a record company have a moral right to sign someone who is going to bomb out, or does not have a shred of talent, personality or conviction?

Does the company release an album that is going to insult the intelligence of the buying public? Or, once they have decided, do they ensure that the product is of the highest quality, that it can hold its own in the music world?

We are flooded with new releases everyday, and record companies do not care whether these artists are good enough to hold their own in the marketplace. When they go hungry, we wonder why, without really looking at the root problem.

As a child, I remember a time when artists were so aggressively marketed that after hearing a song a zillion times, you ended up liking it.

An example that comes to mind is Sophie Thapedi's I'm Gonna Change My Mind. I don't recall the lyrics though the song is embedded in my heart.

We are referring to an era when festivals at local stadiums or halls were in abundance. Artists were busy and famous, yet sponsorship was almost unheard of. Now that sponsorship is available, we are struggling through a forest of problems. What has gone wrong?

Let's adopt a holistic approach towards our industry. Record companies must give chances to deserving artists, who in turn must be proactive about their craft instead of laying the blame at other people's doors.

At the moment I see most of the artists are happy to take a back seat. If artists take an interest in their careers, work hand in hand with record company executives, they make it easy for promoters to put them out there. If they snooze, they will indeed lose, or kanjani ...