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Music promoters exploit fans

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According to the laws of demand and supply, when a product is in high demand, its price goes up- in many cases leaving those with small purses failing to access the product.

This was the case last weekend when promoters of the mega-show featuring musical giants Oliver Mtukudzi and Alick Macheso exploited the huge turnout by increasing the entrance fee to $10, from the advertised $5.

Featuring one of the rare combinations of the country’s biggest musicians, Macheso and Mtukudzi, backed by rising star Tryson Chimbetu, the show held at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex, was a major attraction for music lovers.

However, the sudden change in the fee left many fans stranded outside the venue.

As late as 10pm scores of people could be seen milling around outside the complex while others were walking away.

“Vanhu ava imbavha vavakuchaja $10 saka takuenda kwaka chipa, (these people (the promoters) are crooks, they are now charging $10 so we are now going to low-priced shows)”
Others indicated the change in the fee had greatly affected their budgeting.

“I came here with my girlfriend and two of her friends and we were expecting to fork out $20 for the four of us and what that means now is we should fork out $40, this is totally unfair,” said one disappointed fan.

The Aquatic Complex is strategically placed at the heart of the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, a town that harbours middle and low-income earners, most of whom wanted to attend the show because of its affordability and also because it was a rare chance to see Tuku perform.

Tuku usually plays at upmarket venues with high gate charges they cannot afford. The incident raises a cocktail of questions.

Are promoters fleecing fans by unnecessarily hiking gate charges, taking advantage of the huge turnout at concerts?

Promoters have been roundly accused of trying to maximise profits, usually in crooked ways.

Others hike gate charges while others increase the prices of food and beverages in the venue.

It’s time that stakeholders like the National Arts Council (NACZ) or Consumer Council of Zimbabwe intervene in these scandalous operations, to protect consumers from unscrupulous promoters.

Several people interviewed expressed their anger at music promoters and the lack of regulation in the industry.

Veteran music critic and lecturer Fred Zindi said that promoters are ripping off consumers and that something urgent needs to be done to rectify this anomaly.

Masimba Kuchera, another music analyst, said that the hiking of gate charges was not justified and that greedy promoters should be exposed.

“The NACZ should come up with a policy to regulate such events to protect consumers. Music promotion is not a jungle where every business sets the rules as they go. Judging from the turnout at the Aquatic Complex and the publicity, profile and location of the show, this was very unfortunate and unethical.”

Those in the music promotion industry defended the hiking of the gate charges saying music promotion is a business and that they take advantage of any opportunity to maximise on profits.

A popular promoter who refused to be named said:
“Business is all about making profits and if we notice that the attendance is high we hike the price.”
NACZ communications officer Donald Chidoori, said that there is no regulation in place to deal with gate charges.

“The regulation only applies for international shows but for the locals there is no force in place,” he said.

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