BY PRECIOUS CHIDA
FORMER banker-turned-gospel musician, Tafadzwa Mukaro, yesterday said many gospel artistes lacked effective marketing skills to push their brands, resulting in many of their music shows attracting paltry crowds, compared to other music genres.
Her sentiments came in the wake of a gospel music competition hosted by a local bank at the Harare Gardens, which was poorly attended yet an earlier Zimdancehall show headlined by Enzo Ishall at the same venue had attracted a bumper harvest.
Mukaro, however, told NewsDay Life & Style that while financial constraints often made it difficult for hard-pressed fans to fork out money to attend gospel music shows and programmes, the artistes themselves needed effective marketing skills to reach out to the fans.
“The low turnouts at shows could be due to the strained finances of fans, as they might not be able to afford transport and entrance fees, but gospel artistes are also to blame as they are not advertising their shows and concerts enough,” she said.
Mukaro — who launched her debut album a few weeks ago — said the dominance of Zimdancehall had also overshadowed gospel music.
“Zimdancehall, at the moment, is the in thing as it gets very good airplay on all (radio) stations. So, it has had the opportunity to market itself as a much sought-after type of music. So, if people then know there is a show, they are bound to attend in droves to see live the artistes they normally hear on the radio,” she said.
Mukaro said the quality of gospel music being released onto the market was sometimes so poor that it resulted in people not taking the genre and its artistes seriously.
Musician Matthias Mhere concurred, saying a lot of gospel artistes did not attract promoters to help push their brands because they were not marketing their music enough to attract significant attention.
“I feel we are failing sometimes, all because of marketing. Musicians in the gospel genre are not doing it vigorously such that we are not attracting promoters to invest in our music by organising shows for us,” he said.
Songbird Janet Manyowa has, however, significantly invested in marketing her music in a development that has seen her become a force to reckon with in the music industry.
Her husband-cum-manager, Munyaradzi Manyowa, said they had witnessed a vast improvement over the years, adding that gospel artistes needed to do more.
“Gospel still has many fans who seek after it. We have had sold-out shows since our album launch last year, and other musicians are also making it,” he said.
“However, many gospel artistes that are lagging behind are just affected by lack of marketing their products.”