Blame game and finger-pointing as artistes decry limited airplay
The ongoing debate on the limited airtime given to Kenyan music has turned the spotlight on the local entertainment industry that is largely dominated by foreign content.
Using #Playkemusic on social media, some Kenyan artistes have blamed radio and television station hosts and deejays for giving preference to foreign music, particularly by Nigerian and Tanzanian artistes.
However, there has been the counter argument that airplay is given based on the popularity of a song, after research. The implication is that Kenyan musicians need to produce more high-quality hits to compete.
Different radio stations have varying target audiences. That’s why one can easily listen to Eric Wainaina’s music play on Classic 105FM and not NRG or Kiss FM. According to media personality Joy Doreen Biira, who was a radio presenter for more than four years, artistes should know where their music is likely to get most air play.
“Besides the presenters, know the technical personnel at a radio station. The music ‘Comp-troller’ can advise you on making music that sells. Meet the programme manager seek knowledge,” says Ms Biira, adding that there were aspects of marketing that musicians usually ignore.
Musician Avril Nyambura also added to the debate, saying artistes should release songs and let the audience choose what to listen to.
Rapper Collo concurred: “Musicians must understand that they have an obligation to their fans.” Refigah from Grandpa Records added his voice saying that there was no law in Kenya on what percentage of Kenyan music should be played on air. Comedian-cum-presenter Jalang’o through his tweeter handle has been vocal and on Friday challenged artistes to produce quality music. He said successful musicians like Sauti Sol and rap artiste Nyashinski should teach other artistes the secrets of success.
Radio presenter Maina Kageni also told off local artistes who are blaming local media houses for not playing their music, saying the artistes should instead up their game. In an Instagram post, Gospel singer Daddy Owen lamented that Kenyan artistes are never given the same amount of airtime as foreign artistes.
Suzzana Owiyo also pitched in, saying there was good local music that should be given airtime, dismissing the “poor quality” line of argument.
See full story in today’s Buzz magazine
Musician Avril Nyambura