Kenyan artists have to be given a fair portion of the money that is being shelved out for entertainment in this country.
Foreign performers are coming in without work permits and that is hurting our own industry tremendously. Rather than supporting local talent, promoters are using the discounted rate they can pay the foreign performers (w/o work permit).
If Kenyan’s go to SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas - i.e as The Cosmic Homies are rep'ing Nairobi this year…what happens? They either must obtain a work visa or they are only permitted to perform for free at the gigs they have been selected for "Foreign artists who qualify under the ESTA and are allowed to enter under the VWP for cultural exchange and showcasing purposes only at SXSW Music and Media conference and nothing else. Any performance outside of the scheduled evening showcases, or scheduled with any entity other than SXSW, LLC is considered non-official and may jeopardize entry to the country."
Damn. No free rides whatsoever.
So why are Kenyan corporations and promoters making it easy for foreign acts to come in and earn what is protected agianst in the U.S.A?
Kenyan promoters should be promoting a wider local talent pool at reasonable pay. It is wrong to continue paying Kenyan artists at a discounted rate when foreign artists are reaping huge sums from performing here. It is as if the public regards us artists as some kind of hobbyists who are happy to sink all our costs into a passion we do not expect to be compensated for. The situation stinks especially when you start looking at numbers.
The cost of bringing in one foreign DJ for a single performance could be used to promote 4 or 5 local artists.
Fee for foreign artist: $2000
air ticket: $2000
per diem: $300
total: ~ $5000 (a conservative estimation)
Again $5000 could be used to promote and pay 4 or 5 local artists at a reasonable rate.
The unfortunate situation is that Kenyan performing artists are being exploited at almost every turn because it is easier to take advantage of them than try to work within or promote a fair system of remuneration. In Nairobi there are a slew of local NGO's and venues who would argue that they are creating artist "development" platforms - showcasing and teaching local musicians. My question to them is; "How are you improving the remuneration paradigm to ensure that artists are actually being paid reasonably?"
If these same organizations are making bank from the events they are using to supposedly advance the careers of the artists they showcase - it should be transparent to the public that the artists are earning a fair share of the money they are generating for these events.
The argument that local artists cannot generate a big enough following or lack talent is should no longer be accepted by anyone.
local artists have a huge following
i.e. Void of Belonging, a local band have 55,000 followers. Some companies are starting to pick up on local talent i.e Monster Energy...so the paradigm is changing but just not fast enough for the odds to change
that are stacked against local artists who perhaps do not appeal to the exclusive clubs and expat market...and for the promoters who cater to these markets.
Another way to look at this situation is that local talent is being shorted what is fairly due to it. Local artists are being exploited to be encouraged to better themselves by accepting exposure for lower remuneration, when the social and economic costs of being an artist are only increasing.
There needs to be a standard mechanism by which performing artists’ earnings are protected and guaranteed just like with their other rights of royalties. This would not be a good idea to run as a public organisation, MCSK is full of holes of accountability. A private entity needs to be fully accountable and it endeavours to improve the business it does. Quite simply put it cannot be exploitative.
Private company such as mine, MapJam, are addressing this lack of regulation and market failure.
MapJam is an enterprise web application for artists to manage their bookings and an event management application for the public. The public can manage their interaction with artists, sound and beverages in a simple interface. It works for both fairly.