The first ever MapJam meetup was held on Wednesday 23rd November at the Alchemist in Westlands. It was an earnest discussion based around how we as artists and event organizers could organize to improve the revenue of performing artists.
Gregg Tendwa, the brains behind WIBO Culture made the prediction that the market [audiences] is trending towards becoming ultra-niche. The situation is that for any event you still need to pull at least 100 attendees in order to survive. Gregg says we need to come together, as artists and event organizers, to bring genres together in 2017.
In our experience with MapJam we have seen that it is typically very difficult to bring people to music centered events. This was a frustration echoed by all the event organizers and artists present. I followed with the question:
"We see music is as integral part of every type of event in Kenya, how can we as artists and we as MapJam leverage this situation?"
The point was raised that we are may be competing against mediocrity of DJs. It was thought that DJ’s are mainly getting hired for events, and not performing artists, because they are readily available and are part of the package that people purchase when they hire "sound" for an event.
So assuming that we can readily provide such services of sound and entertainment the question arose -
"Can we be cheaper than a DJ?"
"Can MapJam issue a standard fee per band no matter what?"
Gregg Tendwa suggested looking into a completely new algorithm, i.e. Uber where earnings come through on volume. This could have the implication of artists sharing earnings. Some artists could play free, the goal being to occupy the market with our artists, or indeed as an artist owned enterprise.
My thoughts post meeting:
The question of how MapJam can compete against the existing market is the most important question we are asking ourselves because this single factor determines our market value. How much share of the market can we get at what rate of growth? Until we have this data we can only estimate the impact MapJam will have on the market.
What we know is that there is an existing market. We assume that people will be willing to pay slightly more than they do currently to hire sound and entertainment in order to hire a performing artist with very good sound.
This value is between 10,000/- and 20,000/- on the low average we estimated.
At the moment without the necessary infrastructure it is not feasible to provide such a service. 10,000/-is cutting things short on an artist unless other costs are subsidized and that is the fee based on high frequencies of performances. That's the way I look at it.
In my opinion the most important effect we can have is to upgrade the infrastructure of the performing arts sector in Kenya. We need something that will increase the value of participation for both patrons and artists.
Does that mean displacing DJ's? Not at all. If anything it means intergrating Dj's as a channel to access the existing market and spurning collaboration between DJ's and artists. It may well mean displacing the existing sound rental market, but as I have pointed out in earlier posts this is an archaic and unfairly positioned market we operate in.
Again - we need something better to offer to the patrons who are organizing the events and we need something better for the DJ's. If we have high-fidelity for a competitive price that is a definite market advantage that ought to be explored.