First and foremost, let me announce that Chiduku Beats and Arts Promotion is now officially registered, both as a business and as a Trademark! I have added the arts promotion at the end because so many of you have sought my advice and opinion on the work that you are doing in so many spheres of the arts over the past week. I figured I shouldn’t leave anyone out.
Let me report that I almost didn’t get the name “Chiduku” when I applied for it at PACRA because can you believe it- there is already a “Chiduku Transport” trundling cement or refuse somewhere in the hinterlands of Zambia!
However, I did manage to persuade them that my line of business would be totally different, though similarly constructive. So I am left with writing to PACRA to explain the meaning of Chiduku, which they insist I must do as per the Laws of Zambia CAP 170 or something. I tried to explain that there is a very long and interesting history to the name, but from the way I was hurried out of the office, I think they want the short version. So for your interest actually, just so that you know what I will write to them (we are in this together) ‘chiduku’ is a corruption (I suspect by my cousins from the Eastern Province) of the Afrikaans word ‘doek’, which means cloth. It has come to mean a piece of cloth worn mainly by African women to cover the head. So we are on the right track with PACRA. I think they will be convinced that it is not a code word for some militant group of economic Saboiteurs.
The Trademark will be entered when I submit the logo. At this point let me thank all the people sending in logo designs, I knew there was incredible creativity out there. I am loving this!
As for the board, here also you will hear from me, thank you for all those who have expressed interest in serving on the Chiduku board. Such a diversity of capabilities I could not have hoped for!
The main thing I want us to do at Chiduku is to prove that musicians can make money from their work if they produce a good product, market it well and keep working at their craft, and that Mulenga Kapwepwe really does not have any bearing on their fortunes. So starting with the three CDs I have been working on, I want to see how we together can help Zambian musicians develop a viable business model that will ensure their earnings. Traditionally a musician earns money from three things, concerts (the highest earner), CD sales on and off line (second earner) and royalties (least earner). In Zambia musicians will now also earn from the hologram through the upholding of mechanical rights, another source that will earn them money as long as they are reprinting their works. These days musicians are also using all sorts of means to ‘max’ their income chances. These maybe endorsements, sponsorships, clothing lines etc. These activities assure a musicians income, with royalties ensuring life-long earnings and sometimes even more earnings after death (see Micheal Jackson, P.K. Chishala, we artists can actually earn long after we are dead). I have done some research and have been able to see, by analyzing sales data from a retailer in Zambia that musicians can earn good money even just from their CD sales. By looking at this data I discovered that the highest earning CD in Zambia was making K170,000.00 (one hundred and seventy-million old kwacha) in monthly sales (this with piracy lurking at every street corner). This CD was at the top of the sales chart for almost 4 months. The secret here was that this CD was a particularly good product, but also that the production company behind it kept printing and making sure the shelves were stocked with the CD at all times. When I asked the question why some equally popular CD had only made K34,000.00 of sales over the same period, I was told that the production company had printed once and never printed again. This was true of many others down the list. To me, this meant that musicians must keep their music on the shelves and keep reprinting their CDs if they are to make any money on their work. Lesson One. There are many lessons I will share.
I am telling you all this because I would like to make our conversations on this page create something new. I believe we need some innovative thinking in regard to our music business sector, and all of us together cannot fail to figure this one out! Let’s have some fun.
And the beat goes on! (which roughly translated means wamuyaya!)