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Zim dancehall and the financial opportunity of the internet

image credit: ZIM Dancehall NGOMA RESE

It is undeniably the largest movement in local urban music and youth culture. It’s Zim dancehall music and if you have been to any urban or peri-urban area for that matter you will have heard the familiar sounds and the catch phrases taken from the lyrics.

As big as this movement is though, I still wonder if these guys are doing all they can to benefit from their success and popularity.

Arts and entertainment has been hit by the monster called piracy and the result is that most performers don’t make as much as they deserve.  However through the internet there are ways to make additional revenue to cash in on the Zim dancehall popularity.


One aspect that comes with the growth of musical art form is of course the production and distribution of accompanying music videos. In the case of Zim dancehall the distribution of these videos has been aided immensely by social media.

A look at YouTube videos for some of the artists and the Facebook pages focused on the genre shows a strong following of Zim dancehall related posts and content, with strong numbers that signify how this genre is primed for and being edged on by all things digital.

Videos from breakout zim dancehall artists like Killer T, Winky D, Soul Jah Love, Seh Calaz, Lady Squanda, Shinsoman, Guspy Warrior, King Shaddy and Dhadza D easily break past  the 50,000 views mark. Packaged as medleys for the latest riddim or solo performances, these videos have captured a wide audience that extends to the diasporan viewers as well.

Facebook pages such as Zim Dancehall NGOMA RESE,  Fresh Zim Dancehall Downloads and Zim Dancehall Kings and Queens Info also demonstrate the enormous following that this genre is creating with thousands of fans keen on keeping track of the latest from their favourite artists.

So with hundreds of thousands of viewers and notable feedback on social networks , why hasn’t anyone stepped up to monetise these numbers?

Thanks to the internet there is a huge opportunity that is sadly not being taken advantage here. Once you manage to build a sizeable online audience like what these Zim Dancehall artists have done, there are several options to create revenue.

Here are just four ways that can be used to make additional revenue through Zim Dancehall, and actually for any other Zimbabwean artist that can quantify their popularity on the internet.

Product Placement

For videos there is so much opportunity to use the age old method of product placement. If an artist can have 100,000 views for a video why not negotiate placement for brands that want to capitalise on this visibility.

This is a great option for the countless artists who haven’t been as fortunate as Killer T to be picked as brand ambassadors. Soul Jah Love can appear in a video holding an Astro device, in front of a Food World Supermarket, wearing a Faith Wear T-shirt with a Delta beverage in his hand.

YouTube Advertising

A second option is YouTube video advertising.  This can be in-video as pop up ads or as TrueView Advertising that comes before the video. Artists or their management could try convincing companies of the benefits derived from measurable views on videos that are shared online.

Rather than place a billboard that promotes money remittances for the huge target market in Mbare wouldn’t it be better to have a pop up ad placed in Killer T’s video that is viewed by his local fan base plus the diasporan audience?

Clickable buttons and links 

In all the Zim dancehall videos I have watched on YouTube I haven’t seen any artist using clickable buttons that can be placed as links in the video. These are reference links that can be used on videos that direct viewers to even more content, or in the case of monetising to websites of products that are advertising on the video.

Zim Dancehall VOD Service

In the absence of your very own Zim Dancehall TV Station the other option would be the creation of a VOD service for all Zim Dancehall video and content.Through this one platform all things Zim Dancehall, and not just the videos, can be given to fans and the curious with the aggregated views being used to bargain for and establish various revenue options.

These can include advertising and also the launch of brands and merchandise. With the right presentation , the inking of the necessary content deals with the artists (this is always the greatest challenge in entertainment) and a lot of work beyond the technology, it can be turned into another revenue stream for all parties involved.

Have something to add on the other ways Zim Dancehall can be harnessed by the artists and those behind it for decent revenue?  Please share in the comments below.

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