Technology is dictating the conversation around music and entertainment and drastically changing the industry in areas such as distribution, promotion, and brand development.
Though not as well documented as the leading examples of world entertainment the same wave of disruption has reached Zimbabwe and it’s always encouraging to find artists that are keeping these changes in mind.
Zimbabwean superstar Jah Prayzah has created a name for himself as one of the leading artists on the local music scene with a brand name that has translated to successful live performances and tours, good record and DVD sales and a valuable name whose content can be tapped into by other companies and brands.
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After checking out some of his detailed and well-directed videos as well as the new Jah Prayzah website (which does a good job of positioning him as a professional entertainer) we caught up with his team to find out just how much work has been put into Jah Prayazah’s digital presence.
In an interview with Jah Prayzah’s manager, Keen Mushapaidze, he explained how the artist’s success can be attributed to professionalism, an integration of offline and online strategies and significant sacrifices in both time and money.
A big investment and professional approach have produced big returns
For Jah Prayzah’s most recent album, Jerusarema, a lot of effort was put not only into the song production but also into the production of high-quality videos like the eye-catching Jerusarema and the comical Eriza. These productions have been supported by a strong presence on social media where they have been shared extensively.
The budget for the video production came to about $20,000 (part of the cost was offset by branded advertising deals) which was followed up with the investment into a DVD distribution channel.
Some money also went into creating an improved web presence (they had to hire a professional web development outfit) which has helped in the presentation of Jah Prayzah as a professional artist while also introducing fans to his music which he has made available on platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, and iTunes.
In addition to the big budget videos Jah Prayzah also works with a team (led by Mushapaidze) that handles various aspects of the Jah Prayzah brand like public relations and logistics as well as the management of his record label JP Studios.
This team also makes contributions to Jah Prayzah’s social media delivery which has helped him maintain an active presence on platforms that his fans (especially in the diaspora) follow him on.
All this appears to be paying off. According to Mushapaidze technology has helped Jah Prayzah extend his reach and grow his audience for performances locally and internationally.
At the same time, this visibility has helped in the distribution of content such as CDs and DVDs. Though these content delivery options have been massacred by piracy, there has been some fair success with well-marketed DVDs like Jerusarema pushing over 20,000 units.
It’s clear how the fusion of online strategies with offline branding has gone a long way in growing Jah Prayzah’s brand and unlocking revenue and according to Mushapaidze, it’s something that other artists need to explore.
Even without the huge budgets an artist can build a profile online and present themselves as a professional artist who can deliver, something that Jah Prayzah has always pushed for even before he had become a superstar.
You can listen to the full interview with Keen Mushapaidze, Jah Prayzah’s manager, by following the link below.