How To Promote Music In Uganda

By Tiara Ogabang

Promotion of music in Uganda means different things for different musicians. These differences are not unique to Uganda.

They are found in almost all music industries.

The main differences are among the ways in which artists promote themselves and the ideas on how to do it. There are, therefore, fundamental differences in the two approaches.

The ‘opportunistic’ route

This approach is used by relatively inexperienced artists. This is a very common way of promoting music in Uganda, and it usually involves burning CDs, getting it passed around friends and relatives for free, or even selling it for less than half the retail price.

It is, of course, entirely impractical and unrealistic to make a living out of this. It is also unethical.

The music industry is based on an economic model of sales of albums, tapes, cassettes, etc., which is rarely open to newcomers. This approach will never enable an artist to make a meaningful living from music in Uganda or anywhere.

And the artist will likely not get any profit from the sale of the CD, cassettes, or any other kind of physical music product.

The ‘marketing and promotion’ route

This approach is also relatively new and also very popular. Artists are invited to participate in events that are promoting another artist or artist’s music.

The promoters provide the artist with some free publicity, which helps to promote the artist. The promotion company takes care of the promotion for the event, including advertising it, getting it online, and bringing in performers and MCs.

For example, the ‘poetry marathon’ organized by Music Africa Kampala in Kampala is a great basis.

In this case, the artists are not free to choose the artists they want to participate in events organized by Music Africa Kampala. They are not free to advertise or promote their own events, such as the ‘poetry marathon’.

They have to rely on Music Africa Kampala to get the public interested in the event. The artists are allowed to take 10% of the revenue that the promoters receive from ticket sales for the event.

All artists who advertise their own events through Music Africa Kampala pay Music Africa Kampala 10% of the fees for their event.

The percentage that the artist gets depends on the event. For example, the ‘Poetry Marathon’ is a relatively low-paying event, with only 200 tickets sold.

The organizer of the ‘poetry marathon’ expects only $200 from each person who buys a ticket. So the artist’s share of the 200 tickets sold will be $50.

The company also profits from ancillary events.

For example, the tickets for the event cost only $2.50, but there is also a $10 raffle ticket. People who buy raffle tickets get a chance to win a prize, and there is a 50/50 chance of getting it.

With the sponsorship of the event, the raffle ticket sales alone would be $200. The company gets $200 from selling the raffle tickets.

That brings the total profit to $400. The 10% cut that the artist gets would therefore be $20.

Now, some artists do fairly well out of this.

The author, for example, received a 10% cut for a raffle ticket he won. However, most artists receive less than 10%.

Again, some artists do very well out of this. For example, Pius Anyiama, who represented Uganda at the AFRIMMA awards, as well as won the award for best newcomer, got $8,000 out of the festival.

He used the money to buy equipment for his studio. At the same time, because he took 10% of the festival revenue, he received an extra $600.

That brought his total earnings at the festival to $9,600, which is the amount that has been shown on the award certificate and in the ad in this article.

The profit system in music

In the music industry, it is usually better for an artist to simply take all the money they get, rather than give a percentage to an organizer.

This system is called the ‘profit system’. But it’s a bizarre, bizarre system, and there are many elements to it.

First of all, because many people in the arts industry depend on the good will of promoters and organizers, as well as the revenue from the government for at least some of their earnings, they are sometimes expected to give their organizers and promoters a share of their profits. The percentage varies depending on the situation.

It can be 5%, 10%, 15%, or even 20%. This makes sense when the artist’s share of the profits is low.

If they make a lot of money, artists are not expected to pay their organizers anything. The organizer may be obligated to pay other people to get the event organized.

But if the artist’s share of the profits is high, it makes more sense for the artist to pay the organizer.

Another problem is that the promoters of music events are usually not businesses. They are doing it as a labor of love.

They do it because they love the music and their community, but they do not have the skills to organize, advertise, and promote events. The job falls to the artists.

For example, most of the people who organize the ‘Poetry Marathon’ are poets, or writing teachers. That is not really a skill that could be applied in a business setting.

The poets and the teachers are doing it for the love of the music and community. That’s why they hire an artist to perform.

The musician then makes a decent amount of money, which can also be invested. The teacher makes a little money for organizing and promoting the event.

It’s a bizarre system, and it leads to problems.

Another problem is that there is a mismatch between the skills that artists have and the skills required by promoters. When the artist comes to an event, they bring a very specific set of skills.

They are professionals. They know exactly how much music should cost.

The art is the most important thing, so the music should be free, and the book stall should be there too.

But the promoter doesn’t have any of that knowledge. He doesn’t really have experience running events.

The festival organizer needs to go into it blind. He needs to see what a show costs to put on, what promotion costs, how much money they get in sponsorship, what revenue the festival raises, what revenue they lose.

Promotion of music in Uganda

The following are ways you can promote your music:

Put your music on social media

The music industry has changed drastically with the advent of social media. The lack of a real music industry means you can't count on radio, TV, or any traditional media to promote your music.

This is where social media comes in.

The bottom line is, if your music doesn't get played on radio, TV, and your friends and fans can't get your music on Spotify and other music platforms, there is a real possibility you will struggle to make a living as a musician.

You can either buy advertising space on social media to reach your target audience or create your own space where your target audience will find you.

Paid advertising on social media is available

If you don't have the money to pay for a social media account, then you can still buy space for your music. This is the best and quickest way to market your music.

You can use your personal social media accounts and find out the most effective way to promote your music and buy the best products and services for your social media accounts. Once you know which social media platforms are the best for you, you can either buy a very low-cost ad in a music review website or you can pay to be featured in a music review website.

There are some of these websites where a creator can upload their music and automatically get featured on their website with a buy one, get one promotion. To be featured in these sites you will need to pay a fee.

If you have a good quality product, you will be featured because of your work.

Professionalism is key

When you have an active following on social media, it is important that you are professional. To get more followers and to be heard, you need to build relationships.

You will need to talk to your fans on social media.

Your fans are your biggest fans. They are the ones that will promote your music.

Be humble when you interact with them and be creative when you communicate with them.

Advertise your product

If you don't know what product to promote you can always promote a good brand. It's likely that your audience is already buying your music and products.

You can use an app such as Songkick to find out who is buying your music.

This will enable you to create a targeted advertising campaign. Once you have found the most successful partner and product for your promotion campaign you can use advertising to promote it.

Invest in PR

There are plenty of people who can help you with your PR campaigns. You need to be selective when you choose a PR firm.

You don't want to deal with too many PR agencies. You can have too many and confuse the market.

Select an experienced team with a proven track record in the industry and you should be in good hands.

Take advantage of opportunities

There are always new opportunities available when you are self-employed. Opportunities such as recording at a studio, having a new video shot or getting a mention in a major magazine.

These opportunities will give you the exposure you need to increase your brand and fan base.