Streaming services offer a lifeline to Zimbabwe’s struggling musicians
In addition to international streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer, local music streaming platforms such as Buddie Beatz and Gateway Music App offer struggling Zimbabwean artists some respite in terms of revenue generation.
COVID-19 has put a stop to live performances, a key revenue earner for African musicians whose income is also under threat from piracy.
While some artists have switched to online video performances utilising Facebook Live and YouTube, others have sought to try virtual music streaming platforms.
Econet Wireless’ Buddie Beatz music streaming application has generated almost US$500 000 in revenue.
"An equivalent of US$457,000 revenue was generated through the application," said Econet in its 2021 annual report released this week.
There are "over 3,500 artists that have received an equivalent to US$60,000 as pay-outs for their music streamed on the platform".
Apart from the locally focused Buddie Beatz, Econet has also expanded the platform to include a Buddie Beats International which “allows customers, on any network to subscribe and pay for the streaming service locally and from anywhere” across the world.
In March this year, African music streaming service, Boomplay said it would extend its services to Zimbabwe. This came as Spotify is also rapidly expanding across Africa, including Zimbabwe.
Gateway has also been helping artists monetize new music, video and album releases by allowing them to exclusively stream to paying subscribers on its platform.