The traditional music business model in Malawi has shifted dramatically in a number of ways since the introduction of recorded music in the last century. The sweeping changes in music consumption brought on by technological evolution, like in all parts of the world, has been the biggest driving force in how recorded music is consumed in this digital age.

The journey from Vinyl to mp3, print media, radio & TV to web platforms and Social media has altered the way people connect to, and discover music. Success in the new music business, whether you’re are an aspiring performer, songwriter, manager, promoter, record label, studio owner or music entrepreneur, hinges on how you adapt your hustle to the truths of the digital music business.

How many times have you heard the following statement about the music business?

The music industry is dying and there’s no money in music!

Allow me to share an insider truth regarding this topic, there is no one way to succeed in this game in the same way that there is more than one way to skin a cat or loot from government funds for that matter.

Here are some interesting facts about the recorded music business in Malawi as it stands today:

  • Physical album sales have long been on the decline prompting major distributors like O.G Issa to move out of the business
  • Though radio and TV is still important for breaking and supporting superstar artists, the monopoly they previously held over music delivery has come under serious challenges and threats in the new digital business model with a stronger connection with music lovers via Social Media platforms. (Remember when MBC was the only way to see new music videos?)
  • Digital music consumption is the biggest form of music consumption surpassing CD’s, Cassette Tapes, and live shows.
  • Music licensing and synchronizing for TV is a growing viable business

Despite the many industry changes, music is still a rich and complex symbolic, social, and political product that can captivate audiences, providing cathartic and embodied experiences, grounding identities and communities.

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