By Frederick Philander
Local radio announcers and disc jockeys doubling as promoters and agents for Namibian musicians promote their clients on an unfair and preferential basis on air at the expense of other artists.
This was revealed in an Art/Life interview by the Namibia Music Industry Union’s (NAMIU) secretary for legal affairs, Alan Geiseb, this week.
“This is but one of the many complains reported to the NAMIU by some of its 400 legally registered members, something that is rather very disturbing to us and the industry,” Geiseb said.
The alleged culprits dominating the music scene are the Damara-Nama Radio Service of the NBC and privately owned commercial radio stations Umulunga Radio and Radio Energy
“We daily hear these agents and promoters with basically fingers in every pie of the music industry repeatedly and exclusively playing their clients’ music.
This creates the impression that other musicians are not good enough. Really these people do a disservice and injustice to up and coming musicians, whose creative works never get aired,” he said.
He promised that his union would take up this matter with the managements of these radio stations as a matter of urgency.
“Our members also complained about the fact that some of the local radio stations in many cases slip up with regard to artist royalties to musicians, causing a lot of friction between them and NASCAM, the organisation yearly paying royalties to musicians. It apparently often happens that music of a particular artist is played on air without being documented. This is not in line with an existing agreement between NASCAM and local radio stations,” he said.
Geiseb also expressed his union’s disappointment with the tendency of selected organising committee members in charge of the annual //Aegams Festival.
“These people mostly serve their own interests on this committee and are year after year appointed on the committee. Our members are of the opinion that this particular committee should be more representative of the music industry and that the Namibian public should be allowed a say in the way the committee is structured,” he said. The NAMIU will be holding its annual congress later this year.
“Presently we are recruiting more members countrywide and hard at work organising the important congress that will look into these obvious discrepancies hampering development in the Namibian music industry,” he concluded.