Empowering the Malawian Music Industry Through Technological Infrastructures (Part 1)

Let’s dive into the transformative power of various technological pillars that can shape the trajectory of the developing Malawian music scene. Observing other successful music markets whose investment in digital distribution and streaming services to social media platforms and music production tools, continues to play a crucial role in empowering artists and fostering a flourishing musical ecosystem; Malawi could stand to learn a few things about steering its industry in the right direction.

Navigating the early stages of any music market’s growth presents unique challenges, often exacerbated by inadequate technological infrastructure. However, by identifying practical steps and strategic interventions we can take here in Malawi, we can pave the way for artists to thrive in this dynamic digital era.

Here are some of the key elements of technology infrastructure we can explore to strengthen the foundation of our emerging music market.

See Also

  • Digital Distribution Platforms:
    • Practical Steps:
      • We need to develop our own home-grown digital distribution platforms that be included in the same conversation as TuneCore, DistroKid or CD Baby
      • Currently, we can encourage more artists to utilize digital distribution services like TuneCore, DistroKid, or CD Baby
      • Workshops on the benefits of digital platforms and guiding artists through the process of uploading and promoting their music online can also encourage the digital footprint Malawian artists can have in the global music conversation
      • We need more partnerships with local internet service providers to ensure reliable and affordable internet access; in a digital world & content creation era, it’s important that data is made affordable to encourage homegrown talent and content creation
  • Online Streaming Services:
    • Practical Steps:
      • More initiatives to educate artists on best practices of submitting their music to popular streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.
      • Regular webinars on maximizing visibility and revenue through streaming, including playlist pitching strategies would change the manner and quality which Malawian music released and marketed
      • Collaborations with telecom companies to offer data packages favourable to streaming in regions with connectivity challenges ensures local content is not being left out of the regional or global discourse.
  • Social Media Platforms:
    • Practical Steps:
      • Regular social media marketing workshops for artists, covering content creation, engagement strategies, and analytics can also significantly improve Malawi’s overall global music performance
      • We need more communities where artists can share tips and experiences in in leveraging social media
      • We could explore initiatives that provide “free” mobile devices or sponsoring of data bundles to artists to ensure consistent online presence. Most young emerging artists struggle with affording data bundles consistently.
  • Music Production Software and Equipment:
    • Practical Steps:
      • While Lilongwe & Blantrye are performing well in terms of music activities that support artistic growth (live events & music creatives), other cities and districts across the country have the potential to become major music hubs and tour stops for local artists and potentially international artists too.
      • We could use more intentional approaches building infrastructures that support music and artists such as community recording spaces with basic equipment, making music production accessible
      • Offering training sessions on popular music production software and techniques can significantly impact the creation, preservation & innovation of our diverse local music and instrumentation.
      • Exploring how we can partner with well-known manufacturers for discounted equipment and software in regions lacking access can also help other regions and markets to discover talented Malawian music artists and producers
  • Digital Marketing Tools:
    • Practical Steps:
      • Different types of music businesses could also develop easy-to-follow guides on using digital marketing tools like Facebook Ads, Instagram promotions, and email campaigns for artists to purchase and use
      • A centralized platform for artists to access templates and resources for designing promotional materials can be created
      • Mentorship programs can also be established where experienced marketers guide artists through their initial campaigns
  • E-commerce Platforms for Merchandising:
    • Practical Steps:
      • Collaborations with e-commerce platforms that support independent artists’ merchandise sales such as PayChangu & DPO Payment Systems
      • Selling of templates for designing merchandise and guidelines on setting up online stores is also another avenue to be explored
      • Workshops on the logistics of merchandising, including packaging and shipping can also support artists diversifying their income streams and build up the industry
  • Cloud-based Collaboration Tools:
    • Practical Steps:
      • We need to embrace the use of cloud-based collaboration platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Soundtrap in our dealings as music creatives especially if we have plans on working with international brands and platforms
      • Offering training sessions on remote collaboration etiquette and effective use of collaboration tools can help secure a reputation of Malawian artists being music business savvy and easy to work with
      • Establishing a network of virtual collaboration hubs for artists to connect across geographical boundaries can also help us discover ways of developing our own innovative services in this sector of cloud-based technology

AR and VR technologies provide new, immersive ways for artists to engage with their audience, especially in the realm of live performances

Implementing some of these practical step can lay the groundwork for a resilient technological infrastructure that empowers our emerging music market in the global music industry. The combination of education, accessibility, and strategic partnerships ensures that artists can navigate and capitalize on the evolving digital landscape, fostering a vibrant and sustainable music ecosystem

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