• July 9th, 2020

Entertainment industry’s ‘big brother’ attitude: Real or imagined?

    Alvine Kapitako and 
    Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK- There is an impression that the country’s “bigger” artists are enjoying the fruits of their popularity with rules being bent in their favour whether for submission of music videos for airplay or entering for the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs). 

Entertainment Now! this week spoke to artists in the industry, who opined that corporations including the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the NAMAs committee, are “relaxing rules for big fishes”. 
“They do relax the rules,” said an artist who did not want to be named. The artist gave an example of a song by Maszanga Money submitted in 2015 for nomination but did not get the nod, while a similar song Chelete by award-winning artist Gazza real name Lazarus Shiimi, which they feel might have been inspired by Money has been nominated for the NAMAs this year. 

There also seems to be unfairness in terms of airplay when it comes to music videos on national television. With the type of content heavily scrutinised before songs are put on air, one would wonder exactly how the selection process happens and what the set criteria for videos are. 

A producer at the national broadcaster highlighted the concerns they get from the public about some content on TV when it comes to music videos. “We sit, analyse the videos and through that, we also forward the recommendations to the executive producer who decides on what type of music videos go on air,” she said. 

Some of the rules about music video submissions are the editing of video, which is expected to be of high quality, indirect marketing of commercial items like beverages, shop logos and clothing line should be avoided at all times. 

Another issue is that of product placement, and the rule dictates that music videos should not have any evident product placement or branding as part of their content. As far as the violence rule is concerned, storylines should avoid violence and use of dangerous tools like knives and guns. 

Some of the famous artists currently featured have product placements in their videos and are enjoying massive airplay on the public broadcaster while the not-so-popular ones with product placement are denied airplay. 

With the content of the music videos on TV under review, Entertainent Now! also begs to ask the question of originality from the vetting committee of the NAMAs. The Corporate Communications Specialist at MTC, John Ekondjo, urged the public to familiarise themselves with the rules and guidelines of the NAMAs. On originality, Entertainment Now!  inquired on how Chelete was accepted for the NAMAs 2019 while it may have the same content as Money by Maszanga, which was released five years ago.  

“The rule says work previously not submitted to the committee. You might have worked on a project before and not presented to the NAMAs. Our most open criterion is, we emphasise on materials not presented in the NAMAs before as per agreeable standards,” said Ekongo. All this should, however, happen within the prescribed time, he explained. 

“As long as it has been released within the qualification date of December 1st of the presiding year to November 30th of the following year,” explained Ekongo. 
 K3y, whose real name is Bronson Tjihukununa, said the group submitted their song for the NAMAs in 2015 – round about the same year when the song was released. “But we did not get a nomination,” he added. 

Asked on whether “bigger” artists get preferential treatment, Tjihukununa said, “I don’t watch Whatagwan anymore, so I wouldn’t know”. He, however, was quick to add that radio stations give fair airplay to all artists. In fact, upcoming artists are promoted on radio platforms, especially on Radio Energy, he added.  
“Upcoming artists really need to work extra-hard,” he said, adding that there should be no room for laziness, especially fulltime artists. Gazza commented that established artists receiving airplay is not because they have been long in the industry. 

“It’s not even that way, what the upcoming artists should concentrate on is their following and they should add value to their craft. When that happens, they will stand a chance to receive more airplay. If they are not contributing anything, why should people feel obliged to play their music? It’s not only about music. It’s how you carry yourself as a human being in public that adds value to one as a product,” he stated.

An authoritative source at the NBC explained that the product placements in music videos allowed to air in some instances are not necessarily for the promotion of alcohol but for sponsorship purposes. “The same way you would be watching soccer and certain alcohol brands will be sponsoring. That’s why Windhoek Draught is the sponsor of the Gazza A Milli Concert. It’s for sponsorship purposes, not promotion,” added the source.

Meanwhile, Ekongo explained that for this year, work eligible for the NAMAs nominations should have been released for commercial use between December 1, 2017, and November 30, 2018, to qualify for nomination in the 2019 edition. 

The Chief of Human Capital at MTC, Tim Ekandjo, clarified that the awards show is not a developmental platform, as they have a precise directive of recognising talent. The NAMAs this year has received more than 500 applications and only less than 30 of those will be winners. 
The awards are slated for September 7, 2019, at the Dome in Swakopmund.


Staff Reporter
2019-07-26 13:14:29 | 11 months ago

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