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Best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry and as artiste go on a frenzy releasing albums, Manuel Ntoyai enlightens on the most basic things overlooked

Recently, rapper Khaligraph Jones told Spice his forthcoming album, Testimony 1990, will be different from others released by other artistes. According to the Mazishi hit maker, the album will feature new songs that his fans have not heard, and he has been pushing the release dates since January before settling on June 12.

This is not the first album to drop this year, as we have seen the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Octopizzo, MDQ, Dela, among other acts, drop theirs. This we must applaud for the work ethic. However, the big question has always been, after releasing an album, what comes next?

This is a question that lingers in every artiste’s mind. However, the work starts not just after releasing the album, but before everything is produced.

“Psyching up your fans to be ready for the new product is not only vital, but will determine the energy with which they receive your music as an artiste,” says publicist Agnes Nonsizi of Terazo New Media. According to her, a lot of artistes have been making the mistake of waiting until the album is ready for release before they come up with a marketing plan. “One should engage them even while recording.

Things like selfies, short clips by the artistes and even creating artworks for the album are but some of the tricks from publicists’ bag and they create an excitement about the upcoming project,” she adds.

Listening/release party Until recently, Kenyan labels were yet to catch up with the term and meaning of a listening party. This special event is held with lot’s of pomp with a number of special guests from within the industry in a different setting from the intended album launch.

“While at it, an artiste should create enough buzz, promoting himself/herself and the album. This can be done by creating and promoting an event on social media platforms, posters and banners and sending emails to your fan base (mail list) and the media,” advices Nonsizi.

Location and date Many acts were surprised when WCB honcho Diamond chose Nairobi as his preferred location for launching his album. Having seen the fanatic following he commands in the region which boasts over 200 million Kiswahili speakers, Diamond knows that Nairobi is the hub of everything especially when it comes to showbiz.

However, his explanation was that he was used to doing his things in TZ, but Kenya provided the best alternative. Consideration of the timings and weather should be on your check list. When it comes to release dates, one might be advised to do it on a Friday since it is the start of a weekend and folks can afford to have an extended good time as you entertain them.

Locally, we have to applaud Dela’s choice of Monday as the day for her release album, Public Demand. Guys, it was May 1st the next day and few people were going to work during the holiday. Her gamble paid off as the free entry event saw hundreds of party seekers throng the Alchemist to have a good time.

When rapper Johnny Vigeti released his self titled album, he went on a countrywide tour, giving out his CDs to music fans. However, others might opt to work with a distribution company that will ensure all the intended digital retailers have your music.

Already, Octopizzo has lined up his recent album, Next Year, which is available on iTunes. At the moment, Safaricom’s Songa music has its sails full of wind and the momentum is not about to stop anytime soon. Despite the shift into the digital sphere from analogue, having physical copies goes a long way in ensuring that every fan has an option of either downloading, streaming or having a physical CD they can jam to in their cars and homes.

When you intend to release new music, you might have to rethink your image as a brand. From your social media accounts to your profile and style of music, one may opt to change a few things here and there, maybe to suit in the current market better.

People will always be excited to see something different from what they are used to and this goes a long way in ensuring that you have their attention for a much longer period. However, one needs to take this with a pinch of salt as revamping does not work for all artistes.

After a careful market research with your team, you might be advised to change or not a number of things that will either affect positively or negatively all the work done. Copyrighting your work In Kenya, cases of upcoming artistes complaining about their songs being stolen by established acts are never ending.

To avoid the drama, it is important to copyright your work and in case one has sampled another artiste’s work, then it is advisable to clear with the other party to make your work legit.

Again, wars on royalties have affected artistes’ work, with many not signing a split sheet with the producers and everyone involved. Registering with the right publishing company ensures that you can exploit all the revenue generating platforms. In Kenya, that work is done by Kenya Copyrights Board (KECOBO).

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