Music piracy Propelled some local artists to international stardom
Although music piracy has denied local and international artists their bread baskets for the past decades, VIBE has discovered that it has also propelled some artists to international stardom in countries that they were unknown.
Local artists who have benefitted immensely from music piracy include Thembeni Ramosetlheng popularly known as Ramuzara, Naledi Kaisara best known as Slizer and Shumba Ratshega. Ramuzara confessed to VIBE in a recent interview that although piracy has denied him cash locally, it has gone a long way to market him in countries he has never marketed his products at including Zambia, Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
“At first I was very worried about piracy and I used to fight it nail and tooth along the streets to safe guard my bread basket until I realised the behind the scenes importance it plays on various artists internationally. I have so far received calls from as far as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi from people and promoters who have never seen me except through pirated works I have done over the past years,” he said.
He further said that although music piracy is abominable and denies them their hard earned cash, it also helps in marketing them where they are not able to penetrate the market locally and internationally.
Slizer who penetrated Zimbabwean market through piracy did not hide her dislike for piracy as she explained that the illegal sales of music products have its merits and demerits on different artists. She confessed that she became popular in Zimbabwe through music piracy and thereafter organised musical shows in cities including Bulawayo, Harare, Bindura and Gweru where she said she is still in high demand.
“When I was still signed under Dargie Digital Studios in 2011, my studio boss Robert Dargie received calls and emails from promoters and fans in Zimbabwe that my music was very popular in their country. Without wasting any time, a team was dispatched to Zimbabwe to establish the truthfulness of the issue and the rest they say was history.
We then organised shows in various cities and towns of Zimbabwe and all the shows were successful and until this day, I have a very large following in Zimbabwe thanks to piracy,” she said.
Another local artist who was propelled to international stardom through piracy is Shumba Ratshega whose song Makhirikhiri is popular in Tanzania but has permeated the music market through piracy.
The Bobonong born hit maker admitted to VIBE in an interview that music piracy has helped him perform in countries including Tanzania where he is still renowned.
“I never marketed my music in East Africa and I was surprised to be invited for shows there only to learn that they got to know my music through piracy. Although piracy has denied us a chance to make money it has made it possible for a good number of us to be known internationally,” he said.