Lessons From The Highest-Paid Artists In Malawi
Written by: Samuel Keith Q. Lungu - a freelance creative and Media Consultant, and the co-Founder of Zonse Media.


If you are new to making music or want to advance your music career, you should know that it’s essential to not be a perfectionist. Obsessing over one song for a while will get you stuck and your creativity will suffer as you will not be able to give your best self to the music and any art you share with your friends. Quality improves with time. Just let whatever you have out on the song for now.


Art is subjective - do not try too much to please people. Enjoy everything you create, enjoy the process of making it, and as much as it would be painful that no one likes your music, at least you like it. If you just try and follow the latest trends, the chances are no one will like it and neither will you!


Growing a fan base is a game of time and consistency. If you drop a couple of songs in a particular year and go silent the next year, you'll fumble all the hype you were getting as new followers are hard to keep solid. It takes time to build a solid and loyal fan base. It's important to keep showing up; to have a consistent plan for a whole year on what to release and when.


Learn to set goals for yourself. Building consistency doesn’t just happen. It needs your time, creativity and your plans all in one motion and on one accord. Write down your plans for that year or month on what to achieve. You can set to compose 15 songs a week or write some rough marketing plans you can tell your team about on a song you want to release some time. Make sure you achieve 90% of them.


The music industry is all about relationships! From fellow musicians, producers, listeners, bloggers and media personalities. You don’t have to be buddies with them but you do need to be a part of a community that regulates music in some way. This will also help you meet people to challenge your creativity and to do better in areas you may be lacking.


Don’t let the noise distract you from being you and expressing yourself in music. Criticism is always going to be there, don’t let anything like that drag you. In fact, it’s great to have criticism as long as you know how to tell if it is misleading, destructive, or constructive. You have to pass through criticism to be great. Accept that it’s inevitable but don’t let that stop you from releasing content.


Artists tend to have the ‘jack of all trades’ attitude. It’s possible to do it all but can you actually do it better than the guy who specializes in doing that particular thing? It’s always great to have new minds in your art. Get yourself a manager who is resourceful, a publicist, a social media manager, a producer and so many other things you don’t have to do yourself. If you clutter your mind with a marketing plan, a social media strategy and a PR plan you will start losing your creative side trying to handle administrative work.


There is no one way to make it in the industry but if opportunity comes, make sure to be flexible and to be open to change from opportunity to opportunity. Have a plan that is dynamic enough to allow you to grow and change anytime.


A lot of artists miss this! As an artist, learn to release your art into the world. In a time when our attention span is the shortest, you have to learn to deliver to the masses. Distribution is key! Send your stuff to the radio DJ you met at that networking session or go to the stations directly. Utilize online streaming platforms like Spotify and local platforms like Zonse Live. Use the internet wisely. 

Good distribution is not spamming your WhatsApp contacts with broadcast messages. If you want such broadcasts create a mailing list. Make stunning artwork; marketing starts from there.


Very essential! After all the hard work you have put into your music – the nights writing catchy hooks, the successful marketing plan and distribution strategy – you need to get paid. COSOMA (Copyright Society of Malawi) is ready to register your music into their system, which recognizes every time your music is played on a local radio or TV station. You can register with them for a very small fee and get your rewards after your music has accumulated plays on stations.