The business of performing arts
Posted Tuesday, February 5 2013 at 02:00
Earning good. Although Uganda’s music industry is still disorganised, a number of artists are earning some good money from the trade.
For some time, many considered performing arts as a job for the less or uneducated and unruly. Very few parents would be supportive of their children if they chose to take a career in performing arts.
However, that is now in the past. In the last one decade, there has been a significant change in people’s perception about performing arts. Many have accepted them as any other profitable career. It is no longer strange to see a parent on stage supporting his or her child as they perform.
What is unique about performing arts though is that while other careers are mainly dependent on knowledge attained from school, performing arts are largely based on one’s talent.
Today, many people involved in the trade live a worthy life. The likes of Alex Mukulu, Abbey Mukiibi, Moses Matovu, Jose Chameleone, Juliana Kanyomozi and Annet Nandujja among others are all popular and respectable people as a result of their talents.
However, media reports about performing artists rarely give a clear picture of what is happening. Reports are not clear on how the industry is performing. Some times the industry is reported as booming and at others it is portrayed as an unprofitable sector with those in it struggling to earn a living.
The two descriptions might hold some truth as Uganda’s performing industry (music, dance, drama, and comedy among others) continues to grow.
In an interview with Prosper, Mr Emmanuel Mulondo, the chairman of Uganda Talents Managers Association (UTAMA), said the country’s performing arts industry is both competitive and profitable.
“Artists get money in about three or four ways. This is through concerts - be it local or international, through signing endorsements and also from signing company promotion campaigns such as Moto Moto and Kabiritti.
“Ugandans have in the last few years become receptive and supportive of music. That is why they spend money on concerts and buying music, plays and drama on CDs,” Mr Mulondo says.
He adds: “However, the performing arts house is not in order. There is so much unprofessionalism and disorganisation. That is why very few artists if any get money from selling their music, plays or films. This means that if you are not big enough to be hired and paid, you can never make any money. ” Mr Mulondo notes.
“In developed industries mainly Europe, America and lately South Africa, even without shows or endorsements, artistes make money from selling their music, films show and rights to air. This does not happen in Uganda.”
Far still, Mr Isaac Katende, an entertainment critic on Dembe FM, a local radio station says that even if some people attain wealth from performing arts, the sector is still very disorganised.
“Entertainment is a profitable venture. People have made money from it. However, it is bad to continue in this disorganisation. Overtime, people will lose interest due to the disorganisation and unprofessionalism among artists,” Mr Katende says.
He adds: “The future is good because more talent is coming on board day in day out. However we need to work on professionalising the industry.”
However, Mr James Wasula, the general secretary Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) believes that the solution to this disorganization is implementing better legislations such as the copy right law.
During the Uganda Music Industry dialogue last year, Mr Wasula said: “It is wrong for us to say that Uganda is not ready for the copyright law. For the industry to grow, we must implement good legislation.