Soccer can learn from music
Posted Saturday, March 23 2013 at 02:00
Ugandan football needs to undergo a revolution to return to the dizzy heights of the 70s and 80s
I don’t always agree with the way local musicians attract media attention. For instance it isn’t funny at all that Bobbi Wine has a dog called Ragga Dee or that he glorifies the abuse of illicit substances. Yet despite all of this, he is paid to educate people about the dangers of not using mosquito nets or poor hygiene.
And the only thing that rivals Chameleon’s ability to churn out monster hits is the frequency with which he draws trouble to himself. Yet ‘Valu Valu’ rouses crowds in Cape towns’ night-clubs and Ugandan soft drink companies love him. Bottom line, these two and many others command a market and this is not lost on those aiming to reach this market.
The thing is that local music for all its shortcomings has marketed hard and well. You surely didn’t know ‘Young Mullo’ this time last year but he now commands a seven-figure appearance fee.
We really should be asking ourselves how today any novice nightclub deejay is able to populate a dance floor with Ugandan music only, yet it isn’t long ago that we were nodding our heads to Western, South African and Congolese hits. How?
I can’t claim to have done scientific research but as a fan and avid listener my observations have been that, the local music industry tuned in and discovered that Uganda’s love for Congolese and Jamaican dance hall music was premised on a good pulsating beat. Now whether unintentionally or by design musicians started fusing local languages into the Soukous and dance-hall beats that we so love and the rest is history.
Like music, local football is at best a semi-professional industry. And like music it faces stiff competition from external influences. What magic has made millionaires of young musicians that football can tap into? What lessons can football draw from this winning formula in a similar environment?
The story of the music industry is not so much its initial success but its ability to sustain it over the last two or so decades. With each album launch, each video shoot, each meaningless bar brawl and each outrageous pair of orange shoes musicians continue to strive to stay on top of our minds. The Music industry didn’t rest on its laurels, they fight for the markets’ attention relentlessly and this is a lesson football should carry away.
Instead the only market activation that football has done in the past decade is engage in an ugly public brawl for control. This has limited to no appeal in the market and especially not to a young one such as ours. There is no ‘swag’ at all in the name-calling and underhand methods employed in the battle to govern football in this land. If you want market appeal look at what basketball is doing.
Musicians have decided to engage their market. They have taken action and never blame external influences. The end result has been a pie large enough to be shared by talents such as Maurice Kirya and perennial clowns such as Ragga Dee. Perhaps the next time local football complains about European football they should tell us what is being done to draw us back in the same we were weaned off Congolese music by Chameleon’s ‘Mama Mia’.