Kenyan Music Industry

My Issues With The Kenyan Music Industry – Just A Rant

It’s no secret that I’m a Kenyan and it is definitely no secret that I’m not a huge fan of the music. The local music industry seems to always take one good step forward but two steps back. This is especially true with the current situation. Yes, there are some positives to this tale but the Kenyan music industry has some big issues to iron out and these are just some which bother me.

Where Are The Albums?

For real, where are they? I spend so much time on Apple Music and Spotify listening to many albums but I rarely get to listen to Kenyan albums. There are a few exceptions like those of Kagwe Mungai, MDQ, King Kaka, Sauti Sol, and Khaligraph Jones but that’s barely a fraction of the number of artists we currently have in Kenya.

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Many artists would rather release singles with their accompanying music videos rather than making an album. To be fair, making and releasing an album is quite expensive. A lot of money will be spent on promoting the new album so as to generate sales. Think back to when Billie Eilish released her new album; she was everywhere in the media. That’s the promotion right there.

Kenya can adopt such an approach for the album promotions but the consumers here aren’t willing to make purchases like in the US. As a matter of fact, YouTube streams and live performances seem to be the bread and butter of many local artists. The artists, at this point, sound justified but I just don’t like how repetitive their songs can get. Repetition, btw, affects quality.

Take Sailors for example. I think they have released three music videos or so. What’s the biggest take away from the three singles? They all sound the same. That’s where an album comes in. I, as a consumer, want diversity from an artist. I could care less if all the tracks you’ll make are club hits; just make sure they have a different vibe to it. Besides, I’m sure releasing a music video for every song an artist makes isn’t a better option than making an album. I know that for sure.

The Quality Could Be Better

Don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about how the latest wave of Gengetone is trash (because it simply is and that’s on that). I’ll focus my attention on what this means for the future of the local industry. Here are the new rules for making a hit song in Kenya right now:

  1. Some random ladies twerking in the music video. Why are they there? Who knows? You just find them there.
  2. The title of the track has to be a sheng’ word you’ve never heard of before. Pekejeng, Wamlambez, Aluta. You name it.
  3. The artists have the dumbest names ever (Before a big guy comes and gives them a better name). *Cough* Ethic *Cough* Sailors *Cough*
  4. One of the artists says one catchphrase that will be used repetitively in memes. Washa kindukulu amirite?

There is only one problem, this is just entertainment. Not music. If you call this music, you better put on this mask:

Sure, I am entertained by most of these songs for how ridiculous they can get but I can never consider it as something you would add to a playlist. My only concern with this current trend is how other artists are jumping on the bandwagon. Like I can’t believe King Kaka released Kula Vako. What about Willy Paul with Lamba Nyonyo? Where’s the quality? Are these people trying? But, I don’t blame them for trying to stay relevant. There is only one demographic to blame for this…

Damn you people

Here’s what I don’t get about Kenyans as consumers (me included). We initially liked our own music with the likes of Nonini and Jua Cali before P Square came with that song Do Me which marked the beginning of the Nigerian takeover. Like, the local scene was dead and the only genre holding a torch of its own was the gospel industry (a rant for another day). Apparently, Kenyans are now “fed up with Nigerian music” and are now supporting local content. So, this is all we got at the moment.

I know there are great artists who have been signed by the Sol Generation label and we have Karun and Nikita Kering but they aren’t getting as much hype as these Gengetone guys. Safe to say, Gengetone is the flagship of Kenya’s secular music right now. All thanks to you guys. Would you kindly wear this mask…

Say what you want but you know damn well I’m right. I’m not saying that these songs shouldn’t exist but you’re giving these artists way too much praise for songs you can make if you wanted to. It’s not hard given the fact I’ve already given you the tips.

Those are my frustrations with the Kenyan Music Industry. If you feel like I’ve triggered your feelings, please scroll down to the comments section and hurl your insults there. That means you just can’t accept the fact that you’re a clown right? 😂😂 It’s not that serious; these are my opinions and I would be glad to hear your side of the story.

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Elvis Mwangi

Student of life, Blogger, Audiophile. Lol.