Monday, April 19, 2021

BOMU accuses night club owners of exploiting artists

The Botswana Music Union (BOMU) has expressed concern about night clubs that are said to be exploiting music show organizers who are struggling with the acute shortage of performance halls in the country.

After charging them rental fees, the club owners take a share from the money that organizers make from gate takings.

The president of BOMU, Alfred Mosimanegape, said many owners of privately-owned clubs are likely to follow the trend because the music industry is now plagued with a shortage of community halls for hosting shows.

“Show organizers are competing for the halls with churches, fitness clubs and village courts, which transfer their proceedings to these places. Organizers are, therefore, left with clubs as the only option,” he said.

It has emerged that under these circumstances, the clubs have found an opportunity to exploit the artists by double charging them. With local show organizers calling for BOMU to stop clubs from claiming a share of money from gate takings, the BOMU president said they intend to approach the clubs owning performance halls to strike a better deal.

Mosimanegape emphasized that the current deal is unfair and wrong because it leaves organizers with little amount to share with performing artists, something which poses a serious threat to the music industry.

The artist said with the shows pulling in crowds that increase sales of alcohol and other products for the club, organizers should be left with the lump sum of money from gate takings.

Commenting on the issue, the director of Bull and Bush club, Mark Flanagan, admitted that after the show they get 20-30 percent of money the organizers make from gate takings.

“This is a fair deal because we use the money to repair club equipment damaged by the artists’ crowd,” argued Flanagan. “Organizers should bear the costs of damage caused by people who come to their shows.”

He said the amount depends on the crowd that the show pulled. “With large crowd more of our property is left damaged,” he said.

Meanwhile, Flanagan said, with some show organizers who have been complaining, the issue is up for debate and they are ready to meet the union to strike a deal satisfying them as their customers.

He further said part of the money is also used on security, lighting and improving the sound system for the benefit of organizers themselves. The director said organizers complain about their share only when their shows did not attract expected crowds. He said show organizers fail to make an amount they expected because many of them make shows at the same time of month end.

“The new trend of inviting big names, especially from South Africa, is also costing the organizers. The big names claim large shares, after organizers pay them high transport and hotel costs,” he said.

Backed by the new constitution, BOMU intends to tour stakeholders dealing with music artists to review their working relationship.

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