Ikirezi Group failed to organise another edition of its Salax Awards back in 2016, and that was the end of it. Now, Alex Muyoboke and his colleagues are gearing up for a new initiative: the Music Awards Rwanda, which debuts in December this year.
Awards recognition, if well organised, offer a sense of who are the leading artists and what is happening in the sector. The absence of such tends to lead to chaos and so even good work loses meaning, and we miss the opportunity to tap into our own talents and the influence that comes with the power of music. But to build a strong brand in this arena requires to build a pragmatic mechanism of ranking – with competent individuals and institutions, from a diverse range of backgrounds, that are relevant to the growth of the sector – to establish trust and sustainability.
More than anything, however, Rwanda’s music sector lacks infrastructure and leadership. It has been invaded by marketers and executives who do not necessarily understand what it takes to grow a robust ecosystem; more or less like in other sectors.
To keep up with challenges of good organisation and resource mobilisation, and attracting investments and long-term support, remains unimaginably hard in this part of the world. Entrepreneurs are now required to ensure high-level transparency and creative thinking at the core of their businesses to challenge and engage key actors.
New initiatives like the Music Awards Rwanda are essential. They have a big role to play in pushing our music forward but they are not foundational in building a competitive industry. They offer an opportunity for experts and creatives establish a mainstream system that fills the existing vacuum in the fields of quality content, expert ranking and critiquing, publishing and distribution, promotion, consumption and monetisation, management, and branding.
These things are only possible if we – all together – look further than one, two, three, four years.
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