By Problem Masau
The revelation by Long Cash Entertainment chief executive, Patrick Hundu that he was charged US$55 000 by Busy Signal to perform in Zimbabwe has opened a can of worms and hypocrisy associated with Jamaican artistes who charge more exorbitantly to perform in Africa than on any other continent.
Investigations by this paper showed that while Jamaican musicians purport to love Africa, often calling it motherland, their performing fees are higher than those charged in Europe and America.
"Top acts from Jamaica, like Beenie Man, Sanchez, Busy Signal Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, Capleton, Bounty Killer, Luciano, and Sizzla, can demand anywhere from $15 000 and $30 000," she said.
"And in addition, they still attach an unreasonable rider to their contracts, demanding all kinds of perks. In the United States, as quiet as it's kept, there is a three-tier price level for Jamaican artists.
However, while Jamaican artistes charge ridiculous figures to perform in Africa, the opposite is true with local artistes when they perform outside the country.
"Just like any product, you put a price tag on it. People will choose to buy it looking at the price and quality. If the product is over- priced people will choose not to buy," he said.
"Now we have a situation where the product is on the shelf and the customer is going to look for the product. In Africa, we go out and look for Jamaican artistes and they have the luxury to charge exorbitant performing fees."
However, fans have felt short-changed by the visiting artistes who usually perform dismally.
Most musicians in the country are flying to United Kingdom to stage shows for peanuts.
Musicians, mostly from the dancehall genre, are getting as little as $200 per show in England when they stage gigs.
Zimpraise Choir last year was hit by massive exodus after members were given only $40 for a European Tour.
"Most of the promoters are Zimbabweans living in the diaspora who are struggling to make ends meet. They want to make money out of Zimbabwean musicians who are excited by boarding an airplane," said a local show promoter.
England-based music promoter Arnold Tsungai said most of the artistes are upcoming, hence no need to pay them much.
"If they want more money, they should build their brand to that of Oliver Mtukudzi," said Tsungai.
A number of the artistes are being invited to perform abroad.
Artistes such as Freeman and Lady Squanda have delivered their products to the international audience.
There are more than 85 dancehall artistes in Zimbabwe and a number of them grew up in high-density suburbs like Chitungwiza, Kambuzuma, Glen Norah and Mbare.