Veteran disc jockey, Sidney ‘DJ Sid’ Baitsile, penned a lengthy open letter to local artists advising them to wise up and stand up against low payments they receive compared to their international counterparts.
DJ Sid has been advocating for artists for quite some time on different platforms. He has also taken to social networks where he is always telling artists to stand their ground and demand equal payment as that of international artists.
In his letter the radio personality vividly advises local musicians to demand equal treatment as international acts who come to perform in the country. International acts tend to receive more money for live show performances.
“Organise yourselves into one unit, perhaps even signing to one booking agent who will sort event promoters by demanding fair and good pay for whoever is booked,” he said. He said that local artists are being used as pawns to get permits for foreign entertainers and fulfil the show requirements from Department of Youth and Culture, which states that a show with international acts should also have local ones.
“The only thing that can be done MUST be done by artists themselves. They must put their foot down and NOT accept peanuts. Sponsors/Promoters will not be able to get permits for foreign acts if Botswana artists are not on the same lineup. This is the power that Botswana artists have, but do not know,” he said.
He further said artists should stop negotiating performance fees with promoters, but they should engage agents that would be strict with promoters. He further said local artists are not given full attention such as accommodation, transport allowance and refreshments like their foreign counterparts.
“Form a lobby group to approach the Department of Youth and Culture to stipulate how many foreign artists would be allowed per show and demand all events that brand Botswana to use a local act lineup,” he said.
Local musicians have also voiced out their frustrations about the ill treatment by promoters, stating that they tend to cater more for international acts.
Some local musicians are paid as much as P5,000 while international acts get between P70,000 and P150,000.
Rapper Apollo D also agrees with DJ Sid. He said there should be laws that regulate local musicians and their content.
He also put the blame on media channels such as radio and TV, saying they do not promote local artists as much as they promote international artists.
Artist manager and promoter, Selby Muir, explained the situation saying that international acts are paid according to the same performance fees they charge when they are performing in their own countries.
He, however, noted that lack of support from the general public is the one that leads to local acts getting little performance fees, “they prefer to pay large sums of money in a show that has an international act and not attend an all local lineup show.”