In Summary

Today the music industry is dominated by a number of these small production studios.

Music is among the leading genres of creative arts in Tanzania. In Africa, Nigeria is the biggest consumer and producer of local content when it comes to their own music. The same trend is growing in Tanzania.

Although music production is still on the rise, over the years, Tanzania has managed to export its music, putting Tanzania on the world map.

In 1970s and 1980s the national broadcaster, Radio Tanzania Dar es salaam(RTD) provided services like recording for bands. The first music craze in Tanzania can be trace to the early 1930s, when Cuban Rumba was widespread. This period saw young Tanzanians organising themselves into dance bands like Dar es salaam Jazz Band, Morogoro and Tabora Jazz Bands.

After Independence, the socialist governance system led to establishment of state owned bands like the National Union of Tanganyika Workers (NUTA, currently known as Msondo Ngoma), the Dar es salaam District Council (DDC) Jazz Band and many more. During this period, musicians were paid salaries plus a percentage of the gate collection and worked for various government departments. Music was thus treated as being a part time thing and hobby.

Once or twice a year, bands came to RTD’s one-tack studio for a session of recording about five songs at a time, enabling both parties involved to benefit. The broadcaster accessed music cheaply whilst the bands earned free publicity on radio.  
The rise of piracy in the region, however, soured this relationship. For example, RTD recordings were often pirated and released in neighbouring countries like Kenya.

As a matter of fact almost all releases featuring Tanzanian bands those years had used tapes stolen or illegally copied from the RTD library without permission or any remuneration accruing to the bands. In most recent years, some internet based companies have begun distributing music and some illegally sell them in the streets. This, making “the Business of music” sour and unprofitable.

In 1990s, Tanzania saw the emergence of an independent music industry driven by producers such as Master Jay and P-funk operating from small studios. In order to expand the supply of music, Master J purchased a duplicating machine and began to participate in the distribution of music.
Today the music industry is dominated by a number of these small production studios.

In the 90s the major distribution channels were through FM studios and live performances.

But with growth in technology, there are presently different sources of distribution, which has seen exponential rise in music piracy.

In the 2000s, Tanzania saw a major turn in its music scene which evolved into a mix of all genres from Bolingo to Taarab, Bongo flava, Hip-hop and reggae artists producing all of their songs in Swahili language.

It is during this time that music stars like Lady Jaydee, Professor Jay, Ay, Mwana-FA, Khadija Kopa, King Kiki, Ali Kiba, Diamond, Barnaba, Vanessa Mdee and many more would spring.

Tanzania music is now celebrated worldwide. Although music business challenges still remain. Here are a few;

● Creation (Lack of proper formal music education to enable artists to acquire skills)

● Production (lack of advanced music product assets i.e producers, sound engineers, composers and studios)

Distribution (local broadcasters not honoring the copyright of composers due to lack of effective protection of the intellectual property rights for local artists)

Delivery Mechanism (Piracy being an international problem impacts directly on the performance of the music industry by undermining value generation for all those who invest in music)

● Audience reception (while festivals play a pivotal role in audience building for emerging artists, festivals in Tanzania are not sustainable.