7 Simple Ways You Can Make Money Through Music As A Zambian Artist

Can I really make money in Zambia as an upcoming artist?

Yes you can. Though making money in any type of business requires hard-work, strategy and endurance. There are a lot of successful Zambian artists that are already living the life of their dreams and you could become one of them if only you stay focused and realize what is at stake.

Having done a thorough research, our team came up with seven methods which guarantees any artist (whether upcoming or already settled) to start making money out of their effort and talent. Below we have outlined a step by step guide to help you maximize your chances for success.

Getting Ready

Before you can even think about how much you can earn out of your music, it’s very important that you put certain things in order. It’s like driving a car, before you can even start driving, you have to make sure the car has fuel and is fit to run. Basically there are a lot of things you have to put in place. We recently shared an article on how you can make it as an upcoming artist in Zambia in the year 2022, but I want to focus on just TWO IMPORTANT THINGS:

Yo Maps is popular for making hit songs

1. Record A Hit Song

The truth of the matter is this; NOBODY buys a bad product. The same applies to Music. If you don’t take your time to put in effort and enough resources to create, record and master a professional sounding song, then nobody will listen to your song and eventually it won’t make you any money.

 A good example is Chanda Na Kay. In 2020 the duo broke the internet with their bangers, even though the clubs and gigs where closed by then (due to Covid-19) everyone knew the two will make huge chunks of money as soon as it was open to host functions. And they sure did fill up Woodlands Stadium on their first gig.

Towela Kaira

2. Market Or Promote Your Music

Despite having great music, in this era of Influencers & Promoters it’s very difficult to get your music heard and appreciated by the masses if you don’t market it strategically. You will notice that even mediocre music will have an advantage over your music because of bad marketing.

Make sure you come up with a plan on how you will widely inform as many fans as possible about your music and how you will steal their attention way before your release date.

Use Social Media to boost your fan base, reach out to music promoters, bloggers, influencers and anybody with a huge following so that they help you get recognized. If you can manage, use paid advertisement to reach even a wider range of fans. You won’t be able to make money if you don’t invest in it first.

Earn The Money You Deserve!

So, once you put yourself together and have become ready to take your music career more seriously, you can go through the steps below on some proven ways other artists are using to make money all just out of the music that they create.

Chef 187's Bon Appetit Album was released on Mvesesani

01. Sell Your Music Via Mvesesani

It’s no brainer, Mvesesani.com is the biggest online music store in Zambia, and it has evolved, shaping the future of Zambian Music over the years. A lot of bigger artists are sharing their releases through the platform, and from the stats that’s are constantly being shared, it seems the numbers are pretty good. The good news is, putting your music on Mvesesani is free as long as you complete their Agreement Form.

Muisc streaming has taken over the face of music in the past years

02. Use Streaming Platforms To Earn A Commission

The most obvious way to have your music copyrighted, and shared worldwide is through streaming services. The advantage that comes with sharing your music through streaming services is that you can earn commissions for each number of streams that your track gets. While you really need to have your song played thousands of times to have at-least something sent to your bank account, using strategic marketing can help you achieve this with effort.

Boomplay is said to have the best commission rates per thousand streams because it’s relatively new, but other well established platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music & Deezer have built a good reputation already. The best way to earn even more is by making sure you share your music through all these popular platforms.

F-Jay wearing his brand merch "Saka"

03. Build A large Social Media Following

You might be wondering, how can just a large Social Media Platform help me earn money? Well the answer is not straight forward, but it’s easy. Once you develop yourself into a major brand over Social Media there are few ways you can use to earn decent cash. The first and most popular way is through Advertisement. While sharing some videos on your Social Media Platforms e.g. Facebook; the platform will show some adverts in between your videos and pay you a small commission. As long as you have a lot of views on each video you post, then there will be decent cash to be made. Another way is to reach out directly to local businesses, entrepreneurs and other brands. You can reach an agreement where you post their business on your timeline for a fee. Also you can directly sell products related to your brand such as Clothes, bangles, chains, sneakers (F-Jay’sSaka” merchandise is a good example for this type of business).

Macky II recently received a Gold plaque for reaching 1 Million Youtube Subscribers

04. Use YouTube (Adsense)

As an artist, it’s very important to have a personal YouTube channel where you will be sharing your latest music videos, latest releases as well as audio (these days). While it does make video sharing easy, it’s also a great source of income for artists and creators in general. While it’s not yet supported in Zambia, you can easily workaround using a VPN to set up a monetization channel so that Google will be able to show ads in between your videos and pay you commissions. You can also manually place paid for ads at the beginning or at the end of your music videos. YouTube will reward you handsomely for reaching a specific number of subscribers like 100K or 1 Million.

Cleo Ice Queen recently signed to DefJam Recordings Africa

05. Get Signed By A Record Label

Another way to make money as an artist is to get signed by a well-established Record Label. Depending on the contract, some Record Labels will pay artists a monthly allowance. Others will make sure to put everything in place in order to arrange ways for you to earn money as quickly as possible (as this is the only way Record Labels make money too). Cleo Ice Queen recently got signed under DefJam Recordings Africa and immediately earned a Johnnie Walker endorsement.

T-Sean performing at a gig

06. Start Making Gigs

All the above methods described above will help you make decent cash, but nothing compared to making your own gigs. Once you establish yourself as an artist and start to earn recognition from fans, quickly allow your team to start organizing local functions and shows. For a start reach out to club owners and negotiate how you can increase their sales if they hosted you for a gig. Remember its business, so you have to make sure you convince these clubs that you will add value to their clubs with your music. As a startup, you may not be equipped with the required sound systems to host your own shows, but if you put heads together with other startup artists it could be easier to figure out the best ways and best spots to start performing your own gigs. Other artists volunteer to perform as curtain raisers for bigger and established artists, so that they can earn recognition from fans.

SlapDee is the brand ambassador for 1XBet

07. Look Out For Advertisers & Endorsements

The most difficult yet most paying way of making money out of your music is through endorsements. Most big companies require music for their advertisement and road shows especially when they are launching a new product or service. For them to use a specific song, they will have to reach an agreement with the artist to either perform the song at shows or just use it. And they pay very well. Recently SlapDee disclosed that as an upcoming artist; the first big chunk of money he made out of his music was an endorsement from MTN Zambia.

The most popular form of endorsement and most paying is to become a brand ambassador for a specific company, and you will be paid well to appear in adverts, billboards or physically represent a company to customers in order to sell their products.

This type of endorsement requires popularity and a strong fan base. But creating great music, self-branding and a huge Social Media fan base could spearhead this process and land you a bigger opportunity.


Mampi enjoying a vacation in Malawi

The ways described above may not all work for you, that’s why it is always wise to go with a method that you are comfortable with. Trying to do something that does not seem natural to you may end up frustrating you even more, making you to lose focus. The best way to go around this is to sit down with some people you trust, because they know you better and get their advice on the best ways for you.

And once you start to make money as an artist, it is always important to re-invest in other businesses. Music is dynamic, and will change eventually. This means you won’t be as popular as before, hence you will not be able to earn from your music. But if you had invested your money into another business, you won’t have to struggle living a decent life even when your music career is over.

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