This apparently happened because Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) increased taxes on shows. Additionally, artists also want more money when performing.
Promoters tried to make a list of standard payments for artistes a few weeks ago. However, they were met with resistance from all corners.
As a way of showing URA and artists that promoters can be without them, Abitex has decided to tell other promoters to just stop organize shows.
Here is the full letter;
RE: URGENCY IN FINDING OTHER RELIABLE SOURCES OF INCOME.
Fellow promoters, I’m Abbey Musinguzi of Abtex promotions. I write this letter with the goal of sharing with you a very important issue. And I ask that you share this messages with all other music promoters. You have always seen me and admired me because of the events I have organized. And the fame I have gotten over 24 years of being the biggest music promoter in Uganda. But the sad truth is that it hasn’t been an easy road. This is because as soon as that money is made, it is spent and exhausted on artists as well as venue owners , PA systems, publicity and now police, which was free before is now costly to get permission. And now URA is here as well seeking 18% from gate collection.
It is time for us now as music promoters to find other businesses other than being a promoter if you don’t have any other businesses. Those of you who still think this is a secure business and you want to invest in it you will reap losses. Unless you just want to be known and famous, there is no other benefit depending on the current situation. Unless artists, venue owners, PA system providers, police and URA cut their cost by 50%. If not, we have stopped organizing events for the crucial reasons I will share with you at Calendar hotel on 23rd Jan. The only way we can resume business is when the parties referred to above drop their prices by 50%.
We would like for artists to put themselves in our shoes and organize an event for themselves. Pay themselves then maybe they can see the difficulty we pass through instead of disrespecting us and calling us demoters.
The only time this business was profitable was fifteen years ago when a promoter would create an event and have only two musicians such as Paul Kafeero, Lord Fred Sebatta who would fill a stadium at 5000 and the expense would be only 25million including payment of artists and everything else, getting an audience of 10,000 hence making 50million leaving a promoter with sizable profits of 25 million.
Secondly artists were respectful and would stand by a promoter at his event and not double deal. Musicians today perform at event now and perform at another 2km metres away. People would travel to Kampala to see a show because you were the only one Organizing it that day with those musicians. But today, there has been loss of value and degradation of the industry. Artists perform in bars and parties for free. Showcase themselves in clubs therefore there is no hype as there used to be with musicians such as Paul Kafeero and Lord Fred Sebata.
Today we have musicians who ask for exorbitant prices they are not worth. This is yet the prices for venues are exorbitant as well leaving a music promoter with losses.
I’ll give you an example, Balaam’s festive season events 25th ,26th, 31st at Sheraton and Botanical Gardens on 1st. KT events organized Sheebah’s concert at Serena and Winnie Nwagi’s concert at Cricket Oval, Balunya Events with B2C at freedom city, David Lutalo at Africana, Fik Fameika at Africana, Enkuuka at the Palace. Bajjo at Museum on Christmas and 1st as well as Buloba Forest Park, and Eddy Kenzo in Mukono. Mukaaya Events who organized on Christmas, 26th, 31st,1st and Spice Diana’s launch at Lugogo Cricket Oval to mention but a few.
I as well organized an event at Freedom city and Aero Beach on the 31st and 1st but we did not make any profits aside from the tragic news that we lost some of our fans. Which is the only reason it was a famous show but not for the profits I made. It was only KT Events who made profits at Winnie Nwagi’s concert but these profits he made at the main show in Kampala at the cricket oval were spent at the extra events because the turn up was low.
Basing on the evidence above my best advice is, as music promoters we should stop organizing events immediately if we want to stay afloat financially.
I will be an example by bringing musicians from abroad because of the hype and scarcity of appearances they command. Forcing fans to come from wherever to see them, knowing they won’t see them again in a while. My focus will be Nigeria and Tanzania.
With this communication, I conclude by wishing you well in your endeavors and inviting you to our meeting at Calendar Hotel on 23rd January.
Abbey Musinguzi (Abitex)
President National Promoters Association,”
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