Record data bundle price hike riles artistes

By Bongani Ndlovu

Local artistes yesterday joined the rest of Zimbabwe in condemning the 2 500 percent data bundle price increase effected by mobile phone operators saying it was pushing them out of business.

Last week, the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) announced a raft of price increases in data bundles that came into effect yesterday with mobile operators immediately increasing their tariffs.

Before the latest hike, people could use $4 weekly for WhatsApp data bundles, but as from Tuesday the figure has shot up to $16 while those who were buying monthly data are now supposed to fork out $12 up from $3.

This has torched a public outcry with artists also speaking out against the new regime of tariffs.

With plummeting album sales and piracy, musicians had turned to the internet to upload their music in order to get people to buy it online.

To upload their music, musicians have also been affected as the daily data bundle facility of $1 that was 250MB has been reduced to only 10MB.

In light of the new tariffs, musicians can only upload two songs onto the internet instead of an album.

The cost to internet users of buying albums online has also risen from $5 to $10. During the past year, some musicians had to innovate as they would use WhatsApp to send songs and music videos to their fans after making them pay $1.

Now, according to most musicians and fans, they won’t be able to afford to upload or download the music.

Creative artists such as Raisedon Baya, who had abandoned using posters to advertise their art shows and turned to social media, have also been affected.

“Here I’m listening to the deafening noise about the data price hike and thinking to myself how will it affect the marketing of the arts. We’d abandoned posters and fliers and all we thought were traditional marketing methods and embraced technology. All our marketing was now being done via WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook.

“So again we ask. Where to now? Is it back to posters, fliers and newspaper adverts,” posted Baya on Facebook.

Vusa Blaqs, the man behind Bachura by Ex-Q and Ammara, has been using YouTube to market his music videos as an alternative.

“Due to the collapse and lack of proper structures in my country, some of us had turned to the internet to run/market/raise awareness for our businesses.

It’s how we survive. For me personally it’s extremely important to be always connected… AFFORDABLY,” said Vusa Blaqs. The Chronicle