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Poor CD, DVD sales drag Tanzania's film, music industries

By Reuters | Jul 7th 2015 | 2 min read
By Reuters | July 7th 2015

Tanzania's local film and music industries are facing sharp decline, poor sales of Audio Discs (CDs) and the video counterparts (DVD) are reportedly making producers and distributors to exit the entertainment business and seek alternative ventures.

Senior official of the country's Audio-Visual Works Distributors' Association said in Arusha on Sunday that there has been a decline of over 50 percent in both distribution and production, catapulting the industry into an early grave.

Tanzania Audio-Visual Works Distributors (TAVD) is a nationwide supplier of music and films produced in the country, with over 200 members under its wings. "Nobody is buying audio (CDs) or video (DVDs) anymore, the sales of physical media has dropped by more than 50 percent in past ten years. Tanzania used to experience a production of over 300 new films per year but now the number has dropped to around just 100 as of 2015," said Baraka Nyanda, National Chairman of the TAVD.

The National Secretary for TAVD Frank Martin said the music industry has taken a through beating from online channels like Youtube and social media platforms like Whatsapp through which songs and short video can be shared on peer-to-peer basis while a full length film can be uploaded and streamed, or downloaded by viewers free of charge."We have reached a point where artists prefer to distribute their music freely online while distributors are left with nothing to do," Martin said, adding that this is why many producers, distributors and retailers of Tanzanian music and films are calling it quits, choosing to embark onto other careers or alternative businesses.

The distributors under TAVD decided to go contrary to their Dar es Salaam counterparts TAFDA which threatened to boycott the stamp fixed onto local CD and DVDs by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) as means to curb piracy and collect revenues from indigenous artists."They demanded that the stickers don't help much because imported music and films are never stamped thus making them cheaper compared to local products however this is not the problem, falling quality and lackluster demand for Tanzanian outputs is what matters," said Martin.

A local film artist Simon Mwapangala said that distributors have dropped the production costs for a single film from 50 million Tanzanian shillings (25,000 U.S. dollars) to just 10 million Tanzanian, which means artists have to work on shoestring budget and this affects quality.

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