Can Face TV Change the Face of Uganda’s Music? [analysis]

The digital television competition for Ugandan market has taken a new twist.

Following MultiChoice’s closure of Channel O, the music television where Ugandan music videos got chance to be played, StarTimes has responded by opening up a new channel dedicated to playing purely Ugandan music videos.

Face TV was officially launched last Thursday by the Chinese pay TV in collaboration with The Face Studio, a photo studio based in Bugolobi. With a tagline “Ugandan music all time every day,” the station promises to play unlimited volumes of local music without aerts or presenters.

The launch held at the plush Kampala Serena hotel poolside was a cocktail affair – with performances from Bobi Wine, Cindy, Khalifa AgaNaga and Natty Nathan.

The event attracted artistes such as Da Mith, Cindy, Natty Nathan, Winnie Nwangi and Bobi Wine. Some of the artistes that The Observer spoke to believe that the TV would fill the space left by local TVs and radio stations shunning local music in favour of foreign music.

“We are not going to have complaints of our music not getting airplay anymore. At least we have a TV that cares about our interests,” said Da Mith.

With 24 hours dedicated to local music, Face TV will be in position to play at least 480 videos in a single day. There are some concerns, especially among music enthusiasts, whether the station can survive in a country with a handful of videos released every year.

Such fears can’t be dismissed – since even at the launch party, which lasted over four hours, some videos were repeated more than once – a clear indication of little content available.

Others, however, think that the idea of just playing music could be suicidal since human beings by their nature need a breather.

“This TV may need to think beyond looping music videos. May be they should think of doing interviews, broadcasting live shows – because world over, music TVs have moved on from playing videos 247,” argued one of the guests.

This is because people have more than an avenue to watch music videos. With fast growing online technology, music videos can now be found on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. This coupled with piracy where you can get a compilation of more than 20 music videos at Shs 1000, the journey should tougher for Face TV.

A TV presenter, who preferred anonymity, says Face TV has gotten it wrong.

“You can’t say we are not playing enough local videos when there are many who think that TV has way too many music shows,” he said.

He added that what local artistes want is a local TV that will take their music beyond Ugandan borders. Aldrine Nsubuga, StarTimes marketing director, says: “This idea was well-thought-out before we executed it. We have artistes who struggle to have their music played on other channels. With us, they will not have to worry about that.”

Source : The Observer

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