How Safaricom Has Supported The Kenyan Music Industry This Year

Creatives symbolize the voice of a generation; with stories told by writers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers and other artists. Creatives influence culture, trends and attitudes on various aspects of life. Companies in constant public light need to harness the power of creatives and the creative industry to not only increase market share but to also establish relationships with their publics thus creating mutual benefit.

Safaricom has been at the forefront of supporting creatives and the creative industry through various campaigns, sponsorships and product launches. These efforts have allowed the telecommunications giant the opportunity to be more involved in community-related activities and establish positive relationships with their audiences.

In February, Safaricom launched SONGA, a music streaming application that allows consumers to access local and international music from any genre at the touch of a button with an affordable subscription rate. The app also allows artists to sell their music to their audiences, a product first for the Kenyan music industry. SONGA also hosted Tanzanian musical sensation, Diamond Platnumz in mid-March for his album launch ‘a boy from Tandale’ held at the Kenya National Theatre.

This year alone, BLAZE, one of Safaricom’s largest products for the youth hosted three summits in Mombasa, Kisumu and Thika where the youth (under the age of 26) were offered mentorship by a wide array of artists, techies and entrepreneurs. The summits focused on transforming Kenyan youth through training programs designed by partners to build entrepreneurial skills.

In line with this, BLAZE partnered with the Safaricom Foundation and Generation Kenya to introduce their youth empowerment programme – Wezesha – to offer skills training and entry-level job placement opportunities to young Kenyans in the financial services, retail, hospitality, customer services and manufacturing sectors. This was done with the aim of connecting the youth to employers and helping to resolve Kenya’s unemployment challenge.

The Blaze summits featured a wide array of creatives including Caleb Karuga of Wendy Farms, Bryan Wanyama of Matwana Matatu Culture and Wycliffe Waweru of Play Guru Ltd – a bicycle assembly line, video director, J Blessing, serial entrepreneur Erick Kinoti, singer-songwriter Fena Gitu, comedian MCA Tricky, music producers and filmmakers Enos Olik and Tosh Gitonga, on-screen stars Abel Mutua and Catherine Kamau among others.

Safaricom also played a major role in providing quality music experiences for fans all over the country with Twaweza Live, which allowed local artists a platform to perform in concerts all over the country and the popular Safaricom Jazz Festival.

Having kicked off in February, the Safaricom Jazz Festival featured BWB (Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown) in February supported by Kenyan bands The Limericks, Mambo Tribe and Ghetto Classics.  In May Manu Dibango and 12 Kenyan bands performed at the International Jazz Day Concert. In October Grammy-winner Diane Reeves performed in Nairobi and Naivasha backed by Kato Change and AdHoc Band. Proceeds from all ticket sales will be donated to the Ghetto Classics music programme, which has been the Safaricom Jazz beneficiary since 2014 and has so far received an estimated KES 60 million, funds that have benefitted 1,400 children from Nairobi and Mombasa. Proceeds from the 2018/2019 Edition will see the Ghetto Classics Schools program extend to Kisumu. Meet Some of The Upcoming Young Musicians At Ghetto Classics.

Towards the end of the year, Safaricom partnered with two Kenyan acts for their individual album launches: Redsan’s ‘Baddest’ in September and King Kaka’s ‘Eastlando Royalty’ in November, both of which were huge successes.

It is evident from these efforts that Safaricom continues to have a huge impact in the creative industry and an influence that will traverse several generations.

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