CENTRE STAGE: Crystal Ball 2020

A crystal ball depiction. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The crystal predicts Kenyan music going global in 2020
  • New industry players will come up.
  • Economic crunch will be felt even more on the entertainment scene this year.
  • Any breakthrough acts will have to use comedy in their packaging.

Last year, our showbiz crystal ball predicted the dominance of MDQ, Tetu Shani and Khaligraph Jones. Boniface Nyaga is back again with predictions for the year 2020.

2020 is here, packed with all its promises. And as always, our showbiz crystal ball has predictions. Last year, it was spot on predicting memes and digital marketing as the driving force in music, and foretelling the rise of Kenyan ‘ratchet’ songs.

As we enter a new decade, our crystal ball predicts major shifts and realignments in the industry similar to what we saw in the 2000 but at a much larger scale. It doesn’t even take a juju man to figure out that in 2020, the 1990 kids will be 30 and those born in 2000 will be 20. It means a whole new generation of consumers is joining the workforce and voting with their paycheque. Plus, the digital revolution has now taken root so, expect loads of surprises in 2020.

Going regional

This year, our crystal ball predicts that top Kenyan acts will finally go regional. Although our industry is a major cash cow for the entire region, very few of our acts venture out. It’s no secret that our music and showbiz infrastructure is second only to South Africa and, in the good old days of Genge and Kapuka, we ruled Africa. To date, Kenyan old school hits rule the airwaves in capital cities across Africa but the new school superstars are yet to make the same impact.

It takes consistent effort by management to break a new market, the stars also have to humble themselves and realise that, though they are big at home, they have to start from scratch in the region. Our crystal ball predicts that the industry will get its act together and begin invading Africa. Some of the top acts we predict will penetrate regional markets include Khaligraph Jones, Willy Paul and the Sol Generation fraternity.

#PlayKe

Kenyans are a patient lot but I think they have finally had enough disappointments from foreign acts to last them a life time. From Joeboy’s 15-minute performance, to M'bilia Bel’s disappointment at Koroga, it’s safe to say ‘punda amechoka’. The rise of Gengetone is a clear indication that the Kenyan public has no beef with local content, they just want something that moves them to the bone and they will dance. It is true that Kenyans are a peculiar people, but if you find a way to figure them out, you will be smiling all the way to the bank. Though our top acts are thrilling, they are just too available. You can catch them on any given weekend in Nairobi, so fans don’t feel the urgency to fill up a venue when they hear they are around.

Our crystal ball predicts that if our stars focus more on playing gigs outside the country then attendance at their local shows will improve. A good example is Ben and Meddy of Rwanda; their Kigali shows are often packed because they do few but very impactful shows a year on their home ground.

Tough times

Some very smart people with suits have predicted hard economic times ahead and I can assure you the showbiz industry will feel the impact as well. Towards the end of last year, many brilliant ideas did not see the light of day due to lack of funds. Also, massive retrenchments reduced people’s ability to party. Some major brands that had supported showbiz also closed shop.

Our crystal ball predicts tough times ahead and only those who can adapt will survive. Don’t be shocked to see major labels, radios, event companies or big clubs shutting down due to a tough economy.

New showbiz moguls

Cycles are inevitable in any business and, as people change their tastes and preferences, TV shows, events and major showbiz platforms are bound to rise and fall. Our crystal ball predicts the rise of new showbiz bosses who will take the sector by storm. In this age of ideas, all you need is a brilliant concept, the guts to try it out and the persistence to keep pushing till it works out. The year 2020 will be friendly to that guy from nowhere with a really good idea.

Fresh waves

Gengetone took 2019 by storm, minimising Naija and Bongo airtime on our radios and spreading its wings across East Africa. In 2020, we predict more tsunamis will hit our borders. It will probably unpredictable, but very powerful when it does come. However, the sharp people who will see it coming and position themselves for it will make a killing. Also, expect that random celebrity who rises to the top for no particular reason and fades as fast as they came – unless, by some miracle, they find a way to remain relevant.

Kenyans just want to laugh

If you haven’t figured it out by now just swipe through any feed on social media and you will see how much Kenyans love to laugh.

Whether it’s in our music, news, politics or comedy, Kenyans just want funny things and we predict that the acts who give them what they want will be laughing to the bank. Njugush was probably the pioneer Instagram comedy, but Terrence, M-Pesa Lady, Mama Njeri and a host of others have become a thing and we predict more will join their ranks.

We also predict that any other entertainer who wants to trend will have to include something funny or humorous either in their content or marketing plan.