The South African music landscape is continuously changing, writing off our South African musicians. SA artists are constantly dealing with market changes in both music and the business scene.
I had an opportunity to witness one of Africa’s music video awards on the 30th November 2013. This was the 10th year of channel O Africa music awards. These awards were held in Soweto Johannesburg, South Africa. The awards were opened to all artists in the Africa continent and most best acts in the continent were fully represented.
The awards consisted of 14 different categories, and consisted some of the strongest contenders in the continent. The competition was pushed to a different level and the strength of each was tested to the limit. Stephen Amanza commented and provided the list of all the winners on;
List of Winners
Most gifted kwaito Video PROFESSOR FT OSIKIDO & CHARACTER – Finger Prints [Winner]
Most gifted African (East) Video P-UNIT FT COLLO: You Guy (Dat Dendai) [Winner]
Most gifted African (West) Video P-Square – Alingo (Winner)
Most gifted Ragga/Dancehall Video P-UNIT FT COLLO – You Guy (Dat Dendai) [Winner]
Most gifted R&B Video Banky W- Yes/No (Winner)
Most gifted Hip-Hop Video AKA – Jealousy [Winner]
Most gifted African (South) Video OSKIDO – Tsa Mandebele [Winner]
Most gifted Dance Video MAFIKIZOLO – Khona [Winner]
Most gifted Afro Pop Video THE SOIL FT ZAKWE – Linkomo [Winner]
Most gifted Duo/Group/Featuring Video ZONEFAM – Contolola [Winner]
Most gifted Newcomer Video KHAYA MTHETHWA – Move [Winner]
Most gifted Female Video ZONKE – Feelings [Winner]
Most gifted Male Video Zeus FT AKA & TUMI – #DatsWasup [Winner]
Most gifted Video of the year WIZKID – Azonto [Winner
The observation of current developments in the artistic and business side are worth mentioning and commenting on. I am also highlighting some of the business trends that are worth being noticed by our South African artistes.
South Africa, a golden gate to Africa
There is a reason why the phrase “S.A a golden gate to Africa.” The past 10 to 15 years has seen companies flocking into South Africa. These companies have realised that their markets have become unbearably flooded, saturated and cannot achieve anymore growth over and above what they have been achieving. Moving into untapped markets is a perfect strategy to increase profitability and ensure survival for any business that wants to sustain its existence in the future. South Africa is an entry point to Africa, the fact that we have an economic potential is an attraction to a number of international companies wishing to invest in our economy.
There are number of reasons why this trend is increasing. According to; http://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Middle-East-Africa/African-Countries-of-the-Future-2013-14?ct=true
South Africa is one of the economic powerhouses of the African continent; this country has been named African Country of the Future 2013/14 performing well across most categories, obtaining a top three position for Economic Potential, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness by fDi Magazine. South Africa has consistently outperformed its African neighbours in FDI attraction since fDi Markets records began in 2003. Figures for 2012 build upon South Africa’s historical prominence as an FDI destination with the country attracting about one-fifth of all investments into the continent – more than double its closest African rival, Morocco. In 2012, FDI into South Africa amounted to $4.6bn-worth of capital investment and the creation of almost 14,000 jobs.
- FDI flows into South Africa represented 9.1 percent of Africa’s total inflows in 2012.
- South Africa’s total FDI inward stock stood at US139bn (R1.4 trillion) in 2012, representing 35.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 9.9 percent in 1995.
- South Africa’s stock of FDI in Africa stood at US18bn (R181bn).
- In 2012, FDI flows into Africa increased by five percent to US50bn (R505bn).
This information is telling us a story and giving us an insight we need not to ignore. Most companies have invested both capital and resources in the S.A economy, these companies have gone into a full trading scale in the south african business environment and have done this through share ownership in local companies such as but not limited to the following:
- Barclays Africa Group owning 62.3% in the Absa group. The transaction also came with the reorganisation of most of Barclay’s African operation under one roof,
- US retail group Walmart had bought a 51% stake in Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM] for $2.4bn.
- China’s Jinchuan Group bought base metals company Metorex for $1.3bn and delisted the company.
- Finally, the Chinese Investment Corporation had bought 25% of diversified group Shanduka.for R2bn.
These economic developments are shaping all aspects of business and sending certain massages to all role players. This market transformation also talks to our music industry and its artists.
SA artiste vs. Business trends
Musicians are now forced to think like business people, study and understand business trends and be able to make business decisions. This ability will ensure that their careers are supported by taking advantage of what is happening in the business scene. Artists have a responsibility to their careers and they must step up into understanding all these business and economic trends. Management companies and personal managers have a bigger role to play. This observation is based on pure business practices that exist in any healthy economy or business structure.
Impact of market changes to S.A Artists
The market dynamics have forced themselves into the entertainment space, especially the music space. Talent alone does not guarantee success in the music industry, a record deal is no longer enough to position you for success. This is unfortunately the reality of the industry. Business acumen is therefore necessary to create a balance that is required in order to build a firm music career. The changes in the market are also calling for new thinking and ways of doing things. Those who still believe in the old ways of doing things will find themselves wanting, being pushed out of the game by those who are adjusting and receptive to new ways of doing things.
Music promoters have seen the gaps in the market and are collaborating with international counterparts to bring in international musicians in the country, capitalizing on the opportunities that have presented themselves. International artists have also expanded their sources of income and established new markets outside of their normal territories.
In 2013 alone, the country has witnessed the following acts:
-John legend -Rianna
-Maxwell -Rick Ross
-Bruce Springsteen -Justine beiber
The Africa continent business perspective
The Channel O Music Video Awards 2013 is one of the many instruments that act as an indicator in the music industry. Artists in the continent have realised the golden pot that is sitting in this continent and are beginning to talk about Africa more. It is also worth mentioning that some artists from other parts of Africa are coming into South Africa to seek market opportunities. This is a very promising trend from an Africa perspective and we would like to see it grow into future.
What I am not seeing though is our own artist’s making use of this opportunity. A handful of our SA artists are expanding into other parts of Africa, and are beginning to reconfigure their music to accommodate an African market, they are beginning to understand the universality of music from a business sense.
The perfect example is Mafikizolo’s collaboration with Nigerian artists for their heat song “Khona”, Zahara is also one of the visible examples, she has collaborated with artists such as BET, the award winning artist 2 Face Indibia from Nigeria, and Tresor from the republic of Congo. This model is not by mistake, but by design. There is a great awareness that South African music consumer is appreciative of good African music.
It is good and well to have trend setters, people who take risks and uncover opportunities for others to follow. It is also a concern to realise that a small number of artists are taking the risk of diversifying their music to create more market share in other parts of the continent. More African musicians are interested in the vibrancy of our music industry and are willing to collaborate with South African artists. in order to position themselves in the South African market. This is also an opportunity for our artists to position themselves in those countries or markets.