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Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Thought I should look for why South African artists are buried by Congregations

The poorest of the poor. Image:
I've realised like any other opinionated writer that it has sort of became a norm, or rather a tradition in South Africa that our artists are approached by death at times when they are broke to the ground (But their talent still showcased). We've buried the likes Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde (A well-known Mbaqanga artist) who according to many “died a poor man”. We continued these funerals to Ray Ntlokwana better known by his stage name “Velaphi”. SABC one (1) still airs this popular Velaphi series. This is just to mention a few; I’m not looking at who died poor; but the reasons as to why our artists die broke?

Fame is one of the major things that allow our creative minds to die poor and be buried by congregations and donations. Artists in South Africa do not look for the value of their work, but that of being famous. This means they are happy to be well-known with thin bank accounts. Or they are simple driven by “passion’’, compared to money. Being famous to me means your skill is well recognised by the people on the ground (supporters), but the question is do the managers, promoters, record labels, and agents recognise the assets within you as a performer? No! Oh shame poor artists see fame as a reward to their success.

Our artists lack the ability to invest and bring investors to their talent; first of all we should be clear that a recording artist is someone who has a product to sell. Which means this product will only sell when promoter’s et al did their job well. As artists you need to seek investors, retail stores, distributors and consumers. Even if you make money you don’t need to live like a kid (Spends it on sweets every now and then), you need to seek companies and invest your money wise.

Remember you’re running a business, with that point across you need a detailed business plan. Here you need to market a detailed product (Compact Disc) that’s what you are selling, rarely you! To look back at fame, you can be famous but if your compact disc (CD) doesn’t make it in the music stores (sell) you’re simple what I call a twit… You need to be fully aware that you’re a business person. Having done this, it will help you approach potential investors…

Personality is very important; this is how you conduct yourself in public, social networks etc. Your name is not just any name, but a brand that needs to succeed. The ability for your music to sell especially in Mzantsi is your social status; this means how people view your personality. Thus one needs to be careful in managing their personality. South Africans (Generally) don’t look at the music content before they buy, but who’s the artist. So bear that in mind.

Make your music like it’s a need (bread), with that you’ll not last weeks in shelves and be drawn back because you don’t sell. I therefore call all Managers, Promoters, and Record Labels to STOP exploiting artists! Remember you’re not hired to make them famous, but make sure that their future is secured. They also like you have families to feed. Don’t expose them to drugs, parties and alcohol. It’s your duty to help them secure good investments, Shit! Why are you hired?

One more important thing that you personally need to make sure of is that your music is registered with the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), so that whenever your song, beats are aired or used as backgrounds in ads you get your royalties. With your music registered you can contact SAMRO at Location: SAMRO Place, 20 De Korte Street, Braamfontein 2001 South Africa. You can phone their toll free number within Mzantsi at 086 117 2676 or email their customer relations department at You do this to see if you’ve made any money and you’ll be surprised how many artists that do not collect their money at SAMRO.

See you…

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By Buchule Raba

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