In an age when publishers are looking to add ecommerce solutions to content, the music industry is to an extent looking at this conundrum from the other side. Gone are the days when CD sales could make or break a label– Digital Streaming is set to replace most music downloads in the near future, a trend which is already in progress in most ‘first world’ countries, as subscription services already now account for the majority of digital revenue in most areas. But what are the prospects for local artists, Lifestyle Writer, Angela Mdlalani asks.
The future of the music industry has always been a mottled and hot subject, but in recent years the question of physical ownership versus digital streaming has taken centre stage as many within the business pick a side. Headlines about low pay-out rates of streaming providers, and low revenue for artists have been fiercely debated-however, with a global increase of 39% in 2014, the music streaming market is rapidly growing and probably the best option musicians of this era have.
Music Consultant at Events Lab and Lekoko Entertainment, Seabelo Modibe believes that digital streaming is the future and can particularly be of great help to local music as it can crash piracy, which is rife in the country.
“Digital streaming is not prone to piracy as Peer to Peer sharing is minimal. The current problem the record business is facing is piracy.”
Furthermore, he believes streaming could help short circuit charges by collection bodies. “Over and above that, tariffs that COSBOTS charges retailers to play or sell music are very high, so streaming will short circuit such ridiculous charges.”
Nonetheless, the crux of music streaming depends on giving musicians a raw deal. Spotify pays out a pittance of between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream, Deezer provides artists revenue of around $0.013 per play, while Tidal pays slightly more, at $0.043 per play. It is a fact that streaming pays peanuts, especially for artists at the lower ranking of the food chain, but this should not dispirit even the local artists, Modibe said.
Besides simply creating revenue, there are other benefits for artists to being present on streaming platforms as it also opens up possibilities to reach new audiences.
“Artists must use social media and invest in their careers,” he remarked.
By building an online database, experts say, artists grow their brand and market it further.
“Our artists should move away from only using traditional media and focus on using social media as it offers them the chance to do marketing 24/7,” Modibe said.
Modibe’s sentiments were equally echoed by Director at Sony Music Entertainment Africa and General Manager of Dream Team SA, Refiloe Ramogase, at an artists’ development workshop held in Gaborone last week. According to Ramogale, local artists should capitalise on social media, “as it the new currency”.
The artists’ focus, according to Ramogase should be focused more on maintaining a traceable digital footprint, and breaking into streaming their music, as that is where the industry is headed.
This notwithstanding, a few of the local artists have their music up on streaming platforms such as iTunes.
“Groove Cartell are signed to me, and they are licensed to third parties who have contracts with streaming and digital stores worldwide,” Modibe highlighted.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released a report in April 2015 that details the global status of the music industry. Across the world, music revenues in 2014 dropped 0.4% from the year before to $14.97 billion, continuing a decline in revenues that has been ongoing for more than a decade. The downward trend can be viewed as alarming, and certainly should be cause for concern for record labels, artists, and others working in the industry.
According to IFPI, the global music market achieved a key milestone in 2015 when digital became the primary revenue stream for recorded music, overtaking sales of physical formats for the first time.
Its 2016 Global Music report released in April this year stated that streaming remains the industry’s fastest growing revenue source. Revenues increased 45.2 percent to $US 2.9 billion, and over the five year period up to 2015, have grown more than four-fold.
“The industry has shifted from an ownership model to access. I've not met anyone who can see beyond streaming. So this looks like a final destination.”- Edgar Berger (Chairman & CEO International of Sony Music Entertainment)
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.