The Article is written by Bongani Windvoel Sikhukula.
Forget that Ferrari for now, try riding a bike.
Many of the artists who want to blow-up in the music industry will find that this journey is really challenging, there will be a lot of under-appreciated work and constant criticism. But mostly this happens to artists who cut corners and look for the easy way in, those who become patient and focus on quality will learn that this is industry is not as tough as it seems.
If you want to be remembered as a game changer, it takes mastering the business as well. There is just so much competition. There aren’t many barriers to making music these days, because now all that is needed is a computer and internet connection. With this low entry barrier, the supply has become insanely huge, and with that, the amount of both crap and good music has increased drastically. We can all make music but not all of us will make the money that comes with the hard work. . I’m sure we’re all familiar with the 10 000 hours theory, based on scientific research which shows that on average a person reaches a level of skill mastery ones they hit the 10 000 hours mark of work.
Having high expectations is very common with most of artists but remember that this is not a sprint it’s a marathon. The ones who make innovative and ground-breaking music are the leaders of the pack and so they will be around long enough to master the business side of music, artists like Daft punk, Skrillex, Beyoncé, Kanye west and Jay Z etc… Don’t spend too much time focused on that one hit song that will get you inside the industry but rather focus on the whole package, I’m talking about the brand, the manager etc… The worst that could happen is that you will be good enough to sit for a meeting but not good enough to close a deal. As an artist manager I learnt that the short cuts will not really get you to the top but rather get people talking about you, which in all fairness a good thing but it won’t get you loyalty. The artists I mentioned attract fans from existing genres, but also new listeners.
So where is the real money?
We really don’t buy music anymore, there’s too much music around us now that we are even forced to listen to music we don’t necessarily like. We have sites like soundcloud and so many other platforms to get music that physical copies are now becoming a thing of the past. So how is the real money made? The majority of money in this industry is made from events, exploitation of rights and licensing.
Licensing makes a lot of money! Intellectual property assigns rights to content creators, and allow them to grant the rights of exploitation to other parties, often in exchange of a part of the copyrights. This creates incentive for many parties to collaborate on exploiting a creation. Royalties from public performances (Radio, / TV and public usage) Mechanicals (streams and sales) and synchronization (adding music to adverts and films) can be huge. For independent musicians and labels, this is an exciting field to focus on, as the flat fees from a single synchronization of a track behind commercials can easily result in R50 000 + flat fee. That’s quick cash.
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Bongani Windvoel Sikhukula is a market researcher, artist manager, events coordinator and entrepreneur.
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