It's a thing: The South African Music Industry


If you are a writer, producer, vocalist, anything the South African Music industry, this podcast is for you!

In the last few months, no industry has been harder hit than that of the entertainment one. The singers, bands, sound engineers, very few people within the music industry have earned any money in the last 12 months. I spoke to MPASA (Music publishing association of South Africa) David Alexander about the way forward.

Under the current COVID-19 climate, one of the most pressing issues is the need for relief funding as artists revenue streams are set to dry up. Consequent to lockdown, airlines, casinos, hotels and restaurants, amongst others who use music to add ambience, did not trade. Pre-COVID, this pool of licensing contributed more than 20% of SAMRO’s collections. Adding to collection problems is the fact that advertising on radio and television, which directly contribute to songwriters income, similarly fell by roughly 20% over the past business year.

While the South African government has made strides, with limited funds, to provide some grants, it has still left a large percentage of the industry penniless or with their heads barely above water. Songwriters together with publishers are top of that list, seeking desperate assistance from the government.

“Government needs to be paying attention to this critical sector of the overall economy, now more than ever,” David pleads. “When songwriters are not earning, neither are publishers which, combined, will result in massively reduced earnings across the board.”

Sadly, in 2020, the National Arts Council (NAC) had announced a R300-million stimulus package, but it was never properly administered. The council has taken a decision to suspend its CEO and CFO over the handling of the funds, leaving our creative industry high and dry.

This calls for an open dialogue with government. At the start of lockdown in 2020, The Music Publishers Association were first to take action and have written an urgent letter to Minister Nathi Mthethwa to assist the community. In their appeal, they’ve requested sustained support in national budgets, public and private investment schemes and sponsorship programs.

While the letter is yet unanswered, theMPA-SA are actively seeking resolution and will continue to champion the need for COVID relief funding for its publisher members and their songwriters.

To join the MPA-SA, visit

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Opening & Closing title and Edited by: WES - @wesside_photo_video

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