On the 22nd of August 2018, an excited Sheer Publishing team made up of Karabo Motijoane (General Manager), Ellen Morgan (Senior Copyright Administrator), and Thando Mkize (Copyright Administrator and Client Liaison) made their way to the 2018 KZN Music Imbizo.
We were excited by the prospect of educating more composers/authors of music about publishing, through our exhibition stand at the Imbizo, and about the industry in general through our participation in the panel discussions and interactive sessions held at the Imbizo. We were looking forward to taking the opportunity to meet up with some of our clients in Durban, KZN to assist and help them the best way we know how, thereby helping them advance in their music careers. We were delighted by the prospect of gaining new clients who we will help in their quest to advance their music careers. We looked forward to meeting up with fellow music industry professionals and practitioners, networking and having fruitful discussions on how we can best serve the composers/authors of the music industry, who are the life blood of the music industry but are generally the most forgotten players in the industry.
Utmost on my mind was the panel discussion that I was to be part of. I was to sit alongside heavy weights of the music industry such as Tracy Fraser (MD, Warner Music – South Africa) and Aibee Abidoye (GM, Chocolate City – Nigeria). These ladies’ resumes speak for themselves. I, on the other hand, have been a Copyright Administrator at Sheer Publishing for 6 months with 10 years of music industry experience as a session musician and guitar and music theory tutor, and academic knowledge on the industry gained through recent studies completed in 2017 (Diploma in Audio Technology – ASE). Despite my inferiority complex the Sheer team had confidence in my ability (theoretically ability) to represent the Sheer team on this prestigious platform. I took this vote of confidence with me onto that stage and, after the ordeal, found myself engulfed by compliments from industry professionals who witnessed the panel discussion, high demand for my business card by composers/authors who benefited from the discussion, and endless phone calls and text messages from composers/authors who received the education given with both hands and are determined to take advantage of the knowledge gained. It was overwhelming.
This was my first time ever attending the Imbizo and the experience was exciting, educational, eye opening and fulfilling. The Sheer Publishing team worked well into the late hours of the night for the duration of the Imbizo (22 to 25 August 2018) meeting clients, networking and even hosting a workshop for our clients on a Friday evening, which was well attended and a great success. Well, once again I was endowed by the team with the honour of running the work shop. What I have taken from this experience is the following:
- We still have quite a journey to travel ahead of us in educating our composers/authors and artists on the basics of the music industry and its inner workings.
- We have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world and the direction that established music industries in the world are taking.
- As publishers we cannot be complacent, we have to innovate our business model if we are to keep up with the changes that the rise of the digital age coupled with the forth industrial revolution, are bringing into the music industry.
- South Africa has an endless treasure of the most talented artists who, with the right education, guidance and support, can dominate internationally.
- We need a government with the political will to include the arts in the school curriculum as a subject choice available to all with a comprehensive program that will equip aspiring artists with basic knowledge and skills that will allow them to further their studies at tertiary level and to forge a successful career not only locally but internationally.
Overall the Imbizo was a success and we achieved the goals we had set out for ourselves as a team. –Thando Mkize