Profile Interview: Music Exchange Conference | The Aubrey Masango Show
Music Exchange 2022: The Economics, Politics and Biology of the Music Industry
By Rachel Reynolds
I was driving home when I tuned into Smile FM and happened upon a man speaking about a conference this coming weekend at which industry ‘heavy weights’ were going to be present. The incredulity in his voice as he spoke, unable to believe that so many artists were passing up this opportunity to attend the conference, made me listen more closely – what was the catch? He spoke of Trevor Jones, a composer who scored Notting Hill, being one of the keynote speakers, and mentioned that the conference would be an intimate gathering of no more than 50 people. The tickets must be astronomical,
When I got home, I immediately checked the price: R250. Just a little more than I would pay to see a modern-day Notting Hill in the cinema, for a two-day experience and chance to meet Trevor Jones as well as Marc Marot, former MD of Island Records who signed bands like Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, and The Cranberries.
I spent this small amount to attend what turned out to be one of the most inspiring and insightful weekends of my year—this coming from a woman who has travelled to six countries in the past six months.
Though I can’t possibly translate the experience of the weekend on to paper for you (though an amazingly successful poet – Siphokazi Jonas – who also featured at the conference probably could), I will try my best to deliver the most important points of contention to artists who couldn’t, but should’ve, made it.
It is not for the public to know what they want
Marot is adamant that this is the truth. The public don’t know what they want—you must show them what they want. Steve Jobs was used as a case in point, as he knew the only reason the public didn’t say they wanted a choice between 50 font types was because they didn’t know that such a thing was possible. This was in sharp contrast to how Eb Inglis, KFM host, described radio’s operational structure; rather than playing what they deem the public should be listening to, stations survey their listeners and play what is on demand instead.
The room breathed a collective sigh of relief when Inglis clarified that this didn’t necessarily mean artists should pander to society’s current craze, but rather keep making unique art and work hard on promoting themselves. He made a point of informing the listeners that radio wasn’t the platform to do this.
It might not be your art that is unsuccessful, but that the platform you use to justify its success needs to change
Many people think the radio can make or break an artist, and musicians will send their tracks to a station with high hopes, only to be ghosted. The reason for this is found in people’s misunderstanding of the age-old question that plagues us all: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, radio or success? Inglis makes it clear that, while radio used to play a pivotal role in initiating the popularity of songs, the advent of social media has meant its role has changed. Rather, the radio plays what has already been made popular through other platforms, such as Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook. Here the answer is sometimes the chicken comes first, and sometimes the egg—depending on the decade you’re farming in. Or, in this case, making music.
Woven between the economics of the entertainment industry, is of course law and politics. My music producer friend sat next to me, mouth agape, as Nick Matzukis explained more than 15 types of royalties that can be earned from a single piece of music. He insisted, “There is money in art folks – if only everyone knew!” This led to a discussion of contracts and the bad things that happen when you don’t know what you’re signing (another case in point— Jared Leto’s Thirty Seconds to Mars).
SAMRO isn’t (that) bad…
For a bit of an outsider to the industry, I did not know what SAMRO (Southern African Music Rights Organisation) was. But I could tell from the comments and questions it is an organisation whose relationship with musicians is akin to that of Jacob Zuma with South Africans. “Where is my money?” was the audience’s collective question, which CEO Mark Rosin attempted to answer using the operational structure and logistical challenges SAMRO faces in a third world country to justify its reputation. The crowd seemed only semi-convinced of Rosin’s effort to acquit SAMRO. One of these was an attendee whose suggestion for SAMRO to adopt blockchain technology to track artists and their earnings more accurately, was taken a little too lightly by Rosin for the guest’s taste. The attendee happens to work for a company that uses this technology for sustainability.
Since we have touched on all the other subjects of life, why not Biology? This is my own analogy to characterise what I think may be the biggest takeaway from the conference: South Africa lacks connective tissue, which is the life blood of a high-functioning art industry. We need to collaborate more, understand our strengths, and join forces to become more powerful. Instead of using idealistic phrases like these with no backing, the conference showed attendees what the anatomy of collaboration looks like on the ground, using Trevor Jones and Siphokazi Jonas as, yet another, case in point.
We got to hear Jonas read her poetry, before hearing it a second time with music that Jones had chosen to accompany it. He explains “I walk into walls while walking, I leave food to burn all while I am thinking about your poetry and how to make it work with my music”. The experience was heightened, and the tone of the poem changed dramatically with the London Symphony Orchestra booming out the speakers in synch with Jonas’ empowering voice. Both pieces of work are brilliant alone, but unforgettable together.
Coming from an Economics background, I have written a lot here about the prospects in the industry for South African artists, perhaps at the expense of replicating the inspirational tone of the conference. But rest assured, it could be felt through each anecdote, laugh and conversation that undoubtedly involved a cross-pollination of ideas. There really is no other opportunity that I know of that offers this level of engagement, advice, inside-knowledge and look into the lives and careers of some of the world’s most phenomenal creatives.
Luckily, Music Exchange (MEX22) is traveling to Johannesburg this coming weekend on the 12th and 13th of November.
If you are an artist, go. If for some reason you can’t, take this notion with you: There is money in art. There is also money in information, whether it’s how the industry is regulated or how two South Africans successfully collaborated. Scoring Notting Hill, and paying bills are not mutually exclusive.
Music Exchange talks for 12th and 13th Nov at Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE) in Auckland Park
After a hugely successful 2 days in Cape Town, South Africa’s premier music, film and entertainment programme comes to the Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE) Johannesburg on Saturday, the 12th and Sunday, the 13th of November to further amplify its broader intent to connect and covert conversations into commercial success for all in attendance. Celebrating its 12th-anniversary MUSIC EXCHANGE 2022 (#MEX22), is proud to announce no less than two multi-disciplined masters, all highly sought-after and hugely respected entertainment industry moguls and speakers, who will be jetting in as special guests of South Africa’s definitive entertainment economy indaba. Delivering this year’s keynote address, along with Dr Trevor Jones, is Marc Marot. the former Managing Director of Island Records.
Siphokazi Jonas on S3 – 8 Nov at 3pm
Siphokazi Jonas on SABC 3 at 3pm on 8 November and 9am repeat the next day.
The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni is a visual exploration of the world’s literary cities, unearthing the stories behind the novels, biographies, the lyrical, visual art, movements, scholarship, interested in the thought elements of the writers who inhabit them. The pilot season was filmed in Cape Town (2021), assembled into a thirteen-episode series.
Siphokazi Jonas delivers call on World Psoriasis Day – Hands to Carry
IFPA presents World Psoriasis Day each year, the global community unites to raise awareness and call for action in support of people with living with psoriatic disease. World Psoriasis Day has been celebrated on October 29th for more than a decade. Today, World Psoriasis Day is observed in over 50 countries
HANDS TO CARRY
By Siphokazi Jonas
World Psoriasis Day 2022
On the Christmas holidays of childhood
My grandmother’s rural homestead was a Mecca of gathering
for our extended families.
A potpourri of generations converged on that tiny village
from all around the country.
Every person had their place:
at the gates, by the fireplace, or in the fields.
Adults unpacking fresh gossip with large bags of flour,
and cases of something to heat the blood.
As children we turned work into play from sunrise
until the calls came for supper.
Drinking water disappeared quickly in the South African heat,
and every two days, we would make our own pilgrimage
to the shared village tap –
hard plastic drums piled high on wheelbarrows,
and a thrilling ride down the rain-trenched pathways.
Others had iron buckets swinging from their arms
like baubles on Christmas trees.
Everything was light on our way down the hill,
we were empty of care,
flying in full wingspan from the lip of a wheelbarrow like the Titanic.
When the water reached the mouth of the bucket,
something else filled us up
as the weight of the moment dawned on us.
Community was nurtured in us in these moments.
A scattering of individual bodies became one mind working through many hands,
helping each other to lift containers onto heads and into wheelbarrows.
No one lifted a full bucket alone or set it down without more hands
to guide and hold steady.
We bore the weight with each other’s strength.
On the dawn of World Psoriasis Day
we are challenged to help hold each other steady
to help unload the burden and quench the village.
Over 60 million people are inflamed by the rage of the fire of psoriasis
and the potential of this disease sleeps in all our skins.
When it awakens without warning
it fills one to the brim and takes up space.
It takes up space in the body,
patch by patch,
the evidence flares and flakes everywhere.
Endless nights and days of itching for relief
of long sleeves and pants and dresses
of wishing not to be seen
of being a stranger in one’s own skin.
It takes up space in the senses.
In an assembly of ointments like ammunition for war
The scent which follows one everywhere
betrays you as a soldier in battle for well-being.
The hours and weeks passing in hospital beds
bathed in harsh light and medicines whose names
you cannot forget along with your own.
The neighbours and strangers
With a mouth full of family recipes and remedies
and not enough knowledge.
It takes up space in the mind.
The endless horizon of a chronic existence
the cost which cannot be measured
the body you no longer recognise in the mirror
the self you feel you have lost
the fear of this awakening in your children
the stress which triggers
the languages which do not have a name for this disease,
which do not allow you to describe your pain in your mother tongue.
The whispers, the stares, the pointing
the pain which holds you captive
the fear of being a burden.
Over 60 million people live bearing the weight of water,
filled to the brim with things which cannot be understood
unless you have lived through them.
On this day, we join the chorus of voices who say,
“It is safe to put your burdens down here.”
Calling on a village of hands to reach out:
hands to soothe hard-to-reach places in the body
healing hands of healthcare workers under hospital lights
hands which write laws to write the right ones
hands which help unpack thoughts and heal the mind
hands which open doors to treatment for all.
May our hands reach out to knowledge
educating ourselves on what we do not know
to unlearn a cultures and words which harm and ostracise
to call out those who use them
to dismantle beliefs born out of ignorance and fear
which isolate one from community,
and to challenge stigma out loud.
On World Psoriasis Day, and every other day,
To be the voice that says,
“Feel free to show up in your short sleeves, your bare feet,
and all the complexities of your skin.
Around here, we see you wholeheartedly,
and we are ready to be quenched, together.”
(All rights reserved)
Music Exchange programme and topics for Cape Town on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th Nov 2022
We have the great pleasure and privilege of presenting the speakers and topics for the Music Exchange 2022 (#MEX22) conference.
The emphasis is on Exchange – Arrive to engage and ask questions of all the speakers and meet fellow creatives. You never know who is in the room. You have read about our keynote speakers over several weeks, Marc Marot and Dr Trevor Jones, and now we are pleased to share the balance of our Cape Town programme.
All the speakers have a lived reality and are actively invested in the local and international entertainment economy.
Siphokazi Jonas for Lagos, Nigeria for the Lagos International Poetry Festival
From October 27th Siphokazi Jonas will be in Lagos, Nigeria for the Lagos International Poetry Festival.
Looking forward to connecting with a new community! #LIPFEST22
Siphokazi takes home the Most Innovative Young Artist award at Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards for 2022
Cape Town, Friday , 14 October 2022 – Having just returned from a successful tour of Europe and delivered a poem at the 12th International Peace Lecture in Cape Town, producer, poet, writer and performer Siphokazi Jonas’ talent has once again been affirmed this week at the 20th Annual Culture Awards.
On Wednesday evening, Siphokazi took home the Most Innovative Young Artist award, pipping her peers, Xolani Marman and Phelelani Ndakrokra, to claim the highly coveted trophy.
“I’m grateful and humbled to receive this award,” Siphokazi says. “It’s incredibly affirming and a reminder that it’s essential to take risks and to be fearless as an artist, and I feel encouraged to keep engaging in more profound, more inspiring collaborations across the board.
“We all have this responsibility to add something to the many voices that have created this incredible industry and these stories that we tell,” she adds.
In undoubtedly one of her most prolific and successful years to date, Siphokazi has seen her highly acclaimed short film #WeAreDyingHere receive a SAFTA in the Best Short Film category and be added to Showmax.
She’s also accepted invitations to work and perform at international festivals in the US, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden and goes to Lagos on October 27th for the Lagos International Poetry Festival.
Her next appearance in South Africa will be at #MEX22, the annual entertainment economy conference hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg in early November. To find out more and secure the limited number of tickets available, go to musicexchange.org.za.
For more information, contact Martin Myers: firstname.lastname@example.org
UN Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks at the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture
Siphokazi Jonas had the honour to perform at the Tutu International Peace Lecture on Friday 7th October 2022.
She had the opportunity to open for the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed.
She is one of the key people in the creation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Siphokazi had a few moments with her afterwards, and I immediately told her about the work which artists are doing to engage with the SDGs and have an example of the global collaborations at the Somewhere Places Festival which I attended in Spain.
When we have the attention of powerful people, we need to ensure that we advocate for the things that matter. Perhaps she has already forgotten, or perhaps a seed has been planted…
This her speech from that Event
Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks at the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture [as delivered]
07 October 2022
Our world, our Global Village, is in deep crisis. We are today in desperate need of hope and of healing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure and it is a deep honor to be with you for the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture. I would like to extend the special greetings of our UN Secretary-General and myself to Mama Leah, to Mpho, Naomi, Theresa and Trevor. And especially to you that I have met this evening. It is such an honour to meet you and to see the vision of your father in you.
It is the first of these lectures since the passing of our beloved Arch, who served throughout his life as a towering global figure, as we have heard so often, for peace and an unwavering voice for the voiceless.
We continue to mourn his loss, yet we celebrate his legacy, which has never been more relevant in our world today of great pain.
Our world, our Global Village, is in deep crisis. We are today in desperate need of hope and of healing. And the Arch stood above all for courageous hope and healing, based on principles rooted in pragmatism.
Hope, the Arch famously said, “is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. You see it wonderfully when you fly and the sky is overcast. Sometimes you forget that just beyond the clouds, the sun is shining.”
As a proud African man, the Archbishop leveraged his position in international bodies, from the World Council of Churches to the All Africa Conference of Churches and, later, the Elders, to promote positive change and share his wisdom, not only in his own country and continent, but around our global village.
Inspired and humbled by his legacy, I am here just as a mere servant of the Global Townhall, to the Global Village, the United Nations – calling for global transformation from the inside out, shepherded by Arch, his steadfast commitment to hope and healing.
As we say often, our world is in crisis with Africa left behind, yet again.
Nearly three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – and I want to say that that was a time that God pressed the pause button so that you need to reflect on which path you want to follow – nations across the world, particularly our African countries, face a multitude of cascading and compounding crises.
More people are poor.
More people are hungry.
More people are being denied health care and education – basic rights.
Gender equality becoming dangerously out of reason, and reach.
Gender-Based Violence, conflict and humanitarian crises are spreading like a virus.
The climate crisis is gathering pace, and it is crossing all borders.
And social cohesion is fraying, with inequalities increasing and xenophobia, nationalism, hate speech and radicalization on the rise.
Yet, it does not have to be this way.
Our incredible world, starting with this incredibly beautiful continent, has abundant riches: immense diversity in our people and cultures, our languages, our food, and most of all, our innovations and our ideas.
Our planet is packed with the resources we need to thrive: plentiful food and water, and boundless renewable energy. These are unique, irreplaceable resources and they must be treasured, protected and handed down from generation to generation. Today we have never been so able, connected by technologies, better educated, living longer and with women in incredible positions of leadership.
Our world is more inclusive. It is more sustainable. It is more hopeful.
It is with this reality and vision all countries agreed to come together for the 15-year roadmap for peace and development that left no one behind.
That’s the infamous 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable [Development] Goals that I and many spent four years having a conversation with the world as we crafted them. It is the world envisioned in the African Union’s Agenda 2063: the Africa that We Want.
But it is also a pathway to a world that cherishes human dignity; a world that is free of poverty, of hunger, of violence and injustice.
It’s a world of opportunity; where everyone has access to their basic rights of a quality education, healthcare, decent jobs and a fair shot at life.
It’s a world of equality, where the rights of every woman and every girl are fully respected and where discrimination in any form is rejected.
It’s a world of sustainability; where we embrace the clean energy revolution and ensure our economies and our lifestyles are compatible with the environmental systems that we depend on.
And of course, it’s a world of peace and of justice – where we cherish and respect diversity; where we ensure public participation and fundamental freedoms; where all forms of violence are rejected.
Sadly, halfway through this visionary roadmap we are off track.
How do we get from a world in crisis, to a world more equal, a world in harmony with nature?
How do we realize our common vision for a brighter tomorrow and for the responsibility that we do have for future generations?
From his experience and life, the Arch himself has shown us the way. First, we must begin with our self, believing in our humanity, giving the best of our self so that we reap the best of each other.
At the core of our actions, we must cherish and invest in education for its intrinsic value to both the individual and the society.
Arch understood that education is the most powerful tool that a person can receive to ensure their independence, their self-sufficiency, their dignity and equality.
In 1957, two years after taking up his first employment as a teacher, a young Desmond Tutu resigned in protest against the Bantu Act that instrumentalized education for the oppression of Black South Africans.
“Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies,” the Arch said.
But today, disparities in access to an education, a quality education, are one of the great challenges facing our world. Instead of being a great equalizer, education is fast becoming a great divider – separating poor children from opportunities almost from birth.
Some 7 in 10 children in poorer countries are unable to read a basic text by the age of 10, because they are either out of school, or in school but barely learning.
As the world goes through a fourth industrial revolution, with enormous implications for jobs and training, nearly half of all students do not complete secondary school.
Seven hundred million adults are illiterate, the majority of whom are women.
People with disabilities, living with HIV and AIDS, and children from marginalized groups face the toughest challenges of all. A blind spot to many.
In convening the Transforming Education Summit last month at the United Nations, in response to Our Common Agenda, the summit helped lift education to the top of the global Agenda and mobilized new commitments to reimagine education that would be fit for the 21st century, decolonizing decades of a system designed for others.
In the coming years, if we are to stand a chance of securing a future of peace for all, we must make good on those commitments, in our homes, our communities and our societies, in the hope that we are able to build nations for now and the future generations.
The second lesson from the life of the Arch is that to strive for a prosperous future, we must also be to build peace, together, in solidarity.
The Arch was a firm believer in social interdependence, a central concept in his philosophy, expressed as “Ubuntu”.
Arch called Ubuntu “the essence of being human”.
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together,” as the Arch so beautifully said.
He understood that peace, in its broader concept, can only be achieved if we approach humanity as a community in which – as in any African village – everyone takes care of each other.
This notion of peace is not only the absence of violence or conflict, but the pursuit of common values.
And this concept is often reflected in African thinking and, when we are lucky, in some of our policies today. We just need to implement them.
When African countries adopted the Lusaka roadmap for Silencing the Guns, they acknowledged that tackling the root causes must deal with social-economic issues including inequalities, injustice, and the exclusion of our youth and women, all of which are indispensable to peace and to sustainable development.
Likewise, the Secretary-General’s proposal for a New Agenda for Peace is a key element of Our Common Agenda, addressing new and emerging threats, while ensuring that human rights, political, civil, social, economic and cultural, are leveraged as a main tool for conflict prevention in the pursuit of Sustainable Development. This we must do, and we must do it in solidarity.
As the Arch once said – “When we see others as separate, they become a threat,”. When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge that we cannot face—together.” Ubuntu.
The third of the Arch’s lessons I would like to share is that to build a prosperous future, we must be fully committed to working together, collectively, for the common good.
Arch was a true believer in the power of multilateralism.
He was a distinguished member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, and took part in a High Level Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza. More broadly, he was engaged in many other global issues, always promoting joint solutions through listening and through dialogue.
He knew that no matter the size of the country, no one can do it alone.
The United Nations remains for me the only forum in the world where parties come together to transform common threats into shared solutions.
We try to face the reality of the day with the aspirations of humankind, and each day, we try to close the gap. Some days are good days, and some days, not so good.
For over seven decades, the UN has offered Member States a platform to address pressing issues, always inspiring hope and a better tomorrow
It has supported major economic and social progress.
It has been a cornerstone of international peace, from promoting prevention and resolution of conflict to providing humanitarian relief, and saving millions of lives and livelihoods.
This country, and its fight against apartheid, is perhaps one of the best examples of the potential of the United Nations to support and enhance positive transformations.
Today, global challenges are undermining trust in multilateralism at a time when we actually need it most.
This calls for a reformed and a strengthened multilateral system with the transformation for being more fit for purpose of the United Nations at the core.
A multilateral system that serves those who are furthest behind, not just those who were first in line 75 years ago.
A multilateral system that responds to the needs and challenges of today, looking into tomorrow.
A multilateral system that looks for common ground even in the areas where there is currently none in sight.
A multilateral system that has a renewed capacity to create hope and healing.
Let me try to be specific – what does a strengthened multilateral system mean for Africa?
Our incredible continent, our motherland; this vast, prosperous land and human capacity.
How do we get to where we need to be?
I believe that we have to start recognizing first that we are not beginning from nothing, we are not beginning from scratch; we must change the narrative, we are not hopeless nor are we helpless, our potentials are enormous. We are 54 sovereign nations on varying paths of democracy. We have 1.4 billion people, 2,5 trillion dollar market opportunities, and the fasted growing FinTech – connecting people, especially our women, to financial services.
We have the institutions, the United Nations, the African Union, the African Development Bank, Afrexim Bank and we have over 25 stock exchanges, with the largest being in Johannesburg. We have the necessary instruments – there is the 2030 Agenda (the SDGs), there is [Agenda] 2063 and there is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
So with the potential, with the institutions, and with the instruments, that, I believe, in itself is hope.
So what do we need next to translate that hope into the aspirations of millions?
I would start with leadership.
First, political leadership with the will and the courage to act for the people they represent, bearing in mind that our home, the planet, is one of the first responsibilities they will have. Not to the exclusion of the leadership beginning from the home, through all the strata of our societies, of our communities.
The second, I would say, is democracy and human rights. Although today, I would say that perhaps the model for democracy is failing us while the values remain relevant, and perhaps that is some food for thought.
We need to invest in institutions and systems that deliver on basic rights and services. Those that we look to as second, nonetheless health, education, yet they are the first.
We need to begin at the local level, supporting communities from the ground up, especially our women and our youth. That means a level of devolution of resources to build the resilience and the strong foundations for the house of Africa. I have not yet seen a country in the world that builds their houses from the roof down, except when we come to Africa.
Ensuring that we have what often is so technical, disaggregated data and statistics. But you know, behind every number, every percentage, are millions and millions of people. Many that are left behind because we don’t see where they are. And we need this so that we can target our investments to ensure that we have transparency and accountability for the resources that we expect results for. It also allows us to communicate the result with credibility, strengthening the trust between the government and its people.
Last, but certainly by no means the least, this includes partnerships.
All stakeholders and partners, to build a nation that includes an approach from local to global. The partnerships globally are much in need, but so are those across our borders, without which the African Free Trade agreement would have no wings to fly. The foundations for these partnerships must be built within nations and across countries in Africa to begin with, so that we may look tour opportunities for a 1.4 billion population.
In turn, maybe we can begin to heal from the inside out, the tensions, the mistrust, the violence, the hate, the xenophobia within our countries and across their borders.
Arch called relentlessly for hope, rooted in the audacity of our convictions.
The commodity of hope has never been more precious, as have our faiths, our beliefs in humankind
As the Arch beautifully wrote, “To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass. Despair turns us inward. Hope sends us into the arms of others.”
Let us step firmly forward into the howling wind, navigating the storm to face the new dawn of hope and healing in a world of crisis.
With courage and solidarity, let us move together, as Africans and as a member of this God-given earth.
Let us honor ‘Arch’ on his birthday, by living and acting on the inspiration he gave us for hope so that we may find deep within us, the will to be part of the healing of the torn fabric of our societies in a world of crisis, and yet with so much hope for the future. In Madiba’s words, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”
Let’s do it together. Ubuntu.