EMENDY students and lecturers attended the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference last Friday in Johannesburg. The music conference was held in Newtown, with the aim of providing a platform for music industry specialists, students and artists to engage in discussions, lecture sessions and networking opportunities. The keynote speeches were delivered by Beatport’s Terry Weerasinghe and Gareth Cliff. The latter shared an interesting new take on copyright issues, and the phenomenon of online radio and the future of this medium in South Africa.
During their On the Couch-session, Hip Hop Pantsula and Khan Morbee from the Parlotones discussed the importance of African and South African artists to collaborate on creative projects, as we have amazing talent which the rest of the world are quite ignorant of. They lobbied for local radio quotas having to be enforced, in order for the rest of the world to be exposed to our homegrown talent - especially when famous acts visit and perform locally. Their exposure to our indigenous musical styles and approaches, creative production methods, an openness to fuse genres, and a distinctive ‘African’ feel to our local music, could establish a need and enthusiasm for big names to collaborate with artists in the wider African music industry.
Another interesting panel discussion was centered on the issue of the existence of a Management Vacuum in the African Music Industry. The panel debated the differences between music agents and managers; the lack of education, communication and expertise which exists in this regard in South Africa. The also discussed some ideas of developing these skills locally in order to establish more trained professionals into our South African music industry.