Last week the sixth annual Music Exchange conference was held at Market Hall, Grandwest, and one of our keynote speakers was Brandon Bakshi – BMI, Executive Director of Writer/Publisher Relations for Europe & Asia.
His talk was about BMI and investment opportunities in the Music Business for South Africa. He has been in charge of BMI’s London office for twelve years. In this role, he oversees the outreach and relationship management among the international songwriting and publishing community.
Some of their most well-known events include the BMI London Awards, BMI Song Camps at Abbey Road Studios as well as the BMI Song Camps in the Caribbean, namely: St Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica as well as The Grenadines.
From BMI’s point of view, the incredible talent generated from South Africa is second to none.
One only needs to look at successful songwriters and performers, including South Africa’s own Tamara Day, Karen Zoid, RJ Benjamin, Zyon, Kwesta, as well as AKA.
There is no doubt the huge global and regional appeal of the South Africa Music phenomena.
What helps sustain the careers and international crossover appeal is that all these entertainers write their own songs. Furthermore, they collaborate with other artists, producers, and songwriters from the USA, Europe, Asia, South America, as well as Australia.
Most successful South Africa artists sign to record and publishing companies. For some artistes, this can guarantee a lucrative career in the music industry. However, for others, this may not always be the correct decision.
For example, if these songwriters and artists do not receive key exposure and attention from their labels and publisher, then their careers may go into a state of limbo.
Therefore, this is an excellent opportunity for South African, European as well as North American labels and publishers to sign, develop, market and sell local artists.
The key hubs for the music business are London, New York, Nashville, Los Angeles as well as Atlanta.
“In my opinion, Cape Town falls into this category as an incubator city for rising stars,” said Bakshi, who also added that BMI had just announced it’s highest revenues and royalty distributions in their 76-year history.
“BMI achieved over $1 billion U.S. Dollars in revenues, and distributed a record-breaking $931 million to the songwriters, composers, and publishers BMI represents,” mentioned Bakshi.
This is a 6% increase over last year. These results represent the most public performance revenue and royalty distributions by any music rights organization in the world.
The investment opportunities are ever present because there is a steady stream of genuine raw talent emerging from South Africa that needs to be nurtured, developed and exposed to the world.
“The key for potential growth is to continue to develop the music business industry in South Africa,” Bakshi continued.
“The copyright laws are in place and have enforcement teeth, so there is no reason why a professional music industry with structure cannot flourish and succeed.
“One just needs to look at the passing of the 90% quota of South African music on radio. That alone should encourage international songwriters to co-write hit songs with South African Artists & Songwriters.”
Local and international partnerships and alliances should be set up to launch the next generation of South African rising stars. This may be done vis-à-vis telco’s, TV/Cable operators, local and international brands, as well as performing rights organizations.
“BMI is fully committed to the development and monetization of South African talent and Investing in their music from performing rights and publishing perspective is key to the growth in this sector,” Bakshi added.
This can be attained thorough songwriter and artist development deals, as well as song camps, showcases as well as facilitating international songwriter collaborations.
“BMI firmly believes that South African music is generating amazing talent, which if developed properly will see something of a bonanza in the International music/entertainment/performing arts sector.
Without a doubt this will lead to strategic business and investment opportunities for songwriters and music publishers alike,” concluded the BMI man.
These are exciting times indeed for music in this country. Continue to watch this space.