Africa Month Interview

#AfricaMonth: A look at music publishing in SA with Eddie Hatitye of Music In Africa Foundation

The Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) has released the Revenue Streams for Music Creators in South Africa 2022 report and Eddie Hatitye, MIAF director and member of the Foundation's Music Policy Committee, shares more on the ever-changing landscape of music publishing in South Africa.
Eddie Hatitye, director at Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF)
Eddie Hatitye, director at Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF)

What is the current state of music publishing in South Africa?

South Africa has a thriving publishing industry, easily the strongest on the continent. We account for more than half of the music rights revenues collected across the continent. That is something to be proud of.

However, it's nowhere near perfect. The industry is largely informal with a lot of musicians lacking the knowledge and skills to register and publish their works. This means a lot of them are missing out on significant revenues.

Do we see a shift in how the music industry is changing as Covid-19 simmers down?

Absolutely! I’d say the industry is almost back to normal. But as the live music industry comes back to life, we also see digital platforms becoming even more influential than ever before. This comes with new challenges and opportunities.

What are the biggest lessons that can be learnt from the Covid-9 pandemic?

For creators, it’s very risky to rely on one revenue stream only. It is supremely important for musicians to treat their craft as a business, and diversify their income streams.

What are some of the key findings in the Revenue Streams for Music Creators in South Africa 2022 report?

There are so many useful takeaways. A highlight for me is that we were able to identify 47 key revenue streams that any music creator in South Africa can explore.

We present these earning opportunities with pragmatic information such as the average earnable amounts in the different revenue streams, genres and locations. The report also shows useful statistics on the efforts (time and money) musicians need to invest to earn a profit, as well as the key marketing channels that are worthwhile for them.

It is also interesting to see in the report that South African creators are embracing newer revenue streams such as NFTs, crowdfunding and webcasting.

What are the most profitable revenue streams being used in SA? And why do you think this is it?

The study found that there are five broad revenue categories for music creators in South Africa, namely Music Rights revenue, Performance revenue, Services revenue, Brand-related revenue and Grants and Funding revenue.

As you will see in the report, these categories are further subdivided into 47 earning streams that function holistically to create a broader financial ecosystem for music creators in South Africa.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, live performance emerges as the strongest revenue category, followed by Services revenue, which is a broad category encapsulating the many services that music creators can offer such as teaching, acting, voice-over services, equipment higher etc.

The third strongest stream was Music rights revenue, which is largely made up of royalties collected through performances, broadcasting, publishing, record labels, etc.

Grants and funding revenue comes next and is followed by brand-related revenue. It is very important, however, to look closely into the report for in-depth statistics, contexts and tips that will help you understand which revenue streams could work for you.

When it comes to music publishing in South Africa, the are so many blurred lines. What process should musicians be following? And what should they be avoiding?

Yes. Unfortunately, this is a global phenomenon. Even some of the big players in this industry don’t fully understand music publishing. Musicians should really begin to treat music as a business. This means making efforts to self-educate, to understand the basics of music rights and royalties, registering with all the collection societies, and making sure that all their works are notified to the CMOs. The internet has a lot of information on these processes.

We have a lot of this information on our website.

As we move forward, what needs to change in the industry?

More education and training for music creators, funding as well as improvements in terms of creators’ access to markets (existing and new). We also hope to see more collaborations among royalty administrators with a view to simplifying music rights management and administration processes in South Africa. Legislation and enforcement is also critical and I hope the government will be more proactive in this area going forward.

Download the Revenue Streams for Music Creators in South Africa 2022 report.

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