The Rise of the Local Music Industry 

As outlined by Brian Bakshi – BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.)

The South African music industry has had many obstacles to overcome, and will still face many more, but what we have seen recently is significant growth in the industry’s infrastructure brought on by a combination of developing local talent and emerging international interest. 

At the annual Music Exchange conference, which took place in early February, Brian Bakshi (BMI – Executive Director and Writer/Publisher relations for Europe & Asia) gave a keynote presentation on investment opportunities in the Music industry of South Africa. 

BMI believes that the South Africa is generating a huge supply of talent that has gone untapped, and that now is the time to strike the source. The abundance of potential in the South African music industry is not just limited to performers, it also extends to songwriters, producers and sound engineers.

The prevailing issue for local artists finds its source in the publishing and record label sectors of the industry. Artists that are not represented properly can often find that their careers become stagnant. This disregard for representation of local talent leaves these artists in a state of limbo. (48hours.co.za, 2017)

However, this weakness is soon to become a strength, as it has left the door wide open for solid local and international publishers and labels to step in and make a change by signing, developing and marketing local artists. 

There are few major hubs for breeding creatives in the world; London, New York, Nashville and Los Angeles, to name a few.

“In my opinion, Cape Town falls into this category as an incubator city for rising stars.” (Bakshi, 2017)

The investment opportunities are ever-present due to the steady stream of genuine raw talent emerging from South Africa that is in need of nurturing, development and exposure. 

When speaking about the direction of the international industry, Bakshi says; “The key for potential growth is to continue to develop the music business in South Africa. The copyright laws are in place and have enforcement teeth, so there is no reason why a professional music industry can not flourish and succeed.”

Bakshi goes on to explain that collaboration between international artists and local talent will be the future of this growing industry. A good indication of this opportunity is the passing of the 90% quota of South African music on local radio. Bakshi believes that; “this alone  should encourage international songwriters to co-write hit songs with South African artists & songwriters.”

In conclusion, Bakshi predicts that, if cared for properly, the South African creative flair, paired with a strong infrastructure, could become an invaluable source of new music that will have a massive impact on the global market. 

“BMI firmly believes that South Africa 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.” (Bakshi, 2017)