South African artists will get an opportunity to voice their concerns when government hosts the Musicians Indaba on Friday in Soweto.
Briefing the media ahead of the indaba, the Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Buti Manamela, said many issues have been identified as needing intervention.
The Deputy Minister will convene the indaba as the chairperson of the Presidential Task Team on Creative Industries. The indaba is the first of several sectorial engagements that the task team will hold in different parts of the country, covering various sectors of the creative industry.
“We have been in constant consultation with industry bodies and collecting societies to look at some longstanding matters that continue to hold the South African music industry at ransom,” said Deputy Minister Manamela.
He said some of the interventions are achievable in the short-term, while some require a long-term approach.
The indaba will give musicians a platform to speak directly to government on many issues that affect their day-to-day business within the sector. Issues including piracy, copyright protection and infringement, local content and airplay in broadcast media are some of the subjects for discussion.
The indaba will be a platform to seek ways to help the artists.
The Deputy Minister said issues raised at the indaba will be directed back to the task team for fast tracked resolution.
“This platform will also give government the opportunity to give feedback on progress the task team has made thus far since I became chairperson in 2015.
“One of the greatest gains we had facilitated and celebrated was the introduction of the 90% local music policy introduced by the public broadcaster in 2016.
“We anticipate that the uncertainty that now exists with regards to this will be a major talking point at the indaba.”
He said this has received a lot of attention in recent meetings and the Task Team is concerned that the great gains that local music stood to receive may be getting lost in a case of “throwing out the baby with the bath water” at the SABC.
The Task Team is expected to dedicate time to issues of Payola and Plugola and bring musicians up to speed on action being taken against those found implicated in this practice that is as harmful to the music industry.
Payola, Deputy Minister Manana said, is a heavily entrenched cancer which steals fair airplay from hardworking and deserving artists to favour crooked and corrupt industry players.
Payola is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Plugola is the incidental or unofficial promotion of a person or product in the media, sometimes in return for a payment.
“We are also going to present the social security intervention model for the very first time at the indaba,” he announced.
Government departments and agencies will exhibit their services and assist musicians with information on funding opportunities and other support programmes.
“We urge all musicians to come to the Soweto Theatre in their numbers. Space is limited, so it is important to confirm attendance and reserve your seat.”