Lindiwe Nqobile Kunene

(Chairperson: KUMISA)

Chairperson Report 2019

South Africa, as a whole, has experienced unstable economic trends in the year 2019.  The economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. All industries, including the creative industries, have felt the impact. Unfortunately, the real economic and GDP effect for the creative industries remains unknown due to a lack of consistent, quantifiable measures for all sectors in the creative industry, annually.

However, the music industry has experienced critical growth. According to PWC in their Africa Entertainment & Media Outlook, 2019, total music and podcast revenue has seen an increase, year on year, by 8%. According to the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industries), the recorded music revenue worldwide increased by almost 10%, to over $19 billion in 2018, making it the highest level of income earned by the music industry since 2006. The music recordings increase is significant for the South African music industry as we have started witnessing accelerated growth in the number of recordings and recognition of our artists even beyond the borders of this country. Local musicians, like Durban’s own Nasty C, signed a global recording deal with Def Jam, while KUMISA members; Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly featured in Beyonce’s Lion King Soundtrack album.

Aligned to this progress experienced by the music industry has been KUMISA’s projects and programmes which saw extensive growth and significance in the province and the country as a whole. In 2019 we hosted the KUMISA Industry Night program which was a provincial talent search for industry-ready artists who have never had a platform to perform in front of industry stakeholders. After months of searching, three artists were given the platform to exhibit their talent in front of established record labels, music publishers, music promoters, artist managers and local media houses; television, Radio and Print.

KUMISA was able to host their annual ten months MasterClasses on Publishing and Artist Management. Fifteen Artists Managers and fifteen Music Publishers graduated from the programme. Amongst the graduates, were renowned musician Holly Rey’s manager and Hip Hop Star, Zakwe.

KUMISA also launched its much-awaited music business networking forum known as the KUMISA Music Brunch. These brunches designed to bring industry stakeholders and related organisations to proximity to the music industry practitioners for knowledge sharing and learning. Speakers hosted since inception has included the EDTEA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Eric Aplegren (International Relations Head-eThekwini Municipality), CAPASSO COO, Wiseman Ngubo, Sinamandla Kwepile (Moshito GM) and  Raphael Benza (Vth Season Founder).

To end the year, in February 2020, KUMISA celebrated ten years in building the music industry in KwaZulu-Natal. The end of this year has seen the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, impacting Eastern countries the most so far. It is predicted it will have an effect in all countries by the middle of the year 2020. Going forward, this means the world over will have to prepare for a new normal to survive and thrive.

That said, understanding and utilising the digital music business model has been a constant challenge. Most musicians have found it easy to upload their music to various digital stores with no expectations or understanding of how revenue is generated for their work. This lack of knowledge is due to most local musicians still not understanding how to make an income using the music streaming systems. Hence many local musicians still prefer the traditional method of selling music through physical means at music retail stores or during live performances where most consumers buy on impulse. With the implication of COVID-19 which we have already seen though not at full scale yet in South Africa, digitisation of music will have to be one of the 2020KUMISA objectives to strengthen support for our members, during these tough times that are to follow.

Another objective high on our 2020KUMISA agenda is the Copyright Amendment Bill which is yet to be signed into law by the President of the Republic of South Africa after it was adopted by parliament. The delay is linked to the “Fair Use” clause that may see multinational companies such as Google and YouTube using work with copyrights for free, without compensating the creator. This Bill has sparked conflict between music copyright owners and film actors who stand to gain from the Bill by receiving royalties each time their films air. Unfortunately, this does not translate to a favourable outcome for the music industry, and KUMISA plans to engage with all stakeholders to find amicable results for all. 

Based on what is currently experienced the world over due to COVID-19, it is only fair to acknowledge that this year is probably going to call on KUMISA to be innovative and open to change in serving its members. In response to COVID-19, the organisation will be launching new projects to help support and develop our members further.

Lindiwe Nqobile Kunene                                                                        Date: 29 February 2020

KUMISA Chairperson