The CTEMF Open End: Electronic Music Industry workshops took place two weeks ago at the Red Bull Studio Cape Town on Tuesday the 27th March, Wednesday the 28th and Thursday the 29th. Organised as a lead up to the actual Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF), they were intended to illuminate the complex and fascinating South African music industry with a focus on the Electronic Music scene.
The key speakers came from all corners of the diverse SA music world, from artists to those behind the scenes, and each carried with them a combination of unique expertise and unbridled knowledge. The sessions were hosted by Red Bull Studio manager, Richard Rumney, and were free for anyone to attend which meant that from start to finish the Studio was packed with hungry minds eager to learn about the often misunderstood music industry.
Tuesday's sessions were focused on the business of music, and aimed at taking a look at the nuts and bolts of the local music industry. The first session, entitled The Electronic Music Industry 2012, featured industry experts Maximillian Kaizen (Creative Commons), Hilton 'Roach' Roth (African Dope) and Hagar Graiser (Jump Media / Cape MIC). The three musical minds divulged information about crucial music industry issues most notably music copyright. In the end one of the key messages to come out of the sessions was that in the modern world, although one needs to stills tale into account traditional copyright channels, one also needs to take into account progressive copyright channels such as Creative Commons.
By the time that Black Coffee and his manager, Amaru Da Costa got on the couch, the Studio had the vibe of a bustling night-club. The local House legend spoke about his success and revealed what goes into running his label Soulistic Music. His manager spoke about how he came to work with Black Coffee and detailed exactly what goes into managing a full time DJ and producer.
Wednesday was an action packed day with no less than four sessions focused on earning a living in the music industry. First up Allan Nicol (Soul Candi), Justin de Nobrega (Die Antwoord / Jack Parow) and Dominique Silva (Nokia Services Manager) sat down to talk about releasing music in 2012, revealing that although things are changing rapidly, music does still sell in South Africa particularly House Music DJ mixes / compilations and Afrikaans music of just about any genre.
Afterward, the incredibly talented Justin De Nobrega stepped down and Justin R. Melville (AIRBORNE) and Zani Botes (Lighter Traffic) joined Allan and Dominique to talk about digital distribution and what their respective companies have to offer. While AIRBORNE is forging a unique way of releasing music online, Nokia Music offers an iTunes-like method and Lighter Traffic is looking at ways of utilizing South Africa's most popular social network, Mxit. In the end its best to look at what all these companies have to offer and choose to approach whichever looks best to you as an artist.
Next up Pierre Coetzee (The Assembly), Dominique Gawlowski (Griet), Jake Lipman (sSHADOWORKSs) and Regan Tacon (Nano Records, Goodtimes Events) came up to talk about how to approach getting gigs. The overall sentiment is that as an artist you should do the work of a manager and booking agent for yourself first to understand what goes into working with venues and promoters but ultimately you need these music industry professionals to help you get the gigs that pay best and give you the right exposure.
The final session of the day saw two of South Africa's most prolific and pioneering Electronic Music makers, Sibot and Markus Wormstorm who sat down to talk about the rise of Electronica in Cape Town and the rest of SA and their work together as the Glitch-Hop group the Real Estate Agents and how it influenced the scene as it is today. They also spoke about their other succesful projects with artists such as Spoek Mathambo and what lead them to their current critically received solo projects. The highlight was when they jammed out with some of the classic gear they used to play with, and the rapturous applause from the audience indicated that it was a special moment to witness.
The last day of the CTEMF Open End as a little more chilled out compared to the days before but no less informative. First up Uno de Waal (Trigger Isobar / 10and5) and Steven Elsworth (Audiophile 021) spoke about using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and even MySpace to promote your career as an artist. The basic message was that although its obvious that you need to have Facebook and Twitter pages, having a Soundcloud page is as, if not more important.
After that The editors of two of South Africa's leading music magazines, Miles Keylock (Rolling Stone SA) and Dave Mac (BPM & Muse) sat down to detail the changes in music media over the years, overview what goes into editing and publishing a music magazine and underlined the key point that print media is still very much not dead.
The last session of the day was with Nick Sabine the founder of Resident Advisor. RA is possibly the biggest online Dance and Electronic Music portal and a shining example of how an online publication can be such a force to be reckoned with. Nick spoke about the history of the publication and his interest in having more South African music featured on the site. One of the things to stand out from the talk is that in over ten years RA has not changed that much but continues to be the online mecca of the Dance and Electronic world.
After three days of non-stop informative sessions taking a look at not only the Electronic Music industry, but in essence the entire local music industry, it was clear that the sessions had revealed just the tip of the ice-berg. But it was time to take a rest from thinking about what goes on behind the scenes and simply enjoy the music which came in the form of the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival.
We at the Red Bull Studio very much hope that, like the CTEMF which will take place every year as a mark of local Electronic Music, the CTEMF Open End: Electronic Music Workshops will equally become a highlight on the global music calendar.