SA joins digital music mainstream
“It’s cool in the sense that you don’t have to wait for people to play you on the radio or for someone to pick you up from TV; you can do it yourself and get as far as you are willing to push yourself,” said Yoza Mnyanda, one half of Darkie Fiction.
Some of the more popular musicstreaming platforms in South Africa include Apple Music, Google Play, Deezer, Tidal and the world’s biggest streaming platform, Spotify, which entered the South African market earlier this year.
Whereas some platforms such as Spotify and Deezer allow users to stream music for free, with limited functionality and in-app advertisements, services such as Apple Music and Tidal are strictly subscription based; users pay a monthly fee to get access to millions of songs. Subscription fees are R60 on most platforms but can go up to R160. On all platforms, you lose the music once you cancel the subscription.
Those who hold the rights to the songs are paid a fee every time someone streams the song. The fee can be split between the artist, record label, songwriters, producers and composers, depending on the arrangement agreed to by them.
Percy said that physical sales of music had been declining steadily and, although digital music was yet to make up for the loss in revenue, it was making considerable strides in getting there.
“One needs to remember that only one royalty is paid for the purchase of a physical product, irrespective of how many times a person listens to it once it is bought. Streaming, on the other hand, is royalty per individual stream. Therefore, whilst payout is lower, consumption is so much higher,” he said.
Statista forecasts that the revenue for digital streams in South Africa is expected to grow by 6.2% annually and will reach $28-million in the next five years.
Online streaming services such Spotify, whose services can be used for free by listeners, have come under fire from some of the biggest artists in the world about how much they pay artists for their music.
In 2014, global pop artist Taylor Swift took all her music off Spotify, explaining in an interview with Yahoo that she did not want to be on a platform that did not compensate artists fairly and perpetuating the idea that “music has no value and should be free”. She put her music back on the platform in 2017.
“I have not had a bad experience,” said Darkie Fiction’s Mnyanza on streaming royalties.
“I am not sure how much you get per stream but it does add up and it’s quite nice. Either way, you get your money off performances and deals. No one is expecting to make billions off itunes.”
Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust business journalist at the M&G
Moody’s doubts Eskom
Sovereign credit rating agency Moody’s says the credit implications of the government absorbing R100billion of Eskom’s government-guaranteed debt depends on what will be done to improve the bankrupt power utility’s financial health to reduce the government’s future contingent liabilities.
The utility raised the possibility of reducing its debt. If accepted, it could increase the state’s debt to gross domestic product ratio by two percentage points above what was announced in the medium-term budget policy.
“If the debt transfer grants further measures like efficiency savings and/ or tariff increases requested by the company in October that reduces this contingent liability risk, the overall credit impact of the debt transfer could be neutral,” said Eskom.
But Moody’s warned that there was no certainty of this happening because Eskom has already twice delayed its turnaround strategy.
Inflation up slightly
Consumer price inflation increased slightly in November to 5.2%, up from 5.1% in October, according to the latest report by Statistics South Africa. Consumer prices also went up by 0.2% month on month in November.
Interestingly, Statssa found that the cost of hot beverages was up 4.2% on last year’s. The biggest increase was recorded in rooibos tea, which was 18.5% more expensive than it was this time last year. Black tea was up by 4.9% but coffee beans dropped by 1%.
Buy a Tesla, boet
Elon Musk, days after announcing that he had no respect for United States financial regulators, treated South Africans to the news that his Tesla electric vehicles could be available locally by the end of next year.
Musk caused a furore in a television interview on 60 Minutes, in which he expressed his contempt for the Securities and Exchange Commission, reportedly saying: “I want to be clear, I do not respect the SEC.”
It had been investigating Musk for securities fraud after a tweet suggesting Tesla would be going private at $420 a share — a premium on the price at the time — and that funding had been secured. The tweet sent the share price careening. Musk settled with the SEC in September by agreeing to pay a $40-million penalty and to step down as Tesla board chairperson.
It is not the only controversial thing he has said and done this year. Others include famously describing questions from analysts on an investors’ conference “boring” and boneheaded, and apparently smoking weed during a podcast interview.
But it was Musk’s reply to a query on Twitter that has captured locals’ attention. Asked when a Tesla dealership would be opened “back home, boet”, Musk tweeted back “Probably end of next year”.
Now all we need is for Eskom to keep South Africa’s electricity flowing.
In last week’s edition of the Mail & Guardian, in the article titled “Struggling investments sting PIC”, we used the incorrect name for Mervin Muller, the executive head for private equity and structured investment products at the Public Investment Corporation. We regret the error.