The Star Late Edition

African muso survey to help creatives earn more income

- MPILETSO MOTUMI mpiletso.motumi@inl.co.za

THE Music in Africa Foundation (Miaf) has launched a multi-faceted initiative aimed at guiding African music creators to earn more income from their works.

Songwriter­s, performers, producers, and all creatives are invited to participat­e in the Revenue Streams for African Musicians (RSFAM) survey.

Since 2012, Miaf has been a source of reliable African music content.

“We aim to create an environmen­t where we have musicians and the music sector able to find a way to connect, and allow for growth in music markets and accessibil­ity through artist bookings etc,” said project manager

Violet Maila.

She said Miaf started as an online portal where content around African music is promoted.

“We try to create a point of accessibil­ity and informatio­n and give musicians and artists tools they can use. We are stationed across the continent where we have journalist­s that are finding and writing content from the different regions of Africa.”

She added that music education was a big element for the foundation and they managed to do this through the portal and off-line projects.

“These are projects that start to activate and implement the things we try to achieve. For example, we host a music conference, one of the biggest pan-African conference­s, called Acces, and we host it in a different country every year, where we have content sharing, networking and showcasing African music,” she said.

The foundation also has projects where they work with indigenous knowledge systems.

“IBR – the instrument building and repair project – is one such project, where we work with indigenous knowledge systems and musicians about building traditiona­l instrument­s and how to make money from them.”

The Revenue Streams for African Musicians project fits into this.

“This pilot project is for us to find out what revenue streams exist for musicians, how they use those revenue streams, and eventually, be able to give musicians a sense of how they can then diversify their revenue streams.”

For the project, artists can respond to questions that will relate to the income and profitabil­ity of their trade.

“What we hope to do with that informatio­n is to extract that data, analyse it and turn it into usable tools or tutorials that can live online or be turned into brochures, so musicians can have access to that informatio­n and see how, within the space and market, they operate in how they can use those tools.”

Maila said African musicians’ earning streams were not the same as internatio­nal standards.

“The experience of musicians is that they are always trying to compete with the internatio­nal standards but those don't necessaril­y work in

South Africa or across the continent. Streaming can be profitable for someone in the US, but it may not be the case here.”

Maila added that the survey would be available online until the end of July and that field researcher­s would be conducting surveys for those who would not have access to the online portal.

“The bigger picture for the project is to give varied income streams options to musicians but also to advocate for policy and legislatio­n that can hopefully change to work for musicians.

“There's a big element where we will meet with policy experts, look at the data we have consolidat­ed and hopefully will be able to write up informatio­n for government.”

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