Featured Music Music Industry Insights Reviews

The Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit: Positioning The Creative Industry To Be An Economic Driver

The 12th of December 2019 marked the beginning of a new dawn for the creative industry of the province of the rising sun. It could easily be said that the day was the beginning of a new era for the creative fraternity of South Africa. The Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit, a summit concept which is designed to be a driver and provider of economic growth, social impact and the business in the creative sector. ‘Where Art Meets Africa‘ is the summit’s tagline and that alone gives you insight into the big plans that exist for this conference — a gathering which aims to be highly localised and rooted in housing delegates from different regions in Africa and the world for three days. The summit serves as a manifestation of the great vision of Stanley Khoza, respected Mpumalanga-born creative industry leader and Vice President of AIRCO SA, to build structures and platforms to boost the creative economy of the beautiful province of Mpumalanga.

“For us as AIRCO South Africa, we have taken a clear decisive decision to make sure that the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit focuses on semi-urban and rural areas of our people. This is where a majority of our performing artists suffer. It is our responsibility to ensure that we unlock the economic power and value so that our people can benefit from the economy” says Chairperson of the AIRCO South Africa. Rooted in the objectives of why the summit exists is driving socio-economic progression which is to better the lives of those in the creative economy and those entertained by creative practitioners (the masses). More than anything, the summit is designed to be multi-disciplinary; covering the arts in its entirety from music to fashion to film and more.

image of mandla maseko
Honourable Mandla Maseko, Chairperson of the Association of Independent Record Companies South Africa.

The summit is supported by organisations such as the Gauteng Film Commission, AIRCO SA, South African Tourism, the National Lotteries Commission and the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of South Africa and more are to be added. These organisations are not only sponsors, but they are stakeholders that have a direct vested interest in the growth of the economy of South Africa through mediums of creativity. A ripple effect of change driven by collaboration, education and social empowerment is to be expected as the bigger vision is to have more platforms like this in all South African provinces.

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Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit Press Conference. 12 December 2019.

“Many people don’t know that many big blockbuster films were shot in the province of Mpumalanga. Award-winning international films like Blood Diamonds were shot in the province. And most importantly, Mpumalanga is home to legendary and world-renowned artist Dr. Esther Mahlangu. This province has a lot to offer and the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit aims to encourage and promote the talent and treasure that exists in Mpumalanga” says Stanley Khoza.

image of mpumalanga creative summit
The beauty of the Mpumalanga province.

By structure; the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit is to have two days of workshopping, networking and education with the last day being a day dedicated to exploring the tourism presented by the province. Industry thought leaders, artists, business people and the masses are to gather at the Emnotweni Arena in the capital city of Mpumalanga — Mbombela. The summit is to happen every December and it promises to be a catalyst for growth in culture, the arts and business.

To get more updates on the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit, visit their website here. The new decade promises to bring development and change in the creative industry.

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Culture + Tech: Using Data Science To Enhance The African Creative Industry

It’s December 2019, we have reached the end of what we would think was a great decade. A decade characterised by new inventions, shifts in culture and schools of thought. The changes in society are evident and with technology enabling us to do more in an automated way, humans are buying themselves more time to think, feel and be in the moment as robots are taking over many of the tasks that we once had no choice but to do (manually). When humans have more time, they are afforded the ability of enhancing their creativity. Think about that for a moment, when we have more time, we will have the luxury of tapping into a more spiritual and creative side of the human experience, and the assumption there would be that humans will direct their focus to things that meaning.

Sure, technology has its dangers and hazards; and if powerful tech sits in the wrong hands or is created by people that do not prioritise the honest reflection of the diversity that the world carries by building inherently-biased applications, we will continue to have issues. The opportunities presented by technology, and as we enter into the new decade, are immense and with the growing human need for entertainment and creativity as we’ll have more time; adequately preparing for the creative boom by up-skilling ourselves in tech is a no-brainer. What do I mean by this? The new decade that we going into is one where most, if not all, tasks are going to be increasingly automated power by artificial intelligence. For any AI-driven tech, you often need large sets of data to and to extract value from it, we need the skills to operate the tools that will help us mine the data to deliver value. Data science, described as one of the most exciting careers of the future, is a field that is already being used for the entertainment space but the catch is that they are owned by the tech companies, your Apples, Netflix’s, Spotify’s etc. Just to break it down, data science is a described as a multidisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge from unstructured and structured data. With data science as a tool, we can build tech that matters and will provide the platforms to springboard us into future.

Very few creatives are up-skilling themselves to be future-proof because the rules of engagement of industry are changing in the new decade and we ought to be ready for it. In the new decade, to survive and deliver maximum value to industry and the masses (in my humble opinion), you need to equip yourself with the right skills. Just being a traditional journalist won’t cut it, the media industry has drastically changed in the last decade and we saw many, once glorified, media houses tank because of failure to innovate in a highly fast-paced and digital world. Just being a musician won’t be enough, there are AI-driven bots that are capable of making music, and as much as the music industry started seeing increased revenue in the last few years; the tech companies have been integral in this growth. Now don’t me wrong, I am not saying that robots are going to take over the world, but they are going to get pretty and seriously close. As artists or supporters of culture, in our various professions/interests, can be owners of the channels through which deliver value to the world. The people who will own the best tech that will deliver convenience and value quick are going to be rulers of industry. This has already started happening in a lot of industries and everyone is scrambling to beef up their tech departments to prepare for the wave that is to come. Culture changes and moves with time and it can be beautifully and perfectly merged with tech to create new experiences for humanity.

To truly and radically transform the African creative industry, we need to take the necessary steps to drive innovation in the space. We need our own tech platforms, built by creatives for creatives and the masses to enjoy; from streaming platforms to AI-driven bots that will us with discovery, the facilitation of connections and problem solving. The creative of the future is a dynamic one; they can code, build actionable business models and are insanely dope creatives. We do not have a shortage of ‘insanely dope creatives’ in the African continent (admit it, Africans are nice) but we do have a shortage of in the creative space is tech talent that will drive industry forward. Culture and tech do not have to war. They co-exist symbiotically for the goodness and the betterment of humanity. As 2020 draws nearer and nearer, let us make the means as the creative industry to build tech that we can own, that is culturally-relevant and inherently designed for our people. With ownership embedded in our minds and rooted in how we move, we can encourage consistent innovation. I mean, we do live in a continent where humanity began, let’s show the world where the real juice comes from.

Featured Music Music Industry Insights Reviews

MTN SWAMA 2019: The Best Gospel Category Playlist

The 3rd edition of The MTN SWAMA Awards is seven days away, with voting having recently ended,
everyone is looking forward to who will be taking home one of the most prestigious awards in the kingdom of eSwatini. With a dress theme of Glitz and Glamour, the Royal Swazi Convention Centre will the place to be on the 7th of December, celebrating all of the hardworking Swati artists. In light of this, we will be curating a daily playlist that will feature every nominee from each category until the day of the event. The main aim of these playlists is to promote these artists to a wider audience and prove that they were nominated deservingly.

With this curated playlist, we feature the Best Gospel Artist category. According to Wikipedia, “gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics.

Nothando Hlophe – Uyangilelwa
Ever since her debut, Nothando Hlophe has been marvelous and a fan favorite. This song is taken off her album recorded live at the Soweto Theatre in South Africa. It talks about how God is fighting and winning battles for her.

Samu Manana – Uyasebeka
Not new to the music scene, having been with Ncwandeni Christ Ambassadors. Uyasebeka is a SiSwati song praising and thanking God for His greatness and no one like Him. She talks about God’s sovereignty, eternal reign and makes couple of bible references thus why she’s bursting into song and praising Him. This is one of those modern gospel songs with a strong message.

Linda Dlamini – Lona ngumnyaka wetfu
This is a song reassuring believers that this is the year that we are going to be remembered by the Heavens. This song was an instant hit among the gospel fraternity because of the it’s message and was on high rotation on local radio stations.

Mimzkhlu – Hallelujah
Mimzkhulu is a gospel hip hop artist who has been making waves since his debut. On this song, he features Skhubash, and they are appreciating God for being merciful and not neglecting them despite being a sinful human.

Phetsile Masilela – Imphilo yami
Imphilo Yami is another song giving thanks to the Lord, she emphasizes that her life is fully and wholly dependent on God and states how God is her comforter and shield. This is another fan favorite amongst the gospel fraternity.

Police Male Voices
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any of their songs online but having heard their music a number of times I can safely say that they are well deserving nominees and have been in the music industry for a while and continued to deliver amazing music. Watch a recent performance by Police Male Voices.

Business Featured Music Industry Insights Reviews

The New Frontier: An African Startup Focused Show Crafted To Highlight Real Entrepreneurship Stories

In September, two Johannesburg based entrepreneurs; Lungile Mayindi and Nkululeko Nkosi embarked on a journey of creating and crafting content focused on the startup journey in Africa. Now this content is not structured to give people wishy-washy and fantastical ideas of entrepreneurship; its focus is impart real knowledge, provide interesting insights and deliver value in the form of truth.

Lungile Mayindi is a young entrepreneur who hails from the East Rand region of Johannesburg, who is now based in the North of Johannesburg and has his own production company called Iron Heart Films. Nkululeko Nkosi is a Mpumalanga-born and Johannesburg based entrepreneur who co-founded WeDigitize Agency — a digital and solutions-focused agency. The two started the Youtube series to provide meaningful content about the startup journey, content that will be real and speak to the difficulties of the entrepreneurial journey and how one should manoeuvre the business world as a young African startup founder.

Topics such as avoiding burning and staying consistency, the struggles of entrepreneurship, how to network and book recommendations for entrepreneurs. The channel is structured to be an edu-tainment

Watch the releases episodes below.

More videos are going to be shared and the two entrepreneurs look forward to connecting more with other entrepreneurs in South Africa and Africa. It is their contribution to the African startup scene and they hope to deliver tangible value to their viewers and target audience.

Business Featured Music Music Industry Insights

AMPD Studios Gems: How To Get Your Single On Radio?

AMPD Studios is a platform and creative hub developed by Old Mutual to support the South African music industry and contribute positively to the youth culture in the country. As part of their efforts to equip young musicians and other types of creatives is the a feature called AMPD Studios Gems which is a feature designed to provide insights to young musicians. For this feature, AMPD Studios gets insights from radio legend, Cath Grenfell, who focuses on the topic: How to get your single on radio?

She shares the following advice:

– Decide on a single. This is really important. Playlisters at radio stations get hundreds of tracks to listen to. They don’t have the time to listen to your whole EP.

– Give a brief intro to your band in the email, with your contact and social media details, as well as the details of the track, which includes your ISRC code.

– Attach a mp3 of your single under 5mb for listening purposes.

– Name the mp3 attachment as “Your Band Name” + “Song Name”.

– Give them download links for bigger versions of the file – mp3 and wav format.

– Ask them for feedback.

– If someone gives you feedback and take it as constructive criticism.

– Listen to different radio stations and hear what their format is before submitting. There is no point in submitting a heavy metal track to a radio station that only plays hip hop: you are wasting your time as well as a music compiler.

– If you get no response. Try again the following week, and then the following week. Don’t spam a radio station. And don’t get your fans on social media to spam a radio station. It just pisses them off. And then you’re screwed.

– Make sure the track you are submitting is not a demo. Make sure that it is finished, mixed and mastered.

– Have a strategic plan for your tracks if you have an EP or album. Decide on the first single and then your second single etc.

– If your first single is successful, then keep an eye on how it is doing in charts etc. If it is climbing the charts, then hold off on your second single. If it doesn’t chart, or isn’t doing anything. Move onto submitting your second single.

– If your 1st single doesn’t succeed in playlisting (after trying a few times) move onto your next single.

– If you are submitting a single to a commercial radio station (FM radio stations etc) then make sure it is clean. Meaning there should be no swear words.

– If you are submitting to an internet radio station. Give them 2 MP3 options. The original version as well as the clean version so they can decide what they would like to playlist.

– Make sure that you submit a radio edit. Radio stations generally like songs that are around 3 minutes. So if you can edit long intros etc. Do it!

– Do some investigation into radio stations and find out who is interested in music. Send those people your tracks as well as the music compiler. This means going onto the radio stations website to get the playlist email address. Or following radio people on social media to see if they support music.

– Invite radio people to your gigs. You never know – they might turn up and like your stuff and it helps with playlisting.

– If a playlister says it doesn’t suit their format, then listen to the station and understand that your track possibly doesn’t suit the format. Each radio station generally has a format they like to play. They could possibly only play kwaito, or house, or hip hop or top40 commercial music.

– Don’t give up and Don’t be a dick and get upset if a radio station won’t play your stuff!

That’s it! Happy Sunday.

Words by Cath Grenfell brought to you by AMPD Studios powered by Old Mutual.

Business Events Featured Music Music Industry Insights

Win A R30,000 Music Package With Moshito In Partnership With MTV, BET & Downtown Music Hub

For young and up-and-coming artists, breaking into the music industry is difficult and carries a myriad of challenges that prevent them from succeeding. With the understanding of this insight, the Moshito Music Conference and MTV build the Moshito MTV Base Demo Presentation where up-and-coming artists can used their talents to score themselves a music package that is worth R30,000 to help them kickstart their careers.

The Moshito MTV Base Demo Presentation is an effort to provide artists a shot a huge break which includes; an opportunity to having the artist’s song sampled on a number of radio stations, professional demo recording and press kit development. These are things that young and up-and-coming artists cannot afford and by entering this competition they can cut these costs and be seeded into the right circles in the music industry. With support from Downtown Music Hub, this competition opens up a great door for aspirant future game changers in music to make their presence felt in the music industry.

READ: The 16th Edition of the Moshito Music Conference Focuses on Women. 


image of moshito mtv demo presentation
Image supplied.

The Moshito MTV Base Demo Presentation is open to all musicians and takes place on 2 September 2019 at Bassline (Newtown Music Factory) from 11am -4pm. There is no cover charge and it is absolutely free for all participants. A panel of expert judges in the music world including radio compilers, celebrity guests and music industry experts will select the 20 artists with the most promising potential. The qualifying 20 will be called back on September 2019 where the winner will take all.

For more information visit the Moshito here.

Culture Events Featured Music Music Industry Insights

The eSwatini International Trade Fair Presents ‘The Music Business Seminar’

The eSwatini International Trade Fair (EITF) aims to promote eSwatini’s goods and services; develop links between eSwatini and international businesses, provide business exposure and promote development of small and medium enterprises. The two week long fair also gives a platform to local and international musicians to showcase their talent. The eSwatini Investment Authority (EIPA) partners with the Swaziland Arts and Music Association (SWAMA) and Association of Christian Artists in Swaziland (ACASWA) to handle the musical side of the trade fair.

The main attraction for musicians is the business seminar. “There is a great need for artists to transform their informal ‘hustle’ into formal processes that can be quantified” SWAMA president shares about the business seminar. “It is high time the music industry’s contribution to the economy gets quantified, and the only way that can happen is when artists themselves, get formal training on managing their music and brands as a business” he adds.

Artists are business people, they are employers, they are creatives and most importantly they have a product or skill to sell. This business seminar will equip artists in aspects that are necessary to advancing their careers and in turn make money through their talents. The business seminar will be on the 2nd of September from 11 AM with the main speaker being DJ Cleo of Eskhaleni Fame. Entrance is free and all artists are invited at Mavuso Trade Centre —  the business centre right above the restaurants.

SWAMA has also invited successful, hardworking local and international artists to come and connect with local musicians on various topics. Topics to be covered during the seminar will answer the question of where the money is within the scope of the music business in eSwatini and beyond.

eSwatini International Trade Fair: Music Business Seminar Full Package

  • Royalties – Ms Nobuhle Matsebula (Ministry of Commerce Legal Adviser & Intellectual Rights Registrar)
  • Gigs & Live Performances – Steven Mtetwa (Artist Manager – So Fresh)
  • Digital Opportunities & Streaming – Mmeli Hlanze (Antidote Music)
  • Events – Mthunzi Shadow Zwane (Swaziboy Entertaiment)
  • Licensing & Scoring for TV & Film – Rendition (Motherland X)
  • Teaching music – Velemseni
  • Producing for other Musicians and Corporates – Mozaik The Producer (Claiming Ground Records)
  • Session Work – Sizwe Mabuza Big Siz (Project S Cubed Band)
  • Merchandising – Touch of Soul
  • Sound Hire – Khulekani Karly B Mamba
  • Financial Literacy – Mandla Cheeks Nxumalo (Leserato)
Culture Featured Music Music Industry Insights

[EVENT]: Antidote Music Presents ‘Tomorrow’

One of the kingdom of eSwatini’s top record label, Antidote Music, is pushing for widespread music industry growth for the small Southern African nation. Over the last seven years, they have contributed immensely to the Swazi music industry, unearthing talent that has went to achieve great success in the international music space. To further expand their offerings, they redirect their focus to include an educational and skills development angle to their work, and they aim to do this by organizing workshops with a focus on offering mentorship, brand development and the landscape of music industry in the digital era to young people in the kingdom. This move is designed to ensure that young artists equip themselves with enough knowledge so they can build successful careers in an industry that is well-known for being tough for many.

The workshop is called Tomorrow and it is happening this weekend on the 20th of July at the Endibanweni, Mbabane Library. The theme of the workshop is “An Introduction to the Digital Music Age” and it promises to be insightful, impactful and packed with value.

antidote music presents tomorrow artwork
RSVP for this incredible event and initiative here. Alternatively, you can RSVP by sending an email here:

Come t

Business Featured Music Music Industry Insights

A Call For Musicians & DJs From The Global South To Apply For The Goethe Talents Scholarship 2019

The Goethe Institut in collaboration with the »Pop-Kultur« are offering a life-changing opportunity for musicians and DJs that live in the global south, middle east and central Asia; to get an scholarship to a 10 day programme built to equip them with necessary skills needed to navigate the industry. Now running for the fifth year, the scholarship programme offers an experience of Berlin, networking sessions with industry professionals, educational workshops and other beneficial activities to young artists.

The scholarship programme is directed a musicians between the ages of 20 and 30 who have some industry experience and have a great grasp of the English language. Artist based in the global south are encouraged to apply which means if you are an artist based anywhere in Southern Africa, you can grab this opportunity to learn, grow and connect with artists from different regions.

Durban based artist, ByLwansta, took part in this scholarship in 2017 and while in Berlin; he got an amazing opportunity to be featured on Colors Studio and his video on the platform is sitting on over six hundred thousand views. Now if that’s not enough motivation, we don’t know!

Apply here. Applications close on the 17th of April.

Watch the Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs 2018 aftermovie below.

Follow the Goethe Institut on Facebook, Twitter and their website for more updates.

Business Events Featured Music Music Industry Insights

The 2018 Dance Music Awards South Africa: Voting Now Open

Over the past decade, South Africa has taken great strides in cementing her place as the dance music capital of not only Africa but arguably the world. Yet, dance music as a genre and culture had lacked its own set of awards to honour DJs, producers, artists and contributors of one of Mzansi’s biggest music genres. The Dance Music Awards South Africa seek to acknowledge and honour the contributions of the former mentioned key players in dance music. This year marks the second installment of the awards.

The DMASA are an audience-based awards event in which users get to nominate and vote for their preferred candidates purely through the DMASA website. This year’s nominations closed on the 17th August and the Top 5 nominees per category were announced on the 22nd August which also marked the beginning of the online voting process. 2018 sees the addition of a rather obvious category, Best Gqom Record of the Year, bringing the total number of categories to 20. Voting closes on the 19th September and the winners are due to be announced on the 27th September. The winners will then be invited to a private honorary dinner where they can collect their physical awards.

Voting is now open. Visit the DMSA website to vote here.

Cape Town’s resurgence within Mzansi’s dance music scene continues to be the order of this year as Capetonian Dwson leads the pack with four nominations – Album of the Year, Best House Record of the year, Best Underground Record of the year and Remix of the Year. Evidently, women are gradually taking their deserved placed within Mzansi’s dance music scene as, songstress and record label owner, Jackie Queens bagged four nominations as well – Best Female Vocalist of the Year, Best House Record of the Year, Best EDM Record and Remix of the Year. Black Coffee, Londie London, Kid Fonque and Cornelius SA aren’t far off the mark with three nominations each.


It seems 5FM is South Africa’s most favoured radio station of choice when it comes to dance music as the station dominated the Best Dance Radio Show category with three out of five nominations – Selective Styles with Kid Fonque, InDasWeTrust and The Kyle Cassim Show. The station will go face off with Metro FM’s Urban Beat and YFM’s #ThePlayersClub for the title of Best Dance Radio Show.

Through the DMASA one can look forward to seeing their favourite artists, producers and DJs getting recognised and rewarded for their efforts and sacrifices but this can only happen if and only if one votes. So head over to the DMASA website, sign-up and vote for your preferred winner over 20 categories.

Follow the Dance Music Awards South Africa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit their website here.