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Welcome to the “music business self-directed learning certification” course.

There is a great need for everyone working in the South African music industries to have a common groundwork of knowledge about the business of music. On this page you can learn the basics and take an exam to test your knowledge and if you wish get the Ibilion Basic Music Business Certificate – once it’s finished of course…

This content is currently under construction. Please check back later.

Written by Jonathan G. Shaw

Last update: 16 June 2020

LESSON 1. Industrial Sectors

The business is made up of three major sectors: 1) the music publishing sector, 2) the recorded music sector, and 3) the live music sector. These three sectors make up what is referred to as the ‘music industries’. People often say ‘music industry’, but by using the plural of industry you show that you understand there are many sectors.

One way of understanding these sectors and how they work, is to look at a supply chain. For the music industries, we can use a fundamental supply chain which links creators, enablers, revealers and facilitators to consumers. Here, rights owners of works (creators) transfer ownership or licenses of those works to managers like music publishers and record companies (enablers). These managers then try to get broadcasters, online retailers, film companies, and other ‘users’ (revealers) to use the copyright works to make money in the form of royalties. Other organisation, and government, smooth the relationships between these different role-players (facilitators). I refer to this as the ‘fundamental creative industries supply chain’.

Lesson 1. Questions

1. How many main sectors are there in the music business?
2. Can you describe the music industries’ supply chain?
3. What is the role of an ‘enabler’ role-player in the music industries?

LESSON 2. Copyright

The music industries are built upon the ownership and financial interest in intellectual property (IP). Significantly, a sub-category of IP called copyright.

Songs are separate to recordings. Owners of songs have their own rights, while owners of recordings also have their own rights. Broadly, these rights can be summarised together as:

  • Performing / performing / performer rights
  • Reproduction rights
  • Publishing rights
  • Adaptation rights

Copyright exists for categories of works. The owner of those works has particular rights for each category of work they own. Categories of copyright works include:

  1. Literary works
  2. Musical works
  3. Artistic works
  4. Cinematograph
  5. Sound recordings
  6. Broadcasts
  7. Programme-carrying signals
  8. Published editions
  9. Computer programs.

Joel Baloyi speaking on the Copyright Amendment Bill (2017)
Nhlanhla Sibisi speaking on the Copyright Amendment Bill (2019)

LESSON 3. Contracts

Here I’ll discuss music industry contracts.

What king of contracts have you entered into while doing business with music?

LESSON 4. Revenue Streams

Money can be made in a lot of ways from music, from royalties to live performances, Here I’ll discuss broad revenue streams.

How have you been able to make money in the music business?

LESSON 5. Collective Management

Rights licensed together are often called ‘blanket’ licenses, as they set one price, or tariff, for a lot of copyright works. These royalties are collected by groups of owners, referred to as ‘collective management’. Being a member of these organisations, you can participate in how they operate.

Collective management organisations (CMOs) can be divided into four broad categories:

  • Performing rights (musical and literary works, i.e. songs)
  • Mechanical rights (reproduction of musical and literary works, i.e. songs)
  • Performance or neighbouring rights (sound recordings)
  • Performer rights (artists that feature on sound recording performances)

The Southern African Music Rights Organisations (SAMRO) administers performing rights on behalf of copyright owners of musical and literary works (songs):

Nkateko Maluleke introduces SAMRO (2020)
SAMRO Membership Video (2015)
SAMRO Royalty Distribution Video (2015)

The Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) administers ‘mechanical’ rights on behalf of copyright owners of musical and literary works (songs):

CAPASSO Introductory Video (2020)
Former-CEO Nothando Migogo explains mechanical royalties (songs) (2016)
Former-CEO Nothando Migogo talking on KFM about mechanical royalties (2016)
Technologies like Blockchain may revolutionise collective management

SABC committed to local content: Kganyago

Music video deal between AIRCO and SABC, April 2015

SAMPRA and AIRCO, SABC deal, April 2020

LESSON 6. Artist Management

Artists need to know how to run their business, and when to take on a manager.

Who is helping you achieve your goals in the music business?

Rapheal Domalik on artist management and new business models (2011)

LESSON 7. Marketing

More than ever, artists and their representation have so many ways to get their music out to the public.

How are you getting people to listen to your music?

eNCA: SA music industry reaches all time low


8 October 2015

eNCA: New artists being charged to get radio air time

November 2015

Technology trends

Jonathan Shaw speaking about how technology is affecting the music industries

EXAM TIME. Test your knowledge

We are busy working on an exam to test your knowledge and issue a self-directed learning certificate.

Do you have any questions? Give us a shout!