So please explain this to me:
Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45. He was worth an estimated $100m. The legendary Mahlathini who in my view was a talent up to that of Freddie Mercury died at the age of 61. There are not any reliable sources of knowledge for his net worth, but it’s commonly understood that it absolutely was not much.
South Africans artists are as talented as anyone else from any nation round the globe. So why then do our artists die poor? Are they lazy? Are they financially illiterate? Are they too smitten by some other person to create a living? Or do they merely have a fresh batch of bad luck? I have pondered on this question, and here are my 3 reasons why SA artists seldom escape the poverty trap:
You are a Business-man.
SA artists have to understand that they’re not just artists or creative beings. they’re talent-preneurs, they create their living through their talents. They have to concern themselves with all aspects of their business, sales, marketing, logistics and even financials.
Numbers aren’t just for accountants.
Getting well versed with the numbers of your business and knowing the difference between mark-up & margin of profit, net cash & accounts receivables or payment terms & assets don’t seem to be boring concepts just for the accountants. they’re logical pieces of information that tell you how much you’re creating, if at all.
Marriage is for lovers, not professional colleagues.
No one was born and bred to confirm that you just are successful. No one! You are doing that for yourself. I’ve got seen countless talent-preneurs (singers, actors, idols judges, dancers, footballers and even speakers) sign over their business to somebody else. They sign with an agent who earns 25% of their money (off the top) for facilitating a transaction.
So for merely learning the phone, taking a booking, sending a contract and getting the customarily non-complex logistics so as, talent-preneurs can pay 25c of each rand they earn to somebody else. That’s ridiculous; imagine Standard Bank gifting away 25% of everything they earn to some other person.
Often these agencies expect the talent to sign an “exclusivity agreement” with them but they never sign “exclusivity” with the talent. which suggests they’ll represent as many artists as they need & don’t have any vested interest on any particular artist being successful.
A television program doesn’t a brand make.
Many talent-preneurs have to understand that private branding isn’t marketing. Simply because you’re on TV, radio or the other media doesn’t mean you have got a “compelling value proposition” that customers can only access through you.
This can be often why for several of our talent-preneurs, radio or TV could be a necessity. Without it, they can not make a true living. So why is JayZ amongst the most effective selling Hip-Hop artists within the world & unlike LL Cool J and also the like, he doesn’t know nor have he ever had a TV program?
Why did Vocalizer set record music sales although he didn’t have a reality TV show on Bravo? Why did Lebo Mathosa leave an improbable trail of economic success as an artist while she failed to have a show on Vuzu? The answer is easy: Each of those talent-preneurs were so well versed in their trade and that i would argue understood the levers upon which their commercial success rested that they didn’t need the platform.
They ran their business sort of a business. They were answerable. Some took their own bookings or managed their offices. They built a rare brand around consumer experience. That’s why Afro-Jack has his plane, and tour bus and booking agency. They run it sort of a business.
So some recommendations to our talent-preneurs:
Tear the exclusivity agreement and don’t get to the 360 degrees deal whether or not you’re stranded. It’s your life and your business. Take ownership and drive it. Know your numbers. understand how many inquiries you’re getting, from whom, for what. If they don’t book you ask them why.
That’s how you gather market intelligence. Is somebody else hotter at that point, better, more affordable? The list is endless. The trick is to seek out out. Invest in your brand beyond an acting role, a radio show or TV presenter gig. Actually market yourself and do everything with quality.