Universal Records Nic Burger and Industry Innovator at Warner Music, Adrian King. Picture: Roland Mpofu.

Johannesburg - Upcoming music artists and entrepreneurs were given invaluable business management skills by veterans in the music industry during the 2019 Old Mutual Masterclass at the AMPD Studios in Newtown this week. 

Nic Burger, the head of digital operations at Universal Records, along with Warner Music's industry innovator, Adrian King, wrapped-up the masterclasses. The pair have over 20 years experience in managing and manoeuvring around the biggest recording label companies in the world. 

They reminded aspiring artists and entrepreneurs of the importance of seeing their music careers as a business lens and provided guidance on how to move up the charts.

Burger managed some of the most prolific brands and labels, as he's considered one of South Africa's leading dance A&Rs and Label Managers. King has managed record-breaking artists such as Zahara and Locnville. 

In ashow-and-tell format, they shared key insights that involve running a music stable, understanding contracts and deals, and insights into the law and music distribution and data platforms available. 

Research conducted on SA's music landscape by BMI (Broadcast Music Inc), the Executive Director and Writer/Publisher Relations for Europe & Asia has shown that South Africa is generating a huge supply of talent that has gone untapped. 

The abundance of potential in the South African music industry is not just limited to performers; it also extends to songwriters, producers and sound engineers. The prevailing issue for local artists finds its source in the publishing and record label sectors of the industry. 

Artists that are not represented properly can often find that their careers become stagnant. This disregard for the representation of local talent leaves these artists in a state of limbo.

"Brands are attracted to you when you can sell something," said Burger.

King advised that an email is just not enough these days. 

“You should have a hustler's approach and be willing to knock on doors," said King. 

King added that recording labels are now looking for more than just music. 

"We look at the quality of music, social media interaction and followers, data and live performances," said King.

As the industry is growing and opportunities arise in SA music, Burger and King also focused on some of the factors that could ensure longevity. 

"Record companies need to produce songs that will be used in adverts 10 years after the release and played on the radio 20 years after. The music landscape looks like it's going to be as big as it was in the 90s, but amplified with the help of Spotify, iTunes and Google Play Music," said Burger. 

"What Old Mutual has done with the AMPD Studio is amazing, in a way that artists are going to get the knowledge they need, in order not to repeat industry mistakes and prevent mishaps. Artists and creators must always remember that they are the drivers of their careers and ensure they have mutual agreements with their recording companies, to sustain their development and growth, so that they stay relevant, even for years to come," said Burger.

Sunday Independent