It's a CapeTownThing for local musicians
CAPE Town has fast tracked the need for creatives, artists and entertainers to find new ways to remain creative and earn an income.
Mark Insley is the co-founder of CapeTownThing.co.za, a brand and website that started in 2018 and initially was an events company for artists.
Insley said: “My original business that I have run and grown over the last nine years is a wealth management company based in the UK. I was a trader and then started the business and grew it.”
He added: “I came for the (2010) World Cup for the first time and fell in love with the city. A few holidays later and I decided to set up an office in the Mother City. My friends and my network in Cape Town became creatives, artists, club owners and then I started CapeTownThing in 2018, but only really started taking it seriously in 2020.”
With a focus on musicians, singers, rappers and bands, CapeTownThing is a networking platform that Insley said allowed creatives to jump start their career.
Insley said: “We’re evolving and growing … We’ve set up a studio, we have in-house producers, we got mixing and mastering so from going to run events I set up a whole studio environment. We can do everything in the music making process, from the beat and the instrumental to the press release. We have a Spotify curation team.”
He admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic did give the business a boost. “Lockdown has only had a positive effect on our business and the reason I say that is because there is no shortage of motivated people, trying to see what we’re doing. Lots of friends of mine who worked in the club scene have lost their jobs.”
Insley added: “I’m losing count, we’ve taken on at least 20 staff members, people who have maybe worked in restaurants who are now drivers. We got a whole team of people who do our database for us.”
So almost overnight the business plan changed and Insley said it’s been a roller coaster ride. “In 2018 we were just trying to help artists who didn’t have the resources. When we first started it was just going to be an events company … We decided to put on events for artists so that they could showcase their work. We did a couple of yacht parties for artists, a few music videos, so that was the start … to provide a better events platform.”
CapeTownThing runs an ambassador programme which helps educate creative entrepreneurs about how best to navigate the local music industry. They have also started allowing artists to work for them in exchange for studio time, time with graphic designers and marketing experts to help build their careers.
Insley said the future was bright for the business and for the Cape Town music scene.
“I want to give Cape Town what it needs which is a platform for amazing artists … that can compete with London’s industry,” said Insley. He added: “I think I can also change the whole music publishing side, of how South African artists operate. I think we have the resources to change something, educate people better and to bring them in as artists to make sure they collect their songwriting royalties.”