Top South African musicians get paid up to R250,000 per gig – here’s how

Business Insider SA

(Instagram, @iamdaskapital)
(Instagram, @iamdaskapital)
  • Top South African artists get paid between R10,000 and R250,000, an industry expert says.
  • But most artists should expect to earn roughly R1,500 to R3,000 per show. 
  • Good music helps get artists noticed – but a lot more work is needed to book a big performance.

Top South African musician earns anything between R10,000 and R250,000 per performance, Ashley Brown, a festival sales and marketing manager, says.

Most artists should, however, expect to earn roughly R1,500 to R3,000 per show until they are big enough to be worth the big money.

“You have to make sure you receive income from all the possible income streams available to you,” Brown tells Business Insider South Africa.

Artists should diversify their income streams by selling merchandise at events, doing corporate shows and even modelling, Brown, who has worked at major festivals such as Plett Rage, Rocking the the Daisies, Sanlam Woordfees, and the Cape Town Carnival, says.

Artists can expect to earn R50,000 per million plays through music streaming, which has all but replaced physical music sales.

Also read: These are the best (and cheapest) ways to listen to streaming music in South Africa

“The big money, however, come is when brands are signing you due to your influence in your large following of fans which could influence their consumption and purchasing habits.”

(Instagram, @iamdaskapital)
(Instagram, @iamdaskapital)

Capetonian DJ Das Kapital, who have been nominated for five South African Dance Music Awards and won Best EDM single in 2017, says producing good music is best way to getting noticed in the industry.

“Even if it’s your hobby, work it like it’s your job. If you’re going to create a song, for example, finish the project, put it out yourself or send it to labels, and start working immediately,” Das Kapital told Business Insider South Africa.

“Don’t think everything you create has to be good. The act of creating is often as important as the end product, if not more so.”

(You can listen to Das Kapital's music here.)

With music in hand, artists should then focus on “engaging with the scene”.

“That means going to the events you want to play at. Learning their audience. Making an effort to meet people in the scene,” says Das Kapital

“Work out release plans. Co-ordinate your social media posts to engage with the people that are most likely to consume your work – your fans and followers – in the manner that best suits them.”

“From there, it’s all about conducting yourself professionally.”

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