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Music is one of the biggest sectors within the broader creative industries. It is also an important contributor to nation building and social cohesion. South Africa is the 25th-largest market for recorded music, with the industry employing more than 20 000 people. Local music accounts for a third of all the music bought by South Africans.

Township jazz and blues, especially the kwela music of the forties and fifties, are being redefined, while the country has a rich choral tradition and pop and rock musicians have made their mark internationally. Even techno-rave and house music have found their own variations in local culture. Kwaito and hip-hop are very popular, combining elements of rap, reggae and other musical styles into a distinctly South African style. Kwaai Jazz is also gaining momentum.

Music is one of the key cultural industries identified in the Cultural Industrial Growth Strategy Report, and government has committed itself to harnessing its potential. In addition to its cultural value, music plays an important economic role in the country, generating significant copyright revenue.

In this industry, the department has solid foundations to build on. These include the annual Moshito Music Market and Exhibition, Institutional Developments like support for the Association of Independent Record Companies of South Africa (AIRCO).  The Taking South African Music to the World Programme is aimed at improving export opportunities for South African music.

The Department of Arts and Culture funds a number of musical ensembles directly and indirectly, through the NAC.


Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition

The Department of Arts and Culture continues to host the annual Moshito Conference and Exhibition, which has become a key music event on the African continent.

The exhibition is aimed at promoting collaboration among players from both the private and public sectors.

The annual event is designed to provide opportunities for business networking; information exchange; music-business education; promotion and product development for national music producers, performers, individuals and entities providing support services; as well as to strengthen business opportunities for the music industry and related media.


The Department continues to support Moshito Music Market and Exhibition. Moshito is a local annual music industry trade-show comprising of conference, exhibitions, sale of music products and services as well as music business seminars.

Moshito was established against the backdrop that the music industry, both at a global and domestic level, is experiencing extraordinary transformation. Factors such as globalization, mergers and acquisitions, competition from traditionally non-music companies, and technological innovation are forcing companies to re-think and re-align their business strategies. In this new environment companies are required to, amongst other things, create new revenue streams, tap into new markets, increase market share and cut down operational costs. Further, they are expected to cater to the ever-changing expectations and requirements of consumers who are increasingly better informed about their choices and are more demanding. This requires a constant attention to business strategies on the part of all members of the music industry, who must seek to build defendable competitive advantages.


Moshito has grown to become a significant music business gathering in South Africa and attracting participants beyond the country’s borders – especially music business practitioners from Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria. Last year Moshito saw the participation of Indian Ocean Music Association Network (IOMA). An exchange programme between the two organizations and Moshito management will attend the Indian Ocean tradefare in June 2013.The Department will continue supporting the Moshito 2013.  Moshito 2013 will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 21 – 24 September.



South African music continues to be developed, as music is one of the most potent instrument that can contribute to poverty alleviation, job creation but solidly unify this nation as a cohesive voice of high valued content that the global world is ready to enjoy. The DAC is currently finalizing the transfer of Downtown Studios properties to the Downtown Music Hub Board. The properties was purchased with the vision to develop the studios into something very new – A Music Hub which will be a music heritage centre as well as state-of-the-art local content music production hub that will produce high quality content for the market place. The Hub will be central towards supporting independent music creators and producers in terms of business investment. Funds have been allocated  in 2013/financial year for renovation and upgrading of Downtown Music Hub. The Downtown studios will be transferred into the management of the Downtown Music Hub Board very soon this year following completion of internal processes with the National Treasury.



Department continues to provide support to the Association of Independent Record Companies of South Africa (AIRCO) as part of the agenda for institutional development in the music sector. AIRCO was established in 2006 to represent local record companies and music producers on, inter alia, trade related matters. The process of establishing AIRCO was supported by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) as part of the drive to increasing local control and ownership in the music sector. Today, AIRCO plays a critical role in uncovering opportunities for expansion and growth of local independent music producers and record companies in order to enable them to thrive in the new media-driven climate.

Since its establishment, AIRCO has moved to become a key strategic player on the global scene whereby it sits on the executive Board of the World Independent Network (WIN) - a new coalition of independent music trade associations, which represents an estimated 10,000 independent record labels globally. Since it was established at Midem (World Music Market) in January 2006, this collective, (whose other members include United Kingdom, USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, the European Union, New Zealand, Brazil, and Israel), meets regularly to discuss, debate, and pursue those issues most important to increasing visibility and market access for independent music companies around the world.

AIRCO has recently signed an agreement with the SABC which agreement enable AIRCO to avail its members and non-members' music products for broadcast on SABC platforms (TV and digital). In return, the SABC will pay AIRCO an appropriate amount for the benefit of their members and non-members and distribution to those whose products are used by the SABC at any given time in all their TV and digital platforms. The agreement is a positive move as many local music producers have been struggling to get their products through for consumption on airwaves. The SABC/AIRCO deal provides AIRCO with an opportunity to be an official collection and distribution agent for all Southern African Independent Recording Labels, sound recordings royalties as well as to play a crucial role in the music business to arm the independent recording labels with music business knowledge.

The DAC regards AIRCO as the major stakeholder, driven by the independent recorded music sector and a key driver towards transformation of the music sector. In 2012 AIRCO consulted its members and non-members in all the nine provinces to inform them about the benefits and opportunity rising from the SABC deal. AIRCO started with the distribution of royalties received from the SABC. Information about AIRCO royalty distribution can be accessed from

Ministerial Music Task Team

Recently, Minister of Arts and Culture has appointed a Music Task Team to deal with challenges facing the sector and this include – royalty collection and distribution, piracy, local content quota, and looking into the possibilities of having a social security scheme (funeral scheme, retirement annuity and others). The task team will report back to the Minister by end of September 2013.