They are known for their kwaito music, which addresses a lot of political, social, and economic issues that marginalise communities.
Members of kwaito group Trompies, Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng, Eugene Mthethwa, and Jairus “Jakarumba” Nkwe recently told Sunday World about the importance of artists educating themselves about the business side of music.
The group added that it should be the duty of the government to help educate artists because most of them drop out of school to pursue music, and they end up dying poor.
In the past week, there was a debate between DJ Maphorisa and Prince Kaybee where they were discussing the ownership of artists’ music.
The group said, based on their experience in their industry, young artists need to learn more about the business side of the music industry.
“Even if you are talented, you need to go to school, but unfortunately for some people, they pursue their talent and forget to educate themselves. Maphorisa was well within his rights to say he owned that music because those people used his studio, electricity, food, water, etc. Gallo Music did that to us, but it all depends on the contract that you sign with the other party and not just signing out of excitement,” said the group.
Apartheid legacy dictates ownership
The group also said, coming from an apartheid background, that the industry is structured in a way that says Africans should not own anything.
“You were robbed of your rights from the beginning. There is no such thing as when you come to my studio, you own nothing unless you don’t know what rights are there. Copyright: You own it 100%, and when you have composed a song, nobody will take that song away from you.”
“There is a difference between mechanical rights and copyrights. Mechanical rights are when you take a song, which is referred to as software, and put it into a medium that can be used for people to be able to listen to the song. You, as a studio manager or owner, own the rights to mechanically convert what was in software to hardware.”
The group said DJ Maphorisa can then say that he owns the mechanical rights to the songs he claims he owns. Politically, he can argue that if he is talking about having privileges from sources that these artists don’t have,
“We can overright and say he owns the rights because of the privileges that he has taken the absolute ownership of the artist’s natural rights. These are the intellectual party rights.”
“The unfortunate situation that causes artists to die poor is that our issues have never been discussed politically. There has never been a dialogue on what the creative and cultural sectors are all about; we have the Department of Arts and Culture that cannot translate the policies of the organisation into practical terms.”