South African artists have suffered greatly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost an entire year, artists were left with limited ways of earning an income. With restrictions on crowds, events are not possible for many but slowly they are beginning to see life returning to the ‘new normal’.
Popular streaming platforms such as Apple music and Spotify are the most accessible ways in which the public engages with music, but these platforms pay musicians very little for their hard work and effort.
Often, local musicians are unsigned, and thus do not have financial backing from record labels. This means they carry the cost of paying to purchase or rent instruments, pay their own way to get to gigs and fund their own promotional efforts.
Some artists dug deep and created livestreams
Some musicians dug deep and created online livestreams to keep their art alive – and for many it was a saving grace. Hard lockdown was a difficult time and somehow, the music made it a little more bearable. It gave many who were in lockdown alone, the chance to connect with others in a safe space, without leaving the house.
On Spotify many local musicians have a PayPal tab on their profiles. Click on the link and donate any amount to help fund their art and keep music alive.
International platform Bandcamp also pays local musicians money directly into their bank accounts, and takes a small portion for allowing their music to go on sale there. You can purchase singles, albums and merchandise branded by your favourite band or singer here too. Every cent counts.
Another many are not yet aware of is Casual Sex.
Another many are not yet aware of is Casual Sex. This platform is South Africa’s first fully online artist market. While there are other platforms that work similarly, there isn’t one dedicated to uplift South African musicians by ensuring they are able to make money off their labour and art.
On Casual Sex, you can find merch for sale by musicians and bands, as well as digital singles, albums and EPs. Some also have vinyls and CDs for sale.
The platform accrues 10.5% from the sale of each product, allowing the artist to walk away with 89.5% of the money they make. It also handles international shipping to ensure products get to their buyers safely.
Artists and musicians from across South Africa are listed within the Casual Sex index – check it out to expand your musical horizons and plough some cash back into the community of artists we often forget about.