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Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Over the ages, since before Jan van Riebeeck set foot on our shore, music played a big part in our history and culture.

Politics sometimes painted a grim picture, but music used its power to move beyond all boundaries. Thirty, forty years ago, when popular pop/rock music started out, the music industry looked a whole lot different from what we know today. It was like an un-ploughed piece of land, these artists had to create their own opportunities, cut open a path and find the best ways to live out their dreams. Weekend after weekend, they travelled the country, performing in schools and church halls. A lot of hard work and devotion is what made them the crème of the South African music industry. These artists did the ground work; they established the industry and created a platform where young and upcoming artists may follow in their footsteps today.

The South African Music Industry has experienced an explosion in the last 15 to 20 years, even more so in the past 5 years. Life has become a bit easier, and a career in music has started to become more acceptable and profitable. Schools and universities offer courses which have established music as a full-value career industry. You can now be a professional musician, whereas in the past, being a full time musician was frowned upon.

The start of the internet has created an ever growing number of opportunities for artists to promote their music worldwide, at virtually no cost. Opportunities to perform are endless; there are annual arts festivals and numerous small theatres which make it easier for artists to perform around the country. Television and radio has become more accessible, and the whole industry is more open to young and upcoming talent. This explosion has both positive and negative repercussions. The positive is that our industry is now producing world class artists, musicians, studios, and producers. The potential to create quality products is never ending. The negative is that it has become so easy for every Tom, Dick or Harry to start his own studio or record a CD, the quality of music has declined.

The competition is tough and artists have to work twice as hard to find their place in the sun. Artists with really good products now have to compete with low budget fly-by-night productions that flood the market.