The other day, at a Kidofdoom sound check, I looked around at the local musicians, organisers, sound engineers and journalists and realised that anyone with two bricks and a plan can build a house. The trick is in getting it to stand.
There are two common perceptions Overtone aims to break down: firstly, that local music culture is struggling, and secondly, that we should somehow aspire to cater for a first-world market. Let’s not be ignorant. South African music is slowly waking up to the potential for global exposure through the Football World Cup, the ongoing tourism boom and the collapse of digital rights management. So let’s deal with the real.
The digital rights management ‘police’ have basically given up, meaning artists may now expose their product globally like never before. MP3 file-sharing is becoming less evil by the day, and local and international bands are pioneering the drive to treat free music as the most powerful marketing device – by far. Local bands like The Privates are starting to get it. Like never before.
Sponsorship of local music is gradually becoming the hot new kid on the block. Black Economic Empowerment and the shifting undercurrents of this dynamic time mean that the majority of our population is now becoming equipped with the means to earn a living through creative artistic endeavours. Like never before.
The Freedom Toaster, a stand-alone free music and data download unit, is beginning trials in Cape Town within days. The possibilities may not seem endless, but there are good things happening for anyone who has the intellectual property and the passion to deliver it nationally, overnight. MP3s, e-books and open-source software can now be shared, even amongst those without access to the Internet. And even if our faith in this enterprise is overweight, the fact is that someone is taking charge and doing something new. This will ripple, like never before.
A few years ago, I really wanted to be a music journalist, and I made my decision. I left my office job and doors started to open. For a while, I was not be paid. For a year, while at my previous job, I was not paid for attending gigs, writing CD reviews, and meeting the bands for interviews. But I had begun acting out the decision I made: to get to know the local music industry.
Overtone and iAfrica Entertainment were pretty much the only places encouraging me, an streetside everyman with a camera and a pen, to write and arrange comps to the gigs. Without blasting our horn too hard, the name, logo and ethic behind Overtone are all brilliant: provide a singular, umbrella-like platform for all things entertainment. Live music previews, CD reviews and personality through interviews with featured artists. Artist management, band booking service, portfolio and press pack creation, an online music shop, an entire advertising, hosting and web design and development service. The goal, as far as I ascertained, was to provide a comprehensive gig guide with loads of free tickets to the South African public, so that people may begin enjoying the quality music of their choice. And now, it’s all happening.
To those few people who have a vested interest their creative futures, and to those hordes of musicians and fans who consider the future of our unique local music scene, I ask you to respond to this silent, patient battle cry and providing me with “John Q. Public” advice on how we can improve the site to benefit bands and fans. We are nothing but a product of your requests. In this sense, your wish is our command. Email us your thoughts or post it on our wall
To DJs, instrumentalists, vocalists, band members and musician wannabees: we are working very hard to promote you. Almost everyone on ship at Overtone is a musician, including myself and the now-familiar company founder Tristan Waterkeyn. Begin helping yourself today, and we will help you. Along with a passionate, growing editorial team (including Rob Buegelink, James Gradwell, Moya, Dean Horwitz and Mark Schellhas), I am doing your promotional work by posting editorial content and gig listings for you because I am you. Let’s get this party started. Let’s get the strings on this puppy. Bands, DJs and fans: Let’s take over. Contact us for more.
[Featured post by John Bartmann, Overtone Site Editor]
Tips & Tricks
1. Register as a band, fan, venue, studio – whatever – and update your profile.
2. For your next gig, submit free tickets. You’ll show up on our weekly newsletter (sign up for it on the left hand side of this site), and make friends very quickly.
3. Remind everyone that right now, the international music industry is developing quickly. It is.
4. Give away cheap or free copies of your music at gigs, even if it’s low-quality. MP3 sales are on the rise, and it’s only a matter of time before your fans want more.
5. Grab a pen, get hold of a camera, and contact the editor either here or on Facebook. He’ll set you up with a press pass for whatever gig you pick.
1. If you’re not into live music, what’s missing?
2. What do you dig about a night out?
3. Do you read music reviews?
4. Do you care to watch SA live music video snippets?
5. What are you tired of? What bores you?
6. Is R30-R50 for a live act worth it? Would you actually go if it was free and sponsored?
7. Are you in a band and do you want to be a part of this drive for free publicity?
8. Would you like to work alongside Overtone and the music industry?
“The name, logo and ethic behind this site are all brilliant: provide a singular, umbrella-like platform for all things entertainment.”
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