Master your craft: How to succeed in 2017 by Thili Maumela

By Thili Maumela | Edited by Andile Nkosi

It's a brand new year and musicians all over the world are proclaiming that this is the year they will break into the industry. 

Rising star, producer, CEO of Thili Productions and gospel singer Thili Maumela was generous to share a few pointers towards succeeding in 2017. 

I know it's very tough to become successful as an independent artist but it's very possible. When you start as an independent artist obviously it will look like a Spaza Shop but it's through your responsibility and your hardworking spirit that can turn it into a Company.


Here are the some ingredients towards your success: 
1. Knowledge: You need to understand your calling and start doing things with understanding

2. Purpose: If you are singing gospel , you need to know and have a solid relationship with the one you are singing or preaching about.

3. Be serious: You need to start taking your work seriously

4. Recording: You cannot just record your material in any studio in the name of supporting a cousin knowing that you just don't want to pay the right amount for the relevant recording. 

5. Artwork is very important, everyone can design but it's not everyone who is a good graphic designer,pay the right amount to the qualified graphic designer it shows that you respect your work, your consumers , your customers or your supporters.By just looking at the CD sleeve you can decide whether to buy the album or not and even if you are given that CD as a gift but CD sleeve can place an individual in a position of opening it or just leave it there. 

6. Music Distribution: Some look at this as an obstacle but not anymore, the era has changed, we are getting deep into the digital World were you can still cover the nation without the hard-copies. But always have enough Hard-copies to cover where you can. 

7. Online Distribution: this one is closing the gap between the Artist and the listeners(consumers) world wide this is where we talk about ITunes, Google Play, Amazon and so on. Now this is where ignorance is traping a lot of artist, lots of money is lost,this is one of the platform where a lot of money can be made without a sweat. Let me give you an example, let's say you realised an album of 12 tracks, it's very possible to have at least 2 or 3 hits, for worst scenario let me say 10 thousand people buy one track (7,99X10 000) = R79 900,00 can you pick this money in the street? Nooo, but Ignorance is killing us. 

8. Popularity: Still on that one iTunes ,Google Play helps to connect you with the world out there, the problem we as musicians still struggling financially even today is because we are fighting for one market, same people, same age group, same provinces, look at this ,but so many artist. How would you know if you are an international star if your music is only heard by your cousin and your church members? Arise South Africa let's take advantage of the technology. Eg if you are an Artist and your music is not online you are just like a brother who is a qualified engineer graduate who is looking for a job but hasn't send his CV anywhere. Who will know about him? 

9. Know you're rates: Musicians this days they don't even know how much they charge or worth for Gigs, how are you expecting promoters to take you serious if you don't even know how much you worth for a Gig, have you fixed amount ,If they can afford you they will book you, if they can't afford you they will negotiate, but if they can't meet your negotiating value let them shop next door.

10. Don't be greedy: As a lead artist you are nothing without your Band and Vocals, Pay them well if you were also paid well, if you are not paid they should or can still go with you because of your loyalty. 

11. Humility: Don't take your Supporters for granted, they made you and they can still decide not to support you, but that doesn't mean you should be manipulated against your principle as an artist, remember you are running the company. 

12. Sponsorship: Remember this is your career, your vision, your calling, why wait for someone to sponsor you while you could save a little and sponsor yourself. Some musicians are very stingy in a way that they can even pay R70 to sponsor their Facebook Promotion. If an undergraduate who is employed still paying for their own studies not relying on the bursaries that means you too can can still sponsor yourself out of your CD sales or some savings

13. Marketing: If Coca-Cola is still marketing their product almost everyday paying a lot of thousands to SABC and other Broadcast as known as they are, who do we think we are? We need to market ourselves even more. Marketing requires money and that means they should always be a budget for Marketing.

14. After sales service: It is very important to always go back to your supporters and show them that you really appreciate them, don't be friendly with them only when you need them to buy your CD, attend your Shows or Vote for you. 

15. Creativity and Originality: Let's write new songs, and let's be original to our craft. Gospel music can be very difficult to write if you don't read the word and pray for fresh revelation. That's when we will see people translating music in their own language and claim that they wrote a new song, that's theft and one might miss heaven 😂 😂 😂 just kidding I am not sure about the heaven part, but on a serious note that was someone's piece of Hardwork and your can't just come and change it to your own language without their knowledge. 

16. Media: As an artist you shouldn't only wait for a TV to broadcast your material, you can still make it with or without Televisions channels Eg I have never seen Kansime Anne on any Television but everyone who is reading this knows her or about her, how? Yotube is a powerful media that we are failing to use, Facebook also but Facebook it's so abused with unnecessary matters even by Musicians instead of Marketing their Materials. Vhathu vha busy na zwitshele blaming others for their slow progress while they have all platforms to change that. 

17. Finances: Take care of your money, learn to bank your money and spend it wisely, you cannot sell your CD now and tomorrow you don't know where that money for Cd went, when we ask you for your income statement/ balance sheet you don't even know what we are talking about.

18. Conclusion: Unfortunately I cannot say everything at once let's go and rectify where we are still struggling and if you are doing well in all those areas I mentioned we bless the name of the Lord, I am still struggling in some areas even through I am the Author of this Article, if you think I am acting better just try me by exercising all this ,but tomorrow you will come and thank me. 

Regards, 
Thili Maumela | CEO of Thili Production 
For more info including Online Distribution call Thili on +27 76 173 2660 

This article was motivated by Love I have for all musicians and I still say together we can achieve much, let's do this for our Father in heaven and our wonderful Supporters . Marunga Dzi Nndevhelaho, Khakhamela Khotsi ya Mahosi Ndi Vhone Ramakole. Ndaa. 

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