New studio to showcase South African talent

Friday, April 17, 2009
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Johannesburg - Upcoming South African musicians will soon be able to record their music at affordable rates in a new refurbished studio, thanks to a multi-million Rand partnership between government and the private sector.

The Department of Arts and Culture Arts has purchased Downtown Studios in Johannesburg at a cost of R4 million to help upcoming artists, who may otherwise not be able to enter the expensive and competitive music industry.

The who's who of the South African music industry, including renowned entertainers and business people witnessed the department's Minister, Dr Pallo Jordan announce the initiative on Friday.

"What we are planting today is a seed of our cultural industry ... through this we shall create an inclusive structure which will include communities, corporate and community organisations," Dr Jordan said.

Minister Jordan said the Downtown Music Hub, as he referred to the studio, will lower the barrier of entry to talented artists into the music industry.

"All of us agree that SA music has a potential of being the best in the world," he said.

The government's idea of opening the studios to develop South African music was mooted back in 2007 when Minister Jordan highlighted the importance of the department to establish a number of state-of-the-art recording studios in South Africa's "hot spots".

The process of purchasing the studio from media conglomerates Avusa was completed in November 2008 and the department had since been involved in the development of the studio's business plan.

Minister Jordan said he, or "the next minister" as he pointed out, will soon appoint a board of directors to manage the studios.

According to information obtained from the department, a number of prominent South African professionals have been identified as potential board members of the new venture.

Dr Jordan said details of how artists will access the new studios and how communities will benefit will be unveiled as soon as the business plan was completed.

Department spokesman Sandile Memela stressed that today's event was not the launch of the studios but an announcement by the minister.

Speaking to BuaNews on the sidelines of the occasion, renowned Afro-pop musician Ringo Madlingozi said the initiative was the best thing to happen for local music.

"Arts and local music has not been looked after for a very long time," Ringo said.

He said billions of Rands were being invested in the country's economy through music, adding that it was high time someone looked after the country's disadvantaged musicians.

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