Top Music Managers in South Africa Looking for Talent 2023

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Music Managers in South Africa Looking for Talent

Music managers are often the unsung heroes of the music industry. They’re tasked with helping artists navigate the business side of music and can play an integral role in helping musicians stay focused on making music.

Without one, musicians might find themselves spending hours trying to figure out how to book shows or even get paid for their performances.

What does a music manager do?

A music manager is an industry professional who helps artists get shows, record deals, publishing deals, radio plays, TV appearances, web profiles, and exposure in the press and on podcasts.

Their primary role is to find paying work for their artist. They make 20% of your total earnings as payment for helping artists get those gigs.

If you are an artist think of a manager as an extension of your PR team. A good manager will be able to help you with all aspects of the business side of your career: negotiating contracts with venues and labels; ensuring that bills are paid on time; managing your social media presence; and improving your chances of getting a good deal with merchandisers and sponsors.

Why would you want a music agent?

The benefits of having a music agent can extend beyond booking gigs.

An independent artist needs a music agent to:

  • Book shows at venues that the artist couldn’t get into on their own.
  • Sort through the large amount of paperwork associated with playing a venue, including contracts and promotions.
  • Sell the artist’s work to labels and/or publishers, or connect the artist with experts who can do so.
  • Connect the artist with other people in the industry who can help them improve their craft, such as songwriters and producers.

A good agent might have access to top recording studios or opportunities to collaborate with other artists. If you’re looking to get your music distributed, a music agent may have contacts with record companies and distributors that will give you the best deals on getting your work out there.

Top Music Managers in South Africa Looking for Talent

Here are the top record labels in South Africa looking for talented new artists to sign.

1. Gallo Records

Gallo Record Company is the first South Africa record label on the list looking for new artists.

Gallo Record Company has been in operation since 1926, and incorporates both Sheer Music and Bula Music into its stable.

Gallo Record Company signs, and assists artists to promote their music across Africa and internationally.

Local talent such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masekela are among the leading talent that fall under the Gallo Record Company banner, as well as Jeremy Loops, Idols SA winners Luyolo, Yanga and Paxton and many more are signed to the label.

Gallo Records is one of the record labels that accepts demo submissions from artistes and won’t charge you any fee for listening.

So, if you think you’ve got musical talents and have recorded something worth hearing, submit a demo to the company and wait for feedbacks.

Demos are to be submitted in the following formats only:

  • MP3
  • Dropbox link

Demo Submissions MUST include:

  • Your Name and Surname
  • Your Biography
  • Your Contact Information

Please email all your information and demo to [email protected]

Address: Arena Holdings, Hill on Empire, 16 Empire Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Enquiries: [email protected]

2. Ambitiouz Entertainment

The summer of 2015 saw the birth of Ambitiouz Entertainment, one of the biggest independent record labels that prides itself on being a youthful and forward-thinking artist management that molds and guides their artists into reaching their full potential and being global multi-award-winning powerhouses.

Ambitiouz Entertainment is now home to young and fresh South African talents such as:

  • PA Fakaloice
  • Miss Pru DJ
  • Malome Vector
  • Snymaan
  • La Sauce
  • Kid Tini
  • Blaq Diamond
  • Kraizie
  • Cici
  • S’Villa
  • Sibu Nzuza

With 15 Magazine covers and 2 entries onto the Billboard charts peaking at number 1, Ambitiouz Entertainment has marked its name in golden words by garnering 3 international BET Award nominations and making history by being the first in the South African Afro-Pop culture to bring home a BET Award.

Ambitiouz Entertainment produces singles and albums that dominate radio, television and digital platforms as it is heavy on edutainment, with music videos aimed at addressing and solving socio-economic issues.

Online Demo submission:

General Enquiries: [email protected]

Submit Demos: [email protected]

3. Kalawa Jazmee Records

Kalawa Jazmee Records has been a pioneering independent record label in South Africa for over 25 years of its existence and continues to instigate prime new dance music trends and contributed to the evolution of kwaito, afro-pop and house music.

Since its establishment, Kalawa Jazmee Records has created and launched unknown artists into headline acts that tops music charts with record-breaking sales one after the other.

Kalawa Jazmee Records has been a home to generations of prolific artists and legendary groups like Trompies, Boomshaka, Mafikizolo, B.O.P, Bongomuffin, Profesor, DJ Maphorisa, Zonke, Dj Zinhle, Black Motion, BigNuz, Busiswa and Vigro Deep among others.

Kalawa Jazmee Records empowered artists like Black Coffee and DJ Tira to kick off their careers in the music business by establishing their record labels, Soulistic Records and Afrotainment respectively through licensing their music when they were unknown.

Address: 8, Jukskei Avenue Gallo Manor Sandton

Email: [email protected]

Demo submission:

4. Afrotainment

Afrotainment is a multi-award-winning record label established in 2007 by Mthokozi Khathi, better known as “Dj Tira” whom solely placed Durban on the global map, and by so doing, helping the city live up to its “Durban is South Africa’s Playground” tagline.

Some of the associated music acts in this label include BIG NUZ, DJ FISHERMAN, NAAK MUSIQ, DISTRUCTION BOYZ, DUNCAN, DLADLA MSHUNQISI, TIPCEE, PRINCE BULO, DJGUKWA, and dance crew, AMADADA.

Afrotainment has since diversified its catalogue; signing a variety of fresh talent, whom are leaders in their respective genres, such as Gqom, Durban Kwaito, R and B and Hip Hop.

Afrotainment has leveled the playing field for Durban entertainment, the music industry in particular; by merely doing away with the notion that one has to move to Johannesburg to breakthrough into the mainstream music industry, thus a new generation of artists continues to align their brand/s with the record label.

Email: [email protected]

5. Super Black Tapes

Super Black Tapes, known for Deep house is the home and heart of African music with a vision to maintain and share a high standard of musical creativity that inspires.

Super Black has been around for over 5 years and was originally called “Roots Go Deep Music” before transforming into Super Black Tapes in 2016.

Email: [email protected]

6. Sony Music Africa

Sony Music Entertainment, headquartered in New York City, is one of the big-name record labels with office in South Africa.

The label has been around for over two decades and has some of the most notable artistes around the world signed to it.

Sony Music and its employees do not accept, or consider, unsolicited sound recordings, musical compositions or any other creative materials.

For one of Sony Music’s labels or creative centers to review your demo, it must come recommended through an established music industry professional, such as a manager, lawyer, agent, producer, artist, programmer, or tastemaker.

I suggest you consult with one or more of these professionals for more information.

Address: 1st Floor, 6 Parks Boulevard Oxford Parks, Dunkeld, 2196, South Africa.

7. Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company that exists to shape culture through the power of artistry.

Universal Music Group owns and operates a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content in over 60 countries, including South Africa.

UMG identifies and develops recording artists and songwriters, and produces, distributes, and promotes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music to delight and entertain fans around the world.

To submit a demo to Universal Music Group, demo submissions should be directed to UMG’s record labels, but kindly note that they cannot accept unsolicited material.

Typically, demos are recommended to one of their labels’ A and R departments by a manager, agent, producer, radio DJ or other industry professional.

Another option for unsigned artists is UMG’s site, Spinnup, which offers both digital distribution and has a network of scouts who have a relationship with many of Universal Music’s labels.

8. Vth Season

Founded nine years ago by Raphael Benza, Vth Season is known as the most impactful Creative Entertainment Agency with an enviable roster of Africa’s most well-known music talent.

The label is home to artistes like BigStar Johnson, Ami Faku, Lungisa Xhamela, and AKA.

The entity is best known for developing unknown raw music talent to celebrated household name status in Africa, with recognition from multiple award committees such as the South African Music Awards (SAMAs), Metro FM Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA’s) as well as international nods from the likes of the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards and MTV Europe Music.

7 Tips for finding a music Manager

Networking is by far the best way to find a music talent manager. Start by connecting with industry professionals that you know through online and offline communities. You might be surprised how willing they are to offer advice, especially when you begin to demonstrate your dedication, passion, and hard work.

1. Network and build relationships

The best way to find a music manager is through personal recommendations.

If you know any other musicians or music business professionals who are handled by someone they respect, ask them if they can put you in touch with them.

Alternatively, create a list of musicians who have recently been signed to a label, management, or agency as an alternative. In addition to learning about those artists’ careers, you’ll also discover which managers are currently active in the industry.

Start looking for opportunities to meet new people at open mics, local shows, conferences, and networking events. Make sure that when you meet someone new in the industry you collect their contact information for future reference and follow up later via email or social media.

2. Research music management companies

Managers typically work with several artists. So, it’s a good idea to find out which ones are working with the kinds of artists you want to be like.

See if they have a website or profile on social media and look at their client list. This will help you figure out who is right for you.

3. Search LinkedIn and social media

Find managers on LinkedIn and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. On LinkedIn, search for industry groups such as the Music Managers Forum (MMF) or Featured Artists Coalition (FAC).

These groups often have members who act as managers, as well as managers looking for new talent.

You can also search hashtags such as #Musicmanager, #Musicagent…

4. Play live shows

If you haven’t played many live shows yet, this may not be your best option. A good manager will most likely be looking for an artist that has some experience playing live so that they can see how well you perform on stage.

Most managers will want to see if their clients can command an audience before investing their time and money into them.

This doesn’t mean that all managers will want this, though. Some may just want to grow and build with you from the start!

5. Release quality music

An artist is required to release quality music that can be used to sell out their brand. Releasing quality music sends a message of perfection and dedication. Every music manager wishes to walk with such an artist who perfects their craft from time to time. By releasing quality music, you are increasing your chances in the industry.

6. Have a developed artist brand

If you are an independent artist, have an established brand. This means having things like professional photos and videos of yourself performing.

It means posting regularly on social media about what is happening in your career. Managers want to know that they will be able to sell you as an artist.

7. Build a fan base and have a following.

A manager wants to see that people are interested in what you’re doing. They want to see that you’ve put the work into establishing yourself as an artist and that people care about your music enough to keep coming back for more.

This can be hard when you’re just starting out, so experiment with different ways of getting people excited about your music and making sure they keep coming back for more. This could include having giveaway days, live music at local venues, or releasing new songs regularly—the possibilities are endless!

What cut do music managers take?

The commission taken by a music manager is typically between 15% and 20%.

In many cases, there is no industry standard regarding how much of a commission music managers take from their clients.

The amount can be dependent on the success level of the artist. Some agents will start out with a 10% commission until the artist accumulates more money, and then increase their percentage to 20%. Other agents will take 20% for a few years and then decrease as the client becomes more successful.

How do music managers find artists?

Managers and recruiters now use a range of new tactics to find and nurture talent. Many music managers begin with social media specifically, Instagram. Promoted posts are an effective way for managers and recruiters to see who is giving the artist or musician a follow or repost on their page. For artists, these types of interactions offer validation from a third party in their own industry. This can be especially useful when trying to build momentum around your talent and gain professional recognition.

What are music managers looking for?

Music managers are looking for a lot of things: talent, creativity, and potential. But most importantly, they’re looking for musicians who are business-savvy. They want to know that you’ll handle your own affairs so they can focus on getting you gigs, writing with other musicians, and making new connections that will help your career flourish.

If you want to impress a music manager, the first thing you’ll want to do is get your own marketing and management platform in place. You should be using social media to connect with fans and build an audience for yourself.

Whenever possible, you should be posting videos of yourself performing or recording music—and those videos shouldn’t just be on YouTube. You should also be posting them on Instagram Live and Facebook Live so that you can collect data about which kinds of content your fans like best.

That way, when a manager contacts you, it won’t just be “Hey I love your work!” It will also be “Hey I checked out your Instagram Live session yesterday where you performed [song] and my favorite part was when you did [action].”

How to prepare for meetings with music agents.

  • Do your homework. Make sure you know what the agent represents and the kind of opportunities they can offer.
  • Prepare your material. You want to come across as professional and experienced, so make sure to have a bio and any marketing materials ready for them (and practice your elevator pitch!).
  • Be confident in yourself! Be ready to negotiate if need be, or walk away if things aren’t going how you’d like them to.
  • Know your stuff and don’t get nervous—they’re on your side!

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