How do South African artists make money

Being an artist is an illusive dream of many in South Africa. In fact, not just in South Africa but in so many countries across the world. While music is the one of the very few things capable of transcending countless barriers, most people are interested in it because of the perceived glamour that comes with a successful music career.

It is common knowledge that South African artists make money through royalties, CD sales, online sales and performing live shows. This is the “general population” of musicians. The cream of the crop makes more money in all sorts of ways any A-Lister celebrity would.

These include all of the above plus merchandising, endorsements, making appearances. Even more so, the A-List artists charge an arm and a leg in comparison to your average Joe. This is because you are likely to come out to see an A-Lister than any other average musician. That makes them a crowd puller which is an essential part of the entertainment business.

One report claimed that rap duo, Die Antwoord, R56 million and annual revenue of R8 million. If this is true, to all likelihood – it is, these guys (guy and a girl) have found the formula. Before you get all excited while these guys are very much South African, they have a significant international presence.

Die Antwoord popularity is such that both its members, Ninja and Yolandi Visser, appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster titled Chappie starring Sharlto Copley and directed by Neill Blomkamp. If that is not enough star power for you, the film also featured Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman with the score composed by Hans Zimmer. This partly explains the money Die Antwoord is making.

In South Africa the likes of AKA and Cassper Nyovest have been estimated to be in the region of approximately R5 million and R4 million respectively. Clearly a far cry from Die Antwoord. This, especially since the likes of Cassper Nyovest can not stop reminding everyone just how rich they are.

Ultimately those in the know claim that the best way and maybe the only way South African artists get to make a decent living is through performing live shows, selling merchandise and partnering up with brands by endorsing their products.


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