On Wednesday, 3 October 2018, The School of Consumer Intelligence and Information System (SCiiS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted a Digital Music Sales Symposium to expose to industry the caliber of UJ MCom graduates SCiiS produces, and to discuss the future of the industry in the face of rapidly changing technology.
With a strong emphasis on current digital music trends – both nationally and internationally, the Symposium explored some of the most pressing and relevant questions about the music industry, from what impacts streaming platforms to what qualities it takes to become successful.
Other themes included what can be done to increase access and lower barriers to entry for young or aspiring musicians, and what technological innovations are needed to help diverse musical communities thrive. The Symposium explored these questions with innovative thinkers and practitioners in the music industry.
Prof Mercy Mpinganjira, UJ SCiiS Director said the symposium was aimed at providing a platform to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
"In the School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems we take cognisant of the fact that responsiveness to technological developments associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) demands that we invest time and effort in knowledge creation as well as in skills development. The 4IR also demands that we take multi-disciplinary approaches in our quest to find winning solutions to business and social challenges. Artists and recording label companies need to work closely with experts in fields such as Marketing, Knowledge Management as well as Information Systems and Technology," explained Prof Mpinganjira.
SCiiS MCom Marketing graduate, Nontokozo Mokoena also highlighted her research findings from her Master's dissertation focused on Digital Music Sales. Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion with key music industry professionals, allowing for an opportunity to create impactful conversations to uncover and understand the challenges and opportunities of Digital Music Sales from both a South African and Global perspective.
In her presentation, Ms Mokoena pointed out that "The music industry has undergone significate changes over the past two decades, changes such as consumers shifting from physical to digital, from downloading to streaming and from ownership to access". Mokoena mentioned that her research was targeted at creating impactful and insightful scholarship that is relevant to industry.
A number of experienced voices from the music industry participated in the symposium. Panelists included, Bradley Williams an Independent Creative Industries Consultant and the former GM of Sony Music Entertainment Africa; Gillian Ezra Head of African Operations at Deezer; Nomisupasta a creative and musician who won the South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2011; Andile Mbete the International Label Manager for Columbia and Epic Records at Sony Music Entertainment Africa and Nontokozo Mokoena UJ SCiiS MCom Graduate.
This wide range of voices and professional experiences allowed students, music industry professionals and academics to truly understand what issues are facing the industry and how to work together to address them.