Exploring cultural entrepreneurship among South Africa’s popular music practitioners: a case of disruption and investing in the future

Willie, Denay
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This research report explores the extent to which technological, socio-political and economic factors, such as digital disruption and socio-economic disparities, impact the potential success of DIY musicians as cultural entrepreneurs within the contemporary music industry in democratic South Africa. Amidst paradoxical inequalities, digital divides and capitalist monopolies in democratic South Africa, and in the face of historic inequalities and gatekeeping, this research report is an effort to understand the implications of a shifting terrain of power for DIY musicians as cultural entrepreneurs. One of the key findings of this research report is that inequitable access to digital technologies and education in the business of music are significant factors in the development of the DIY musician as cultural entrepreneur, and potentially perpetuates the historic income and inequality gaps in democratic South Africa. Technological, socio-political and economic factors foreground my perspectives of South African DIY musicians in this case study, and in the case of Black Coffee in particular, demonstrates that control of record labels by artists is important because it provides a democratising form of agency through digital disruption. Furthermore, Bourdieu’s theory on conversions of capitals is used to explain the advancement of DIY musicians as central role players in the new digital economy
A research report submitted to Wits University School of Arts, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts degree by combination of coursework and research, 2021