Artists blast ‘exploiting’ promoters

Phila Madlingozi
Phila Madlingozi
Image: Phila Madlingozi/Instagram

Musician and actor Phila Madlingozi is waging war on dodgy promoters who he claims are exploiting artists.

The former Idols SA top 16 finalist and Intersexions actor has never been shy about blasting the pitfalls of the industry.

He took to social media on Wednesday to attack promoters for offering “trash fees” and expecting a world-class show.

“Stop offering us trash fees when you want us to give you our best performances.

“If you can’t afford top-class acts, don’t book them.”

He went on to warn artists to “wake up” and not get used by “crooks”. He claimed the solution was to create your own hustle.

The advice comes only days after he criticised artists for not speaking up about anything “real”‚ claiming they were too worried about their image.

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Bay poet Lelethu “PoeticSoul” Mahambehlala weighed in on Madlingozi’s sentiments

“In some situations you find out after the fact that you were supposed to have made a certain amount of money, but that the promoters took a big chunk of it for themselves. But what I try to do is contract everything for myself.

“Another important thing is to be aware of my worth and talent. I only give what I am being paid for, so if someone pays me this much – and wants the work that will cost a lot more – I don’t do it.

“It is frustrating that even today there are artists who go home with less than R1,000 from a performance because promoters always try to take big chunks of money and yes, a promoter is supposed to get a fee for managing but they can’t then want extra.

“There are a lot of discrepancies in our industry and I am saying ‘yay’ for people standing up and calling those who take artists money out,” she said.

Mahambehlala said she was hopeful that more artists would speak out.

“We don’t have a regulatory body where we can lodge a complaint or cry, so we have to do it for ourselves and call those people out.”

Bay artist Earl Swartz, better known as Early B, who started his career recording music from his bedroom in Bloemendal and is now a record label artist, said this practice was common in the industry.

“This is usually the case with up-and-coming artists and promoters normally see the potential and then exploit that artist by telling them they will be given exposure.

“Every artist is hungry for exposure, especially in the beginning and they would then play on that vulnerability.”

Speaking from Johannesburg, Swartz said: “I have been exploited like that when I just started out in the industry, and you grow tired of it. But it comes down to the artist and what they see as being fair for themselves or when to put their foot down.

“As an artist I stopped performing when people approached me with that kind of mindset because this is a business at the end of the day,” he said.

Swartz said social media provided artists with the opportunity to do without a promoter.