As an upcoming artist, are you seriously seeking and want to get signed by the best music record labels in South Africa?
Do you need the contact of South African record labels accepting demos?
Do you want to kick-start your music career and become a successful musician via reputable record labels?
If you answered YES to these questions, then this article is only what you need to read today.
With so many artists on the rise, the South Africa music industry is prospering and positively affecting the entire continent.
As an upcoming artist, it doesn’t really matter how talented you’re if there’s no platform to stand and let the world see you shine.
Record labels play a vital position within the music business of any clime.
There are over 15 record labels in South Africa.
On average, a newly signed artiste in South Africa is paid between R150,000 to R1,000,000 as signing fee by the record label.
A good record label helps with the promotion, advertising and protection of an artist’s work.
If you’re a new South African act or primarily based in the country, and you’re looking for a good music label as a platform to kick-start your career, then ensure to read this post to the end.
Today in this article, you’ll learn actionable tips, guidelines and answers on:
- Biggest and richest record labels in South Africa looking for artists, new talent, directors, producers, rappers and songwriters to sign
- Gospel and Top hip hop record labels looking for artists to sign
- Universal Music South Africa demo submission
- Music sponsors contacts details and email addresses
- Sony music South Africa demo submission
8 Record Labels in South Africa Looking for Artistes to Sign
Here are the highest paying 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:
- Dropbox link
Demo Submissions MUST include:
- Your Name and Surname
- Your Biography
- Your Contact Information
Please email all your information and demo to firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Arena Holdings, Hill on Empire, 16 Empire Road, Parktown, Johannesburg
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
- La Sauce
- Kid Tini
- Blaq Diamond
- 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.
For Online Demo submission: demo.ambitiouz.net
General Enquiries: email@example.com
Submit Demos: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Demo submission: kalawa.co.za/demo-submission/
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 & 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.
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 to Super Black Tapes in 2016.
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 operate a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content in over 60 countries including South Africa.
UMG identify and develop recording artists and songwriters, and produce, distribute and promote 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 & 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.
Top South African Musicians in 2022
- Master KG
- Nasty C
- Kabza De Small
- DJ Maphorisa
- Prince Kaybee
- DJ Black Coffee
- Cassper Nyovest
- Amu Faku
- Blaq Diamond
- DJ Tira
- Vigro Deep
- Semi Tee
- Nomcebo Zikode
Steps to Becoming a Successful South African Musician
Here are the right steps to becoming a registered and famous musician in South Africa.
These simple steps will help you succeed in the South African music industry this year.
- Choose a music genre e.g., Gqom, R & B, House Music, Hip-hop kwaito, Afro-Pop, Dancehall, etc.
- Perfect your music skills
- Build a unique brand
- Write and record quality songs
- Have a personal website/blog
- Always promote yourself and your music on social media
- Look for local gigs around you
- Audition for top music talent shows e.g., Idols SA
- Network with top musicians in and outside SA
- Build a loyal fan base
- Connect and sign contract with reputable music record labels
- Put your music on online streaming platforms
- Submit your music to top radio stations e.g., Metro FM
- Always focus and consistent in dropping hit songs
Steps to Becoming a Top Music Producer in South Africa
Becoming a music producer can be a fulfilling career if you’re passionate about music.
From writing lyrics to composing a melody, music producers can take on many aspects of recording.
Here are the right steps to becoming a famous music producer in South Africa:
- Learn how to play an instrument very well
- Listen to different genres
- Familiarize yourself with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
- Get the basic tools of the music production trade
- Establish a reputation for yourself
- Practice regularly
How much are Producers and DJs paid in South Africa?
Producers in South Africa get paid between R40,000 – R195,000 per production.
As of today, the average hourly pay for a Disc Jockey (DJ) in South Africa is R599.
Richest Disc Jockeys (DJ) in South Africa
Here are the richest and highest paid DJs in South Africa.
- Black Coffee
- DJ Tira
- DJ Shimza
- DJ Euphonik
- DJ Oskido
- DJ Fresh
- DJ SBU
- Culoe De Song
- Tbo Touch
- Mark Stent
How do I start a Record Label in South Africa?
Here are the right steps to starting a record label in South Africa:
- Choose a unique name, logo, and brand look
- Set up a good-looking official website with contact details
- Formalize your business by registering the label name
- Set up contracts and legal details
- Open official social media accounts
- Get a good mastering engineer
- Find a talent manager
- Sign talented artistes
What is the richest Record Label in South Africa?
In South Africa, the largest, oldest and richest independent record label is Gallo Record Company, based in Johannesburg, and owned by Arena Holdings Pty Ltd.
How much does it cost to book South African Artists?
Lot of top artists, singers, musicians, and rappers in South Africa are booked and paid between R17,000 and R300,000 per performance. But new artists should expect to earn roughly R1,500 to R5,000 per show. Good music helps get artists noticed and a lot more work is needed to book a big performance.
How Do Musicians Make Money in South Africa?
Musicians in South Africa make money easily through digital sales, selling shows ticket (live performances), features/collaborations, brand endorsements, appearance fees, product sales, YouTube, licensing and music royalties.
Who is the Most Expensive Artist to Book in South Africa?
According to Oabile, Cassper Nyovest is the most expensive hip-hop artist in South Africa to book at R257k including VAT for a 30-minute performance.
How much does it cost to study music in South Africa?
Attending any of the Music schools in South Africa is one of the best decisions to make.
The cost of studying music in South Africa depends on the required training materials, duration and the school of choice. Fees can range from R19,000 to R75,000.
Where to study music in South Africa?
Music schools offers opportunity for creativity, encourages teamwork, teaches discipline and strengthens the mind.
In South African Music School, you will learn:
- Music Business
- Music Productions
- Music Technology
- Performing Arts
Here are the best schools to study music production in South Africa:
- Abraham Devar’s Academy for Music
- Andrew Miller Music School
- Anua School of Music & Performing Arts
- Campus of Performing Arts (COPA), Midrand
- DJ and Music Production Institute, Cape Town
- Emendy Multimedia Technology Institute
- Exulto School of Music
- Free Jazz Music Academy
- Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre
- Legacy School of Music
- Merry Melody Music Academy
- MMMA Music Academy
- Musical Minds
- Nu-Song Music, Drama & Arts School
- Phoenix Benedict Music Academy
- Progressive Music, Dance & Art School
- Rhodes University, Grahamstown
- Shine School of Music, Randburg
- South African College of Music, Cape Town
- Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
- Tshwane School of Music (TSOM)
- University of Pretoria, Pretoria
- The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
How to Get Your Music Played on Radio Stations in South Africa
As an independent artist in South Africa, one of the main things to understand is distribution.
One of the best ways to distribute your music is to make submissions to top radio stations.
Although radio promotion isn’t a key factor to be successful as an artist, but it is still a proven way to reach the masses with your brand and music.
Getting your tracks played on the radio can make a big impact on your career, provide exposure, excitement and hype for your music.
Submission, though, isn’t as easy as just sending them an .mp3 and hoping for the best.
There’s so much more to radio submission than sending the music along.
Interested in finding out more?
Then, take a closer look at how to submit your music to radio stations such as Metro FM, 5FM, Ukhozi, Good Hope FM, Ligwalagwala FM, University of Cape Town (UCT) Radio, Gagasi FM, Kaya FM, Tshwane FM, Phalaphala FM and get heard and more exposure.
Here are the right steps to submit your song to radio stations in South Africa:
- Firstly, ensure you enroll and register every song you publish with SAMRO as it ensures you earn royalties on radio spins of your music.
- Make sure the music you want to submit has an ISRC code (a unique code given to every piece of music published that makes it easy to track radio plays and sales).
- Prepare to submit only clean versions of your music (without swear words) to commercial stations.
- Target the right independent, student and internet radio stations accepting submissions from up-and-coming bands and artists.
- Make sure you’re targeting genre-specific stations that are suitable for your music and the stage you are at in your music career. If you’re an emerging rapper, send your track to a hip-hop broadcaster, or if you play Afro-Pop, Gqom, R & B, Kwaito or House Music, look for a related radio station that regularly plays your style of music.
- Know who to approach/contact. This could be a specific DJ, or the station’s producer, program director or music director.
- After finding the contact details of the decision-makers at the stations you’re targeting, know how to submit your music. Make sure your tracks are clearly named and don’t send mp3 files (instead include links to your songs).
- Every major station will have specific instructions for music submission. Know submission addresses, file formats they accept, submission deadlines, and when to expect feedback (if at all).
- Occasionally, stations will like your song, but it may not be radio ready in its current incarnation. Take the station’s advice on board for making the song’s structure more radio friendly and resubmit.
- Create a buzz. An effective (but also most difficult) way to get radio airplay is to create hype around your music organically, develop a loyal fan base, and force the radio stations to take notice.
Record labels are music publishing companies usually with structures to not only publish music but market them locally and internationally.
Like every other country out there, South Africa has got several record labels, some of them run by artistes, and others run by multinationals with millions of dollars in revenue.
While other record labels are also great, these Top 8 listed in this article are all top-notch music labels and have perfected the art of music sharing and have worked with excellent artistes to reach fans over the years.
Ensure you make correct inquiries on your chosen record labels before applying and signing deals.
Visit the official website and social media accounts of these record labels and music schools to make enquiries, get latest news and updates.
Beware of scammers that will parade as managers.
Finally, if you know any school or music record label in South Africa that is equally a good option or shouldn’t be in this list, please let us know in the comment section.
Tell us why it is excellent or bad for new artistes, producers and songwriters.
I wish you success in your music career.