For the past four years, the Botswana International Music Conference (BIMC) has specialised in exposing music practitioners to the value chain of the music business and has grown to become a pivotal platform for the advancement of the industry.
At this year’s event, which is slated for 27 to 29 November 2019 at a venue that is yet to be announced, founder and promoter Seabelo Modibe says they are creating a pathway to entreprenuership and wealth for music creatives and administrators. “This year BIMC is celebrating five years,” he told The Botswana Gazette. “This will be our biggest event where we are focusing on a more solutions-based conference and music market. We don’t want to turn BIMC into an event where artists come to vent their frustrations and complaints.”
To achieve this, the event is structured in four parts and pillars, namely the main conference and exhibitions, masterclasses, talent showcases and speed meetings. The main conference will focus on artists, composers, producers, performers, promoters and enablers in the industry. There will be exhibition stands for key organisations at the conference where artists will submit their music and videos to local and international broadcasters on the spot.
The masterclass in management of copyright and royalties will be a side event. Modibe says at pest BIMC conferences, broadcasters, universities, retailers, hotels and corporates complained about high tariffs charged by COSBOTS while the royalty collections society has been inundated with complaints of non payment from members.
“The irony is that users are not paying or signing licences, leading to litigation,” says Modibe. “This year we have decided to train users of works. We are bringing in top legal experts like Advocate Stephen Hollis from Adams and Adam’s law firm, Legal Director at SAMPRA Ntsietso Mokitimi Makhafola and the MD of RISA Nhlanhla Sibisi. This will be a two-day event that will not be open to creatives.”
Furthermore, masterclass in Artist Management and Bookings will feature the likes of Raphael Benza, who is responsible for many big names such as AKA, BigStar Johnson, Karabo Motitjoane from Sheer Music and Stan Khoza from Airco. Modibe says the masterclass is necessary because Botswana has a handful of artists’ managers and booking agents. This affects the entire value chain as it leads to having a few hands that assist artists and perfomers to avoid mismanagement of careers. There will also be talent showcases every day to allow artists to perform for various scouts from festival promoters, other music markets and music distributors such as the CapeTown Jazz Festival, the Victoria Falls Carnival, Gaborone International Music and Culture Week, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, The Imbizo, Moshito and Momix.
“We will also have speed meetings that will afford participants to book meetings with preferred speakers or delegates to pitch their music or business ideas,” Modibe says.
BIMC has contributed significantly to the creative space as they have plugged Tomeletso Sereetsi of Sereetsi and the Natives into their network of the MTN Bushfire and Moshito this year. They also set out rappers BanT and Veezo View to the Mtv Base party to perform. “Our long term goal is to build international brands,” Modibe explains. “Mind you, BIMC is 5 years old while other music markets have been at it for more than 20 years. This year we are going to deal with the issue of digital distribution. We have three big independent digital music distributors in Africori, Content Connect and Red Revolution. This will assist our artists to get their music on Spotify, Deezer and iTunes.”