Jina Min was born in Johannesburg to a South Korean father and South African mother. She received a degree in Marketing Management from the University of Johannesburg and whilst studying was a music journalist for one of the largest online music sites in the country.
In 2012, during her studies, Jina joined Universal Music South Africa as an intern. After graduating she went on to work as Marketing & PR manager for Real Concerts and worked on some of the largest comedy shows on the continent, including Blacks Only Comedy Show and Kevin Hart’s What Now? Tour in South Africa.
Jina was also the PR manager for Johnny Clegg, Jesse Clegg, Just Jinjer, Kim Engelbrecht and David Kau.
In 2016, Jina joined a digital agency as an account manager for FMCG company – Reckitt Benckiser and worked with some of the leading brands in the personal health and pharmaceuticals sector, helping them execute their digital marketing across South Africa and the broader African continent.
Jina later returned to Universal Music Group as a Local Label Manager and subsequently became the International Label Manager and carried out marketing plans for Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Billie Eilish to name a few.
Just before the pandemic struck, Jina joined Sony Music Entertainment Africa as a label manager and worked across both the local and international repertoire as well as assisting in the West & East Africa space.
Today, Jina is a product manager and sales for EMPIRE, a San Francisco based distribution, label and publishing company, where she is spearheading the conversations in South Africa, across the SADC region and East Africa.
Q & A with Jina
Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job entails on a daily basis.
I’m an outdoorsy kind of person that has been in professionally in the music industry for most my life. For me it is all about the balance. I have worn many hats in the entertainment industry over the years, but for the most part I have been involved in marketing, PR and brand development.
The part that I love the most about this industry is that no two days are the same. Each project is unique and they are all in different places in their lifespan which keeps things interesting.
On a daily basis I can go from developing marketing plans for a single, EP or even a full body of work. I can be coordinating with different stakeholder like PR managers, artist managers and my internal team about different elements of an artist project. I will also liaise with the various DSP’s (Digital Service Provider) across Africa on upcoming projects.
I manage budgets, the production process and the development of creative elements such as music videos, social media assets and press images. A product manager/ project manager/ label manager is the custodian of the artist brand and works very closely with the artist, manager as well as the label/distributor/publisher.
My typical day entails working South African hours but also being available for meetings with my colleagues in the US.
How did your journey in the industry begin?
I started in the music scene when I was 16 years old. I started off managing bands and putting on metal shows and festivals at my local venue. I then went on to study BCom Marketing Management at UJ and whilst I was studying, I took up a freelance writing job for an online music website. It helped me get a better grasp of the key players in the industry. I then went on to be an intern at Universal Music and as they say, “the rest is history.”
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently there are several projects I am working on across South Africa, Reunion Island and East Africa. The idea is to build the profile of artists in their home territory. In addition, I am working on building the profiles of some of the West African artists in the SADC region, whilst working on breaking international artists in South Africa too.
What are some of your career highlights?
I have been really fortunate to work on some great projects over the years. Highlights would include going on tour with Kevin Hart, Joan Armatrading, Jim Jefferies, Jimmy Carr and Calum Scott, to name a few. It has also been a great honour to be able to present plaques to Post Malone and Sam Smith for their achievements in South Africa.
What and who inspires you?
Disabled and paraplegic achievers have always been a massive inspiration to me. These are people who have managed to achieve incredible things despite the circumstances they find themselves in.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
FAME week is like a one-stop shop. It is the perfect place for the rest of the continent to see how to tap into anything to do with the entertainment industry from television, film, music and all things entertainment.
What tips can you give an artist who wants to build a reputation and a career that is going to keep them relevant in the industry?
Educate yourself about how the business works and empower yourself with knowledge. There are so many resources online from YouTube, to articles, to blogs. Attend talks, workshops and mixers. It is so vitally important to be aware of what your peers are doing or even artists you admire.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry people too. More often than not, they would be happy to share some insights and offer advise. Be armed with enlightened questions and not just “how can I get signed?”
What is your favourite thing about Africa?
I love that the world is FINALLY sitting up and taking notice of everything we have to offer. We are in such a unique position now that other territories are starting to turn to us for creative direction with all things music, fashion, culture and business development.
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