South African, Morgan Kaye, is the Publishing & Rights Manager at Paradise Worldwide and is based in Berlin, Germany.
Paradise is an Independent Digital Distributor based in Berlin, Hamburg, Johannesburg and San Francisco. Paradise stands as one of the premier aggregators & most innovative Multi Channel Networks in the digital media field.
Morgan started her career at Indie Distribution company, Electromode Group in production and then as the Label Manager. It was here that her passion for live performances was ignited and she moved to Electromode’s sister-company G Management to be the road manager for some of the South Africa’s top artists.
G Management was appointed as the exclusive booking agency for The Voice South Africa in 2016, which subsequently saw the company acquired by Universal Music Africa and rebranded as UMG Live in 2017. Morgan developed the live strategies and for acts such as Okmalumkoolkat, Nasty C, Sho Madjozi, Lady Zamar, The Muses, 1st Project, Tresor and more.
After three and a half years at the helm, Morgan left her post as GM at UMG Live to follow her dream of protecting creators’ rights while also bridging the gap between Africa and the world when she was offered a position at Paradise in their newly-formed Publishing and Rights division. More on the department here.
Q&A with Morgan
How did you start in the industry?
I studied AV Communication at University of Johannesburg and really thought I wanted to be a sound engineer at the time. However, as it turned out, I’m not all that good at being creative, but I still loved music and so the business side was more attractive to me.
At 20 years old, I Googled every single record label’s physical address and sent my CV to each one old school by snail mail. I got a few rejection letters (from companies who, 10 years later, offered me jobs) and one call back from an indie label for a temp position covering someone who was going on maternity leave for 3 months. And that was 17 years ago. I’ve done a bit of everything since then – from production, label management, PR /plugging, artist management, bookings and now: copyright/ business affairs.
What does your typical work day look like?
I am never bored, as I find myself switching from task to task to keep it interesting. I spend 50% of my day doing publishing administration : which includes registration of works with all the different societies, contract drafting, licensing agreements, sample clearances. The other 50% is creative and acquisitions: finding new talented songwriters to work with, arranging collaborations, seeking additional publishing opportunities like sync deals with brands, songwriting sessions. I’m also presently involved with an incredible project called TRIDES which aims to use technology to assist rights holders in matching unidentified content to ensure that their revenue is allocated accordingly.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
This is an industry that has been destroyed by the pandemic, so how do you see our industry coming together through an event like this? As is the ethos here at Paradise, FWA is also about “building bridges”. I myself am part-African and part-European so I always have one foot in each continent, and I am passionate about making connections between different cultures. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can connect from anywhere in the world and be just as, or even more, productive and collaborative. Technology has afforded us all the chance to connect. The pandemic has been woefully devastating to the economy and to the livelihoods of creatives, but my hope is that it’s also helped in encouraging more writing, producing and back-to-basics connecting with one another.
The industry is in desperate need of solutions to help creatives (and their greater teams including sound engineers, makeup artists, tech /gear teams, road managers) to remain in the industry beyond this “pause in transmission”.
It would be a huge blow if we lost so many talented individuals who’d been forced to leave their craft for a desk job due to poor support from public and private sector. I hope this conference can attract potential financiers to keep the music playing.
What do you think the future of the creative industries look like?
Unfortunately, for the live industries, it will be a long, hard road back to the old normal. The pandemic has forced creatives to ensure that their (previously ignored) non-live and non-record revenue is priority: creatives are educating themselves more on neighbouring rights and publishing income and understanding how important these revenues are.
I think there will be a massive shift away from the traditional Collecting Society models with more and more independent management entities (with better technological infrastructure) for more effective sound recording/works registration, direct licensing (that will bypass outdated processes) and help with more immediate royalty collection and payouts.
With FAME Week Africa being hosted in the Mother City, what do you love about Cape Town?
I’m presently in Berlin and missing my home country tremendously. My favourite memories in Cape Town are running four, Two Oceans Marathons: its truly is deserving of the title of “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon”.