Tumi Mogapi is the founder of Culture Coins Agency, assisting music users and creatives with music rights services.
She has 16 years’ experience in the music industry, from working for NORM (National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music) as a Financial Administrator, Gallo Music Publishers as a Royalties Manager, Sheer Music Publishing as a Junior Manager in Finance and a Senior Creative Liaison and SAMRO (Southern Africa Music Rights Organisation) heading the Publisher Services department. She has served on the Production Music South Africa Board and an observer on the Music Publisher Association (South Africa) board. She is currently one of the founders and Chapter Chair of the South African Chapter of Women in Music, with the objective of providing opportunities and advancing the women in the South African music industry.
Q&A with Women in Music, Tumi Mogapi
Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job entails on a daily basis.
I am a fan of music, most importantly urban African music. I love the feeling of discovering new music and hearing something I like for the first time. It is such an amazing wave! Working in the music publishing space you often get the opportunity to listen to demos, unreleased songs, meeting up and coming and established singer/songwriters who are either signed to you or looking for a publishing deal. I also deal with administering copyrights and that involves, registering the songs with collecting societies, dealing with copyright infringements, resolving copyright disputes, licensing songs to music users such as filmmakers, advertising agencies, brands, TV shows, streaming services, production companies etc. There’s never a dull moment, as there’s always something to investigate or solve, or find opportunities for songs that I handle.
How did your journey in the industry begin?
It was all by chance but I’ve since realised that it was meant to be because music was always important to me! We used to sneak out to go to music shows when we were in high school. Always looking for opportunities to attend live shows to see Boom Shaka, Crowded Crew, Bongo Maffin and all the kwaito and hip hop acts that were making waves at the time. I even got to appear in Trompies music video for the song Tholakele and spent the whole day on set, behind the scenes. My parents still remind me of the fact that they only realised years later that the Electric Workshop that I used to attend in Newtown was not a school function but actually a rave! So in 2005 I started working at NORM, which was a mechanical rights collecting body, as a data capturer trying to make money so I could finish my BCompt studies, and never looked back.
What are some of your career highlights?
-Obtaining my Bcompt degree with Unisa, and Postgrad Diploma in Management Practice with Henley Business School while working full-time.
-My first leadership role as a Royalties Manager at Gallo Music Publishers.
-Opening my own business in March this year, Culture Coins Agency which provides music rights services to creatives.
-Forming the Women in Music South African Chapter and becoming the first Chapter Chair, in August last year.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently heading Africori’s music publishing department and we look after Focalistic, Master KG, Altra Nova, Blaqnick, MasterBlaq, MJ, Red Robyn, Stay True Sounds, Tisle Fuels and many more. I am always looking for opportunities to place our music with projects that align with the messaging. Unfortunately almost all the projects I’m working on right now have not gone to market, therefore I’m not allowed to disclose.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
Fame Week Africa is an important platform because it provides that one place where all the stakeholders of all the many creative industries can gather, to discuss challenges, opportunities, synergies and solutions. More importantly, it is a platform where creative industries from all over Africa and the rest of the world can network, connect, inspire, be inspired, sell their art and learn from one another.
What do you think the future of the creative industries look like for Africa?
I think Africa is currently under the spotlight and it is our time to show the world what we have to offer, as we continue to gain global popularity. We are seeing a lot of International companies investing in the continent as they seek for profitable invetsments especially with the rise of the digital economy in the last two years. The upside of this trend is that it is encouraging law makers and internet and tech companies to come up with solutions around decreasing data costs and increasing access for Africa. And because of this shift, I think we should prepare ourselves for more digital innovation in creative industries. The world is getting smaller and businesses who solely rely on providing services and or goods based on the territory they operate in and not necessarily the uniqueness of their products and services, will be in trouble. It is time for creative industries in Africa to reflect, define and capture what is unique to Africa, and offer that to the world.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone wanting to get into the industry?
Be the consumer, research and go to events specific to the industry you want to pursue a career in. Find mentors of people who are already in the industry to guide you and advise you. Do not be afraid to ask for help and follow your heart, so you can bring your unique self into the game!