BLUES singer Riaan Smit recently signed a five-year deal with Peermusic, an independent music publisher.
Peermusic was founded over 90 years ago by renowned visionary Ralph S. Peer and is the largest independent music publisher in the world - with 38 offices in 31 countries and owning or administering over a million copyrights.
Today, Peermusic remains an active participant in the contemporary music scene using its extensive international reach, deep expertise and shining reputation for the benefit of thousands of composers it represents.
"I officially signed the contract this month. I was approached a while back by their South African representative, but at the time I was signed with another publisher. What happens now is I write as much as I can and they make sure every song gets registered with every country in the world and gets administered correctly," he says.
Smit says the partnership is a great platform for his music to reach a bigger audience.
"What this means for my music career is that I have my music and intellectual property represented by a reputable international company. They have the resources to ensure that anywhere my music plays, I get the royalties due to me. They also try to get placement for my music, but in the end, it is still up to me to write and promote my music. Anyone writing with me gets the opportunity to have their name and ideas recognised on a global network of international songwriters," he says.
The Windhoek-born artist plans to write a lot more and more new music and more collaborations would also be coming from him later this year.
"I have given them my back catalogue of nearly 100 songs I have written and recorded to administer. What is nice is any opportunity my music gets will benefit my collaborators. Whoever I share writing credits with will also get the benefit of any placement my music receives," he says.
The artist expressed excitement that a global company is recognising Namibian talent.
"They didn't recognise me as a Namibian writer, but as a songwriter with a long career behind and ahead of me. What Namibia needs is to recognise the talent. We have amazing artists and nearly no systematic support to give them a fighting chance at realising their potential as artists," Smit says.
He urges artists to understand the mechanics of the music industry and learn how it operates.
"Understand what a performance royalty organisation (PRO) is, such as Nascam, SAMRO, BMI, etc. Artists need to understand the difference between a record label and a publisher. I would recommend any artist to know how to register their music with a PRO, and how to release their music through an aggregator (CDbaby/Tunecore)," he said.
Smit urges artists to never shy away from signing contracts that would help them improve their careers.
"Get as much support as you can in your career. Do everything you can ensure you can make a long successful music career. As most local artists have no idea how any of this works and no one locally has the experience to teach them what the modern music business requires, a publisher is just one cog in the machine that makes up the music business," Smith says.