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The exploration of the dynamics of the South African Indie music scene through an auto- ethnographic account of the making and marketing of my debut album, Becoming.

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This study of the independent music scene in South Africa is motivated by my own experiences of composing, recording, and independently marketing my debut album, Becoming. While my journey to becoming a musician required a long-term commitment to the development of musical skills, I found that once I had reached the point of recording my first album, I was poorly versed in marketing skills and knowledge of how to engage effectively with the Indie music scene in South Africa. This study is thus inspired by my own experience (hence the autoethnographic methodology) and the need to understand this particular social network, mechanism, and way of being in the world that is called the South African Indie music scene. The methodologies used for this research include: Autoethnography, Ethnography, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis otherwise known as IPA, which I used when working with four musicians and music business practitioners who exert some influence in independent music in South Africa and who have achieved a measure of success. Their journeys provide a context for my own experiences and foreground the issues that independent artists may confront. The aim of this research is not to find fixed answers to the dilemmas that remain prevalent in the South African Indie music market, but rather, to dissect, discuss, and explore what may happen when pursuing an independent music career. Through this research, I discovered that many of the tensions between art and commerce pertain to how we think and dichotomise the two. My findings therefore propose a merging of the two – what I present as ‘entrepreneurial artists’ in Chapter Four, to alleviate some of the tensions one may face. Through a detailed analysis of my own choices, the choices of my case studies, and the consequences of these choices, I have sought to clarify the operation of this particular aspect of the South African Music industry.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.