Johannesburg - Artists should register as businesses and brands to change their lives for the better, the trade and industry department's creative industry task team said on Sunday.
Artists needed to take charge of their own affairs and ensure they did not die poor, task team member Romeo Qetsimani, who manages Ladysmith Black Mambazo, said at a formalisation workshop hosted by the department in Newtown, Johannesburg, at the weekend.
He advised artists to register their companies or brands with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (Cipc).
"This is the only way you will be taken seriously in this industry and the only way to be able to access government incentives and to provide services to government," he said.
In order for the government to assist artists, they needed to take a lead and formalise themselves so they would be able to tell it what they wanted. Artists also needed to learn on a continual basis.
"You should be learned people who will be able to read their own contracts. This industry has sharks, and if you can't read and understand these contracts, you will become a victim," he said.
The workshop focused on how artists could register companies and brands, the department's intervention to formalise the industry and its incentive schemes, copyright, and the problems facing the industry.
Cpic representative Mojalela Khoza said it cost only R175 to register as a close corporation.
"We don't have reasons not to register our businesses, as we can also do it online by ourselves," he said.
Department spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said the workshop was held in terms of a resolution made at an anti-piracy conference in Boksburg in 2010.