SXSW Music Festival 2017 Line-up
Born Simphiwe Nyawose, Robin Thirdfloor was raised in the Umlazi township of Durban, South Africa. He holds a BCom degree from the University of Zululand and his career is slowly becoming a far cry from the days he was broke as partly told in his 2015 EP "Sounds Empty Pockets Make" which he released on the Internet. Although he has been rapping and performing at various events for some years, not to mention being playlisted on radio stations in South Africa and the USA, it is his performance at SXSW along with his new single, Somdanger, that has put Robin Thirdfloor on more people's minds; and it seems the Internet is playing a key role with this.
If people see you on a flyer and they don't know you but they are coming to that show they will make means to check you out on the internet. Robin Thirdfloor
"I enjoyed myself a lot", he said about his SXSW performance, adding, "I noticed that in America if people see you on a flyer and they don't know you but they are coming to that show they will make means to check you out on the internet. When it's show time they will be in the stands singing along which I thought was really cool."
South African Hip-Hop has grown in leaps and bounds over the years as not only witnessed by Kwesta and Robin Thirdfloor's performances at SXSW but also how it has surpassed a once popular music genre among South African youth, kwaito. Apart from the longevity and persistence of those hip-hop artists who built the foundations for South African hip-hop, it seems the Internet somehow helped accelerate its progress especially among the newer artists as Robin Thirdfloor.
"I feel like it (the Internet) has made things much easier", he explains. "You can put up a song right now and get feedback right now whereas other forms of media like TV or radio you'd have these channels in which you'd have to go through before you can actually get to know what the people think about your release and even then you cannot guarantee that your release will be aired."
The internet has indeed made it easier for musicians to get their stuff to the people in real time, and this has made it easier for artists like Robin Thirdfloor to get their stuff out there.
Music Video by Robin Thirdfloor "Somdanger"
It is not only for music sales that the Internet can help artists but also in helping artists sell their other related goods and merchandise, as Robin Thirdfloor explained.
The Internet's importance for music artists s most apparent in its distribution power. Robin Thirdfloor has a story of how he and a couple of friends tweeted links to his new single, which led to the track trending in South Africa.
"It's a game changing combination (music and the Internet)", he explains. "The other day we dropped a music video for a song of mine titled Somdanger and it trended on Twitter after a handful of friends and I tweeted about it. The rest of South Africa sort of just jumped on and showed love for the song, which is evidence of how powerful the internet can be. The music video even made it to Trending SA which is a show that speaks about daily trends on SABC 3. I may not have submitted my material to TV, but the fact that I got recognition on TV for it made me gain even more confidence in the internet as a space where I can push my stuff."
Robin Thirdfloor | POST POST Music
Having said that, it is not easy to make a decent living as a music artist solely off Internet music streaming services. For a young artist that requires having millions of fans streaming your music. One can't rely only on the Internet for music sales but it sure does help new artists to put the word out there about their music quicker and cheaper compared to other channels.
That said, it is not only the distribution that helps artists become succesful, hard work and talent is still required and Robin Thirdfloor seems to have both in abundance.