According to Siya Metane, CEO of SlikourOnLife, 2021 is the year we are going to see a considerable shift in creators becoming deliberate content creators and curators. Not only are they going to have to be very conscious of quality to attract increasingly fickle audiences, but they are also going to need a platform that offers more depth than Instagram and Facebook.

This leads to my prediction that YouTube will become an even bigger digital player than it already is. With no gigs, concerts or tours for most of 2020, creatives have had to find another way to engage their audience and inevitably this has meant digital content creation.

We will see creatives curated on their own YouTube channels in much the same way they have been on other social media channels. Until now, many creatives have been focused on digital content creation for social or vanity purposes. There will now be a greater appetite to understand and embrace the real value of their content in digital. Think of it like television or streaming platforms looking at curating content that will keep their viewers engaged to keep their revenue. In a smaller way, creatives will have the same parallel in their micro-world.

What does this have to do with marketing? Everything.

Collaborating with brands is how creatives will monetise their work. Content is such a powerful means for young people to identify with themselves, and creatives are sometimes the artistic reflection of consumer insights that brands are trying to tap into.

This is going to give rise to a new role within marketing and branding agencies: content curators. They will categorise the content creators and match them to brands, which will be looking for consistency and quality for their clients. Indeed, no one understands better how their clients’ brands fit into culture. Soon agencies or even brands will have content curation departments – central coordination hubs that manage the collaboration ecosystem between creatives and brands.

This is where the talent managers, editors, videographers, photographers, etc. will sit, enabling the consistently high-quality content creation the agencies need to deliver at the speed and agility of culture. And because they are being paid and looked after, creatives will become more loyal, which will overcome them brand-hopping for better deals.

We will see plenty of scope for all creatives, not just the big names. This is because there will be interest in pockets of micro-culture. Different communities are each their own culture microcosms, offering a lot of scope for up-and-coming creatives. People particularly like to honour their own, so home is often the best place for a creative to start.

Another emerging trend is that creatives will diversify their content. Think musician J’Something, who came to fame as the lead singer of MiCasa but soon diversified into his other love of cooking, with a recipe book, a TV cooking show and a restaurant. The boxing of creatives – a musician only makes songs – is going to end because songs are going to be part of the creative output and less a stand-alone product.

Now we are going to see how it plays out in content creators’ worlds and how consumers embrace it. We will get broader creative outputs from creatives. And if they want to lead, they are going to have to do more than outpost their competitors. The a’re going to have to offer honest or well-researched, high-quality content, which is where the new content curators will come into their own.

While South Africa is particularly good at creating new genres like Amapiano, Kwaito, Motswako and Gqom, it is other African artists who spread them to the world. Jerusalema is a case in point, as is the attention Amapiano is getting now in Nigeria with artists like Davido, who has collaborated with American musicians Chris Brown, Niki Minaj and others. South Africa is going to lead Africa’s coming content evolution in precisely the same way.