Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
l What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
Being exposed to so much music and discovering new stuff all the time. The business of buying and the general music industry is also fascinating and full of character.
l Have you always been involved in music?
Some of my earliest memories are of listening (and scratching) records and hearing music on the radio.
l What did you do before this?
DJ at downstairs Bella Napoli & Le Club resident and guest DJ at Alcatraz, Marshall Street Doors, Viper Room, Sub Zero in the early to mid 1990s. Worked for Look & Listen for about two years in Hillbrow as a general music guy and then left to do specialist imports for a few years. Before joining Look & Listen again in 1998 as a buyer and store manager, I worked for Reliable Music.
l Do you travel for your job? If so, where have you gone?
Travel opportunities do crop up. I've been to Miami, New York, LA, Connecticut and London.
l Do your own tastes come into play when buying?
They do, but there are many other variables that are also taken into account when deciding what and how much to buy.
lWhich genres are hardest to get hold of?
These days there is very little one can't get. Having said that, there are many albums and artists who have never made it onto CD and even more that were once available, but are now out of print. It can be quite challenging tracking these down. We provide a special-orders service for this. The really tough ones eventually come through to me to investigate. It does happen that we can't get certain things from time to time.
l What do you do with CDs and DVDs that are not sold?
Over time we sell most of our stock, even by means of a sale or a markdown.
l What has been your worst experience as a buyer?
Instituting disciplinary action against a staff member.
lWhat type of personality is needed to be a buyer for Look and Listen?
A combination of good people skills, a sense of humour (without trying to win a popularity contest) and patience. It also helps to be well organised and to get things done. This business is about relationships.
l What are the perks of your job?
I am invited to all manner of events from music concerts to gaming demos to movie previews. The biggest perk is working in the entertainment business and selling really cool stuff.
l What's the worst part of your job?
The pressure. Retail in general is a challenge at present.
lHow influenced are you by international trends?
A fair amount. A lot of music we hear on radio is international. The local music scene has also grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, especially Afrikaans, Afro-Pop and alternative rock.
lWhat kind of training goes into your work?
Training is in-house and on the job. One needs to have a fair amount of retail management experience coupled with good general music knowledge. It also helps to have other interests besides music, like films, gaming etc. There is no music buying course, but some of the buying principles are based on general purchasing courses that one can take. An ability to interpret stock reports and trends is a necessity.