It’s an interesting day for the South African music industry today as SABC’s COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the SABC’s 18 stations will be forced to play 90% local music. This means that there will be limited space for the stations to play tracks from international artists such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and more.
The SABC confirmed that it met with various stakeholders and discussed the notion today and decided to move forward with the action starting tomorrow. “The SABC has taken a radical decision about its local content offering across all its radio, television and digital platforms. It is in this context that the decision on local music will ensure that the SABC fully reflects the various styles of local music on offer. Our respective radio stations will not be confined to playing local music which is language specific, we want to come to a point where any of our 18 radio stations can become a home for all South Africans. This cross-pollination of music is very important for the public service broadcaster, because part of our mandate is to reflect the South African story and music is an important part in ensuring that the SABC fulfills this mandate,” Hlaudi said in a statement released today. “The SABC will engage its audiences to evaluate whether the audiences are satisfied with these changes. This process will pave way for the corporation to make an informed decision going forward,” reads the statement.
I am a big fan of local music and I am in agreement that it needs to be played more on our local radio stations. Naturally, musicians all around the country have praised the decision to playlist more local content but I can’t help but wonder if 90% is a bit excessive. Sure, I get why musicians such as AKA, Donald, Don Laka and many more are excited about this but I’m worried that this means that there will be an increase in mediocre music on our stations. Yes, the more audiences here local music, the more people will buy and support local music but what if that music isn’t good enough to be on radio? The stations then have a quota to fill and will therefore play these songs.
Honestly, I don’t think this will work. I wonder how stations such as 5FM and Metro FM will cope when they do rely a lot on international music for their listenership. Will the new rule decrease or increase listenership? I guess we find out sooner rather than later as the new rule takes effect tomorrow.
One thing is for sure, we are experiencing some of the most exciting changes the music industry has seen in a very long time.
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