Note from HipHop Galaxy: this is a guest post from Silas Beats(@),an African HipHop Producer and writer who provides industry advice to a variety of up and coming artists.Check out his website silasbeats.info
90% change: What local artists can do to capitalise
Since the new 90% local ruling by the SABC, various camps have had quite a bit to say regarding the change. I decided that before I wrote anything about the topic, I should get a real feel for what people had to say about it. I jumped on twitter and had a few discussions with people who were involved in the music industry.
One group of people said that it was a good change. They believed that this is what we’ve needed for a long time. There is a belief that more local artists will be discovered and that more money will stay in South Africa because of the change. Over the first few days of implementation, these people expressed happiness that the SABC was actually carrying this out (I honestly thought it was some prank). I even remember a few short videos of people in front of their radios listening to local music.
Another group of people weren’t so optimistic. They said that this is just another gimmick that will soon pass. They also stated that because of the change, less people will listen to radio.
After hearing what others had to say I was able to confidently lay down my opinion on the topic. I realised quickly that there was a bit of a broken telephone situation. People forgot that this whole process will only last 3 months before it gets reviewed. It isn’t a solution, it’s a trial. Also, hip hop artists were among the most excited, but the original article clearly stated that jazz, kwaito and other genres besides hip hop would be the focus of this 90% local change. This isn’t to say that hip hop won’t be affected because 90% is a large number.
I honestly do believe that this change will have positive effects as some stations were only playing 40% to 60% local music. I think this gives us a great opportunity to uncover new talent BUT this will only happen if an investment is made by the SABC to have people that will look for all this new local music. If they don’t spend time digging (which I don’t think they’ll do because of a lack of manpower) then we’ll just end up hearing more of the top local artists.
For upcoming artists, now is as good a time as any other to be getting their ducks in a row with regards to SAMRO membership and all the other necessary administration. Major time needs to be spent on studio over the next 3 months to develop music to push to stations for playlisting. Photoshoots, videos and social media presence is of utmost importance as artists pitch themselves to these radio compilers. Any shift in the playing field results in smart individuals gaining the upper hand. This 90% local ruling is quite the shift, but I guarantee you that most artists will see the opportunity and won’t switch up their game. They’ll continue to play the same way expecting different results. This insane mentality is what will leave a few lazy artists bitter in 3 months time while those who had a solid plan got ahead in the game. Adapt and prosper. Sleep on the change and remain bitter.