Earlier this week the SABC announced that as of the 12th of May, its radio stations, which command millions of listeners, will play 90% local music. “Following extensive and successful engagements with some music representatives, the broadcaster has taken the decision to implement 90% of local music across the 18 radio stations as from 12 May 2016,” the SABC said in a media statement. According to the statement, this decision is part of the broadcaster’s bid to ensure that local content that reflects the diversity of South African culture is prioritised.
The SABC’s move has been welcomed as good news by local artists, who believe that it will promote their music, which has often been overshadowed by that of popular international artists. Shortly after the SABC’s announcement, AKA posted a number of tweets expressing his excitement. He also thanked the ANC and veteran jazz artist Don Laka, who was instrumental in pushing for the prioritisation of South African music on the SABC’s radio stations. “THIS IS THE GREATEST VICTORY IN THE HISTORY OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC INDUSTRY,” AKA tweeted. “THANK YOU DON LAKA. THANK YOU ANC!!!!!!! FREEDOM AT LAST. WE WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO SELL ONE MILLION RECORDS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY,” he added.
Arthur Mafokate, the ‘King of Kwaito’, tweeted, “Well done SABC! Well done SA government! Thanks for listening to the people! 90% local music!”
Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula tweeted, “Breaking News : SABC to play 90% local music starting frm tmro in 18 radio stations…. Best news ever…”
Earlier this year Don Laka accused the SABC of destroying the South African music industry and taking money out of the country’s economy by playing more international music than local.
While many people praised the SABC for its move, some think that 90% of local music is too much. However, the SABC’s decision is not final. Over the next three months they will be interacting with listeners and various stakeholders to evaluate their satisfaction with the new local music quota. If it has a negative impact on listenership, revenue, etc, it might be adjusted down to give more room to international music.