SABC goes 90% local – good or bad?

Yesterday the South African Broadcasting Company’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that as of today, May 12, 2016, the broadcaster’s 18 radio stations will play 90% South African music on their respective stations. This is a good thing. It’s also um… it’s interesting too. Here’s a pro’s and cons list

Let’s start with half empty…

  • Are there enough musicians in SA to put out 90%? Sure there is a massive catalogue, but some of it is ancient. There’s only so much new #ThrowbackThursday-ing one can do before it becomes dull, painful and like some of the older private stations
  • Expect countless repeats. People complain about DStv repeats. Imagine what’s going to happen when they hear their favourite artists on high rotation, repeating constantly?
  • Are there enough artists within the respective genres to play on the respective stations, which have specific target markets? i.e. are there enough pop singers for 5FM? Enough classical musicians for Classic FM?
  • Is the music actually good enough, or is it there to fill a quota?


There’s always a silver lining and this where the glass becomes half full…

  • This decision will encourage musicians to produce quality music and more frequently
  • It may help record labels, in that they’ll be on the look out for unsigned talent. They’ll invest into those up and coming stars, push their marketing budgets more to local musos rather than international ones.
  • It’ll force the music compilers to listen to, engage with and take unsigned artists that have the talent seriously.
  • It could also have a profound impact on digital sales in SA. You hear the song on Metro, you log on to AppleMusic and bam, the song is yours
  • It grows the industry as a whole. Not only do the singers make the money they deserve, but the producers, the songwriters, and the composers will get the royalties they deserve too.

What do you make of the 90%? Do you think it’ll work? Is this a long-term victory, or a short-lived ‘speed-date’?

Author: Jason Von Berg

Digital content marketer. Mobile App Editor. Entertainment, travel and New York City lover. #Triathlete, #Ironman, health and wellness advocate, @Futurelifeza ambassador

One thought on “SABC goes 90% local – good or bad?”

  1. Such bull…journalists need to do proper analysis on this 90% which I am yet to see anywhere. At a topline:

    Youth-most important market and are global citizens. 90% is just too much, has anyone ever considered whether consumers want this, I think not. Cassper always on vs Kanye….case settled

    Internet and piracy-we are not living in the 70s people…u act like the sabc is the only media source. Wake up go to schools varsity and find out how youngsters consume music …mostly international

    Jobs-surely international labels wil retrench. Their investment and skilz wil be lost. Local industry doesn’t hav the capacity to replace and replenish what int offered, not anytime soon.the market is also way too small it can’t sustain all these int labels

    Economy an rising unemployment -who will buy local and with what money given competing needs, Yungs wud rather use Data on streaming radio. The local product is not that strong to snatch spend

    Local sales-music sales for both international and local have been on a downward spiral for years. Just because local wil be on sabc doesn’t mean sales will magically increase fo local, in fact it might be worse fo local, itl be overplayed and certainly local won’t have the huge star power of international

    Performance royalties-only reason why the local artists and labels are celebrating. More AirPlay means more money fo no extra effort

    Proof-Brenda held or holds record fo highest local album (full not single) sales if not mistaken, at 500k fo memeza. There was no digital ecosystem fo music consumption,and limited exposure to international music and entertainment platforms. Why does Aka think he gonna suddenly sell 1Million

    Commercial spend-this has been mentioned but youth also thrive on aspiration. If I’m an urban brand I’d rather go with a super glossy image which unfortunately only international can offer…local is not anywhere near that level folks

    Hyper emotional South Africans should in fact ask why we don’t have cultural entertainment training centers in every major metro, like Mmabana did fo Bophuthatswana. Hlaudi is not a hero we need a sensible plan…resource community stations, develop talent, & management expertise, digital tech innovation, live events…90% is a hollow victory…one that wil soon end in tears

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