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’?