A place littered with the dreams of guitar-carrying hopefuls about a bigger, brighter future in some distant country (99% of time this would be USA or UK). The question i want to raise here, is why do musicians only forsee successful futures in other countries?
Obviously, the answer here relates to the minute market which one may term, "supporters of South African music", i wish to challenge this approach.
Ultimately, working in the music industry myself, i would like to tell you all, that the quality and expertise behind local music is ascending dramatically. Producers are getting in line and actually mixing records 'correctly', guitarists are learning to play more than 3 chords, rappers are learning how to rhyme words like 'indubitable' and DJS are mixing tracks so smoothly. Our music industry has progressed to such a point where local bands/djs/artists are actually as talented or pretty close to most international musos.
In the rock scene there is the formidable Springbok Nude Girls, Metal- Misericord, Hip-hop - ProKid and ambient - Felix Laband.
Awesome record labels like African Dope and Alter-Ego have created the recent surge in non-commercial bands and the creation of artists who would usually not see the light of day, if they produced anything out of the unusual.
So with all this growth and encouragement, then why would musicians prefer to make their breakthroughs in other countries? Why is support for local music lacking?
One very severe factor lies in the price of music. Let's face it, CDs are getting very expensive. To further add fuel to the fire, and much to my disgust, local albums are often placed in a similar price range to CDs coming in from around the world. I understand that producing albums is expensive, but something must really be done to attract music lovers to local music. For starters, CD prices must be slashed. In order to achieve this than perhaps Government subsidies should be sought, or else we need a decent music related NGO which can target funds into record labels, on condition that their CDs go for sale at a reduced price. This should encourage music lovers to give local music a bash, as the opportunity cost of buying a cd is reduced greatly.
Springbok Nude Girls
The other issue, in promoting local music, is its availability. We all hear local songs on the radio, but they are usually repeated every couple hours. We need DJs who focus on local music specifically and have a vast knowledge in this regard. These guys must churn out the correct local tracks, so as not to chase off any "unliberal" listeners. Although we have a quota in place at many radio stations, this is often enforced poorly and does not "advertise" local music in the correct way.
At the end of the day, what i'm saying, is that local music is good! you just have to know where to look! It is worth the money, even though buying albums can easily break the bank. Make musicians want to stay in this country. Support local music and lets build on this emerging local industry and expand the quantity of what we may call "supporters of South African music".
Comments much appreciated. even if they are only a word or 2.