OPINION: My Country, My Music – Don Laka

What a time to be alive! The South African music industry was rocked by the news that the SABC has committed to playing 90% local content on all its radio stations. This is huge because the SABC is the biggest broadcaster in South Africa, operating 18 radio stations around the country. The biggest stations being Ukhozi FM and Metro FM according to City Press and the Eastern Cape based stations being Umhlobo Wenene FM and Tru FM.

Where Does The Struggle For Airplay Come From?

Early November 2015, eTV’s Checkpoint reported that “the licence regulations stipulate that public and community radio stations must play at least 40% local content whereas commercial stations are only expected to play 25%”. This is a scary fact which opened the industry to abuse in the form of acts such as payola (to get played you have to pay! Hmm Ricky Rick said “If n*ggaz are paying for these awards then I don’t want them [low key shot at Emtee?] anyway…). Artists were literally fighting for the crumbs left over after international artist where done eating and this also meant that the bulk of payments in the form of royalties where paid to international acts. The whole industry has fought these percentages¬†for many years on all levels so this is a break through.

What Does All This Mean?

The 90% being thrown around basically means that if you turn to a SABC broadcasting station 9 times out of 10, it will be a local artist’s song playing on the radio. But the radio game hasn’t changed! You still have to be a registered artist with SAMRO. If you want to find out more about SAMRO check out SilasbeatsSoundCloud:¬†Q&A ‘applying for SAMRO’SAMRO payouts, SAMRO membership‘. Furthermore, The Blacksmithed has written about general packaging in a article titled ‘7 Ways You Can Help The Blacksmithed Music Help You’

Our Advice

We at The Blacksmithed deal with a range of artists and every artist is different. Some artist target radio as a platform of distribution while others target blogs. Whatever your method, the fact still remains: it is easier to get on radio and to get playlisted today than it was a few days ago. Therefore with the changing of market it would help your career to move differently. If you are about to release your single, why not distribute (push) a clean version and keep the explicit version for your full length project? Another idea would be to distribute a clean version and only publish an explicit version on your fan page/website for the people who actually follow your music and are on the look out for it as to appose to the potential “fan” who you entice to click a link and don’t even know if they actually listened to it. Pushing a clean single doesn’t limit your music’s reach; getting 20 000 downloads looks great but it only takes 1 music compiler’s listen to have your music playlisted and rotating. Cleaning your music makes the whole process easier.

Do believe the hype, the game has changed!