The revolution will not be televised; it’s not on radio either
Written by Sifiso Gcabashe
Music has always been a very important part of south African people, may it be in protest or celebration, music still remains as one of those factors that unify people. South African music has also changed through the introduction of new voices and faces who bring with them new adaptations and styles of music. However, with growth and change, there seems to be a number of problems that are holding back the progression of South African music, especially for newcomers .
The Brother Moves on, The Fridge and Love Glory– these are some of the many new groups and musicians that are very popular within the urban market and especially away from mainstream media such as television and radio. It seems as though the unfortunate distance from mediums that offer greater platforms for exposure for upcoming artist forces them to remain “Just hot on the streets”.
Take radio for example: Radio originally was always a platform to break new artists and music, making it the best place to expose yourself to new markets. It seems radio is failing to do so .The race for ratings, nepotism and the “let me put my friend on mentality” is also slowing down progress drastically.
On the other hand, TV and other mediums can offer well needed support for the lack of knowledge from artists, especially on how best to access these mediums, which can also be a problem. I work with a lot of artists and play some of their music on my radio show and its always the same case, “We don’t need radio, we’ll keep to the streets”, as a result some great music will always remain unheard and stagnant in the backrooms of producers households.
With the digital era taking over artists, they have found so many ways to promote and even sell their own music, as much as the great leaps have been made by artist original forms of marketing are still needed.
It is also very necessary for all those in the industry to get involved, opening doors for newcomers to showcase and also be allowed the education that is necessary for growth.
It is also important to stop holding to what we are used to know and begin to embrace the new and the unfamiliar. This is, it seems to be what the majority of South African youth is doing or experimenting with. Media heads and those involved must open the channels if we are to compete on an international scale. This is why artists such as Spoek Mathambo and Die Antwoord had to make it abroad before they could be played on radio and TV locally. That should not be the case, it is time now to put the artistic integrity of our music first so it may prosper.