I’m a big music collector and I’m ashamed that 90% of my collection is made up of American fusion jazz, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul and House music. South African artists complain that we don’t support their music, but what they don’t realise is that there are a number of issues that disable or limit us from doing so. One of these is the issue of distribution. It’s hard to find South African CDs on the shelves of major, well-recognised CD retailers.
For a while I’ve been struggling to find a CD by 340ml, but I’m certain that if I were to look for a Rihanna CD, I would find it within a few hours! I work for a music store. Customers look for local releases but most of them leave the shop dissatisfied, with some considering the illegal downloading/piracy route.
Another issue is that of music choice. What happens to someone who likes R&B in a country where most of the music played on radio is House, Kwaito, Afro-Pop, or Hip Hop? Does this mean that the person needs to switch to those genres for the sake of supporting proudly South Africa music? I have a keen ear for local music that’s fresh; as long as it is good, it’s worth buying. Unfortunately there are few artists in our country who deliver that. Most of them are independent artists but it’s difficult to access their music. As a music lover and a critical listener, I don’t really care much about an artist’s independent label issues. All I want is access to good music.
Some record companies in our country are trying to address these issues. For example, look at what TS Records did for Zahara, a talented musician with something unique and fresh to offer, well-marketed and DISTRIBUTED. Why don’t other record companies do the same with their artists?
Please do share your thoughts and views on this topic?