SA musicians have sold more CDs in the country than foreign artists

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

The number of local music CDs sold last year beat imported CDs for the first time, according to Recording Industry South Africa (Risa) data.

While record majors and established artists have denounced the Internet as a threat to the music industry, new artists and independent record labels seem to be thriving. Risa's figures show that independent music labels for the first time collectively outsold the local affiliates of global recording companies last year.

Though local artists sold more CD units, they did not beat imported sales measured in money because home grown music is cheaper.

Risa said sales of South African music in all genres grew by 19percent last year. This meant that the total industry wholesale value of recorded music CD's, cassettes and DVD's reached R996million last year, a 2percent increase from R976million in 2005.

EMI led with a market share of 27 percent, followed by Arfrikaans music specialists Select Music at 13,6 percent.

The local best seller so far this year is Bok van Blek's De La Rey, whose popularity owes a lot to its video on YouTube.

Risa operations director David du Plessis said this reflected a growing popularity and sales success of Afrikaans music, and a healthy trend of the rise in the value and number of units distributed for independent labels by independent distributors.

"Only a few years ago, all the independent companies were distributed by Gallo, EMI, Universal or Sony BMG. Today there has been a complete turnaround and independent labels distributed by the majors only constitute 6,1 percent of the total local industry. Independent labels distributed by independent distributors accounting for more than 35percent.

"This development has undoubtedly added to the choice that is on offer to independent producers and record companies and has stimulated healthy competition across the industry."