SA music is more popular than international tunes

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

South African musos are set to rake in the profits if the trend in music sales is anything to go by according to music insiders.

"People are beginning to show more interest in South African music," said Sheer House marketing manager Tshepo Motaung.

"The market is changing and the quality of music production in the country is improving to an international level," he said.

South African music sales have been on a rise in the past few years with sales steadily catching up to and exceeding international sales locally.

In 2002 threemillion local CDs were sold, compared with 7,7million international units sold. But this divide narrowed consistently until music sales statistics last year showed that more than a million more local CDs were sold than international units.

"The biggest drivers are house, kwaito, gospel and boeremusiek. We come from a time when a lot of this music is popular with the youth [the biggest buyers of music], but the production techniques are still below the desired standard, especially in the house music genre." said Motaung.

"Young people love dance music, and it's only now that our producers are learning the techniques to original music that people can relate to," he said

Music Industry Online senior writer Phathu Ratshilumela said the trend would continue, but local musicians would eventually need to start creating a sound that is more universally marketable.

While the total unit sales of all local music products outstripped international items by almost four million units, the total value of international products was R540million compared with R455million for local music.

"The problem is with the prices of the products, and it's not a question of expensive imports because most international music is printed locally," said Ratshilumela,

"It's just people have been so used to paying up to R190 for an international CD and refuse to pay anything above R100 for a local artist. They don't even question it anymore. It's what they've been fed," he said.