Like Rand, SA Music Industry Hits All Time Low


I wouldn’t be negative, I will not be pessimistic and will resist every urge to say it’s a season of free falls in South Africa. I will not recount the things that nose-dived from their prestigious positions of late, doing such is depressing. So I’ll just let you know that like our rand, the South African music industry is in distress.

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Based on an ENCA report package, our music industry is dying out. The rise of digital music that permits music download which are most times illegal, is killing the industry as CD sales are now “at an all-time low.”

Normally, South African artists have to sell 25,000 to 50,000 copies before they attain the “gold or platinum status”. But the situation is different now as the “slump in CD sales has prompted the recording industry to downgrade the gold status to 15,000 copies and platinum to 30,000.”

Nhlanhla Sibisi, from the Recording Industry of South Africa reportedly commented thus; “we looked at the continuous decline of CD sales and we’ve noticed that in the past three years, the decline is averaging 30 percent. Now that is a substantial decline. That is making it almost impossible for many artists to reach gold and platinum.”

Nevertheless, the decline does not in any way suggest that there is a drop in the consumption of music. In fact, consumption has surprisingly increased as there are many users sharing and downloading songs from the many online music platforms.

Oscar Mdlongwa, a recording artist, DJ, and record producer well-known by his stage name – Oskido commented that; “some of the music is now on the phones. If you can see the cars these days, some don’t even have CDs. You have to buy a stick. So therefore you find that file sharing has become the biggest thing and it has a huge impact on artists.”

“This isn’t only a South African problem, it’s a global one. Artists need to find innovative ways of marketing themselves,” Oskido added, but then explained that there is an advantage.

“Because of social network, it’s easy to market your song. You don’t really need record companies coming and telling you we’re spending so much in marketing.”

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