LotusFM is stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to this ruling that also requires the Indian lifestyle broadcaster to comply.
This follows the SABC announcing it will play 90% South African music across its 18 radio stations from 12 May.
The station has faced many hurdles with a battle over the balance of North and South Indian music content being skewed in favour of North Indian content. With this ruling of 90% local content, the station is to face a loss of listenership across the board as listeners choose to tune in based on their music selection. But losing listeners is the tip of the iceberg.
Loss of revenue expected
The decline in listenership will impact advertising revenue. The SABC will be forced to re-evaluate their advertising rates to appeal to existing business to continue their investment in advertising with Lotus FM.
What happens to the LotusFM Countdown?
Bollywood’s radio jock, Varshan Sookhun and Best of Kodambakkam’s Mala Lutchmanan could potentially face a serious problem with how this is to be managed.
It’s a given that 90% of South Indian music is devotional content either created right here in South Africa or a rip off from a leading artist from somewhere in the world.
This move by the SABC leaves little consideration over creative license to the station and their radio jocks as well as to impacting the revenue that currently streams in.
So tell me, Mala Lutchmanan will be playing a Murugan Kavady bhajan as part of the annual countdown?
There is a fair amount of quantity coming from our local artistes, I am afraid that there is not much quality prevailing. Local content leaves much to be desired in my opinion.
In the mainstream, creativity has lost out to revenue, dear SABC. But I believe there is a place where revenue is trumped by creativity and genuine songwriting which I must admit, South African Indian music is still birthing and nowhere at the point that listeners will want to insist on 90% local content. It irks me that most of what we have today in the local Indian music industry comprises notorious mediocrity.
Must Read: LotusFM: The Revolt Against SABC
And as for Varshan, is he going to end up playing chutney tunes for Song of the Year?
And you don’t have to look very far for every singer who thinks they can sing. There’s a good chance it’s happening right in your own backyard. That heart and soul of music is still beating deep within the local music scenes.
There is quantity from our local artistes in the music field but not much quality.
Do not get me wrong we have some amazing singers and bands BUT we as South African Indians cannot honestly admit that it’s worth the repetitive airing like a DSTV channel airing the same content over and over.
Quality VS Quantity
There is an urgent need to establish recording standards and rigorously enforce them. It should not be just because a person can pay for studio time should he or she be allowed to permanently place the toneless sound of their voice on a recording and think it is a great sound/song and then be able to air that junk on Lotus FM.
At some point, producers must determine what is good sound and what is unwanted sound. More importantly, producers must be professional musicians who can advise persons who over sing and who do not pitch properly.
Moreover, producers also need to address lyrical content and song structure. Musical arrangements must be thoroughly assessed and reassessed for the best quality sound. We need to stop producing music that sounds hollow and empty.
A lot of work needs to be done locally to significantly enhance the sound quality, lyrical content, tone and structure of the music we produce that listeners can acknowledge as worth listening to.
The ruling for 90% local is in effect immediately. LotusFM listeners brace yourself for the change which has come faster than expected.