Busking could remedy the Chicken-and-Egg problem of 90% local music on radio

High quality buskers on South African streets could become the supply to the 90% demand of local radio stations.

Busking could remedy the Chicken-and-Egg problem of 90% local music on radio

Artists in South Africa has been given a new lease on life when it was announced that local radio stations are required to play a minimum of 90% local content. For any well known South African artist this would probably equate to scoring four to five numbers in the weekly lottery draw, for the struggling and unsigned artist this could mean the difference between a great career in music or a life full of regret.


Your friends who's forever tagging you in an EP they just uploaded or a single they just finished, finally has a chance at becoming more than just that annoying person who forced your hand at updating your privacy settings. However just because the goal posts have shifted doesn't mean they will score. So how exactly will they introduce other people to their music and their talents. I am not the oracle, but I have an inkling that busking might just remedy the situation.


Busking is the "art" of playing music in the street or other public places for voluntary donations. It drapes the location in a welcoming sound that gets people to congregate with strangers, capture the moment on their smart devices, laughing together or wondering in awe at the musical talents of the performer(s). People don't come out to see buskers; they don't come out to "fill the dome", buskers come out to where you are; where people gather. The atmosphere created by buskers adds to the essence of the location as a destination, as a place to be drawn to, a place to be.


Nothing would breathe life into an up-and-coming artists career quite like busking. Busking is a great way for any artist to gain confidence, figure out who they are as performers, learn how to read the crowds, express artistic freedom, and turn all of that into a show. When a busker puts a pause into the step of a passer-by, that person could turn into a new fan, a possible performance contract, a video upload, a mention on social media, and would walk away with the gift of smiling for the rest of the day. Their reach goes as far as the reach of each of their friends and their friend's friends, ad-infinitum. When there's a 90-10 embargo on local radio stations, busking could just earn an artist those elusive four minutes of airtime that could kick-start their careers.


Famous buskers to have come out of South Africa, that you may or may not have heard of, includes artists like Capetonian Alice Phoebe Lou who has performed at TEDx Berlin, and more recently Derek Plaatjies whose claim to fame is his performance of Sam Smith's - "I'm Not The Only One", at a train station in Cape Town.


In closing, as with any art form, there is good work, great work, and then there is just kak. South Africa has a number of great locations that are perfect for busking, whoever claims them first will bring all the boys to the yard, however that is a post for another day.

Here is Alice Phoebe Lou covering Nancy Sinatra's - "Bang Bang".


Derek Plaatjies rendition of Sam Smith's - "I'm Not The Only One".


Jordan Longlace
"I write what I like." - Steve Biko

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