Each person has preferences, we gauge our entertainment by to our personal criteria but do we bend such criteria for local products, in comparison to its international counterparts?
The South African youth demand and have developed high expectations when it comes to everything. From movies to music, there are certain levels of quality that we have grown to expect. So when people say an album is crap, generally others will believe them (pending that statement comes from a reliable source). We listen to a lot of American music, mostly. We criticise the albums they produce, as we do our own. However, what standards are we trying to impose on our own local musicians? I mean: Are we criticising local music based on the same criteria we would use to criticise International music or do we have two separate criteria and standards for album production? In such standards, do we also take into consideration the differences in both markets or we just box every one under the term ‘Music’? Are our standards tailor-made for our local music acts?
Also, if we have those criteria and we’re so harsh on our musicians for the albums they’re producing, are we as critical on TV productions? Because, many South Africans will criticise local musicians’ work and slander their body of work, but rarely does one see tweets as harsh about TV productions; it seems like we’re intolerant when it comes to music, but we’re tolerant when it comes to television production. Many won’t support a local musicians’ album by buying a copy, but they’ll tune into ‘trash’ television shows and help boost their ratings. So we support one form of entertainment and blatantly refuse to support the other.
So our standards are imposed on one form of entertainment, and not the other? Why is that? And since music is subjective, your “this album is trash” opinion might be someone else’s “this is a work of art” perspective. As aforementioned the preferences and different tastes each individual has is subject to how the body of work will be perceived. As subjective as music may be there has to be a clear set of criteria that even people opposing each other have guidelines on putting the comparison on the board, otherwise it’s a ‘he said he likes it’ and ‘he said he didn’t like’ with no progress for the music fraternity as a whole. Also, negative comments from a trusted source (usually someone who is respected in the music industry pertaining their contributions directly or otherwise) does generally affect one’s decision on whether to buy an album or not – this is a generalisation. So by being such harsh critics; rejecting most albums, aren’t we doing more damage to our music industry than we think?
Honest and constructive criticism only exists if there are standards preceding the comment. The comment should be backed by facts and pointing to the product in hand. Opinions are good as long they benefit the next person who is contemplating buying the music and be a learning curve for the artist. Relying on more famed a personality to be our gauge for quality of music is backwards. They have their own tastes, each to their own, and should not be relied upon as deities in music.
Fans, stans and new listeners should base their criticism, if any, on personal account of the music not because a VJ or DJ said its hogwash. Admittedly, some of the famous people work with music on the daily but they sharing their opinion as every other person who carefully listens to the music without preconditioned thoughts.
To our artists, an investment to your art is pivotal. From being a brand to an entertainer – to the ingredients that come together into making your next radio hit. When we think of standards of the music a few questions arise. How state of the art are our recording studios; compared to studios that international artists record in? Does that affect the quality of what musicians produce? Also, how many musicians can afford studio time in those ‘great’ studios?
We are equipped with some of the most talented studio engineers in the country and that should reflect in the output we hear on our radios and the CDs we play in the car. This is another area where we need strict standards. If we are to run with international standards we need to invest in our behind the scenes game. Over the years we have seen an incline in the quality and we congratulate the necessary parties. If we, as South Africans, need to compare quality, we need to start comparing our own versus each other. If we sharpen our home quality of entertainment, then maybe one day the comparison with international entertainment will be on the same scale.
Of course the imminent international vs local entertainment stems from internationals did it first. They told their stories, why are we expecting our stories to replicate theirs? Why do we feel the need to do a Keeping Up with the Dlamini’s?
South Africa’s standards should be South African otherwise we playing away from home to their rules and we basically regurgitating their best and dress it as Proudly South African. And we all know how wack that is.
Written By: @MzLee_ And @SdotJR_