The truth about Afrikaans CD sales

2011-05-10 08:25
"Op, op, op, en dan af, af, af" (Up, up, up and then down, down, down).

The words of this popular song from Kurt Darren could just as well have been written about the sharp decline in Afrikaans CD sales over the last while.

Large music stores have been sending large quantities of CDs back to record companies because they do not sell. Artists believe it's because the recession isn't over - and that the public has become poorer. But Robert Ferns, Musica's head of sales, says it's especially due to bad songs appearing on CDs that sales have declined.

Gathering dust

Ferns unequivocally states that a lack of creativity causes people to not buy CDs. The assumption has always been that the illegal sale of pirated CDs damages the entertainment industry. But according to Ferns "the Afrikaans buyer is very loyal to his artists and will not easily buy a CD on the street".

Musica has returned thousands of CDs over the last while, including those of even Kurt Darren, because it is only gathering dust on the shelves. Ferns says that although they have always returned CDs in the past, this is the first time they have to return so many.


Manager Louis van Wyk admits that the poor sales of Dozi's album Voel So Reg has to do with weak songs. "You can't be a number one artist for very long. As times change, you have to constantly adapt your creativity to produce quality music."

Music expert Barry Pretorius says some artists underestimate the public. "To translate foreign tunes into Afrikaans with meaningless lyrics show that you are a replica of someone else. This is currently happening with many artists."

Kurt Darren disagrees, but admits that his CD Oos Wes, Tuis Bes sold badly. "It's true that a hit sells your CD. Like my Kaptein CD that sold 190 000 versus my Oos Wes, Tuis Bes CD that sold 65 000. People have become poorer. "


Singer Jakkie Louw believes creativity has nothing to do with the decline in sales. "People are much poorer than a few years ago. Big artists are struggling to fill theatres. The quality of Afrikaans music is so good that we can enter the Grammys."

Corné Oosthuizen, manager of singers Willem Botha and Jay, says his artists' diaries are pretty full and they don't struggle with sales.

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