Reality of Music Making In Malaysia
The fact that you have clicked on this post to read this proves that you are either someone really passionate about music or you are someone who is still trying to find a grip on making money from Music in Malaysia.
Today, i write this post as a label owner. Though only 2 months old and only have 2 songs on my catalogue, both songs are on radio charts now. This is besides the fact that the other 2 songs that i am working with a label partner for is also on the radio charts. So i must have gotten something right? right?
Anyway, I experienced many faces of the music industry in Malaysia. During my schooling years (primary school) i was exposed to a lot of Zainal Abidin, Nora, and of course Amy Mastura! i still remember i will dance and mime to her song everytime they show it on TV. When i went on to secondary school, i then grew up with OAG, Butterfingers, Juliet The Orange & Nice Stupid Playground. It was great.
When i was in college, i started having love for country, folk & bluegrass music and that made me making friends with local pub musicians. It was a great time of my life.
Today, i’m involved with mainstream malay & english music making. So i’ve literally been through it all.
So let me tell you why we are short of Local English Music in Malaysia. Firstly, it’s because 90% of the people who listen to English music are pirates. None of them buys the English Music. And when you produce English music, you are competing with the Americans, Brits, Australians, ETC. Not saying that we are no better than them, but really. What are the odds?
A good composer friend recently told me. Do you notice the countries where their music goes international is actually music of their native language.. I’ve never looked at it that way. But we listen to English, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, French, etc.. This shows that local support for native language content is still the strongest.
And this situation is similar in Malaysia. Bands that have lived the english glory music days would tell you the same thing. In Malaysia, the music market is in the ‘Malay Market’. It’s not a matter of population or racism, but the fact is, the local malays are those who appreciate their industry, their roots and therefore they pay and buy music. And the fact of the matter is, a good English song can probably make RM 50,000.00 but a good Malay song can make a Million Ringgit. #FoodForThought
Very recent i met a few young musicians who play & write English Music. Damn they are talented. But my exact words to them. If you dont want to diversify your music, you’re looking at a very thin success rate. Not everybody can be Pete Teoh.. duhhhh
So looking back in History. Pub scenes. Who are the bands that you actually play their music today? Carefree? Kenny Remy Martin, Freedom, Blues Gang, Alleycats? what do they all have in common? they all have Malay songs!
Now, the question is, how do we improve this situation and make local content relevant again?
(These are my personal opinion and goals. You can disagree, just dont make it an issue)
I’d like to see the government setting rules for content on radio. At least 60% of songs played on any radio station, English, Malay or Chinese should be local. The Chinese community in Malaysia suffers the same fate. Local chinese listen to HongKies & Taiwanese singers. Not locals. #SadButTrue
After all is said, it also boils down to the listeners. Stop pirating music. Start paying for concerts if you want to see quality shows. Yes you complain that local concerts sucks as the show is so bare. Well the fact is, without proper funding, nobody can put on a good show for you.
There should be more incentive for international collaborations to happen. Not necessary big collaborations, but collaborations that makes mutual sense to do.
Anyway, i’d like to take this opportunity to thank my music partners Faithful Music, FUSE Asia, Tune Studios, Warner Music Malaysia, Universal Music Malaysia for believing in my product and dreams and helping me make these dreams a reality.
Now, hopefully i’ll make some money so i can continue to make music. 🙂
Oh, and here are some of the stuff we’ve done lately, so just in case u wanted to listen or buy some local music thats on the Hitz & Era charts now, here would be good choices 🙂