2007 in review: There's talent, where's the stage?

Local music artistes are feeling rather peeved. RADIN SRI GHAZALI knows why.

IN the local music scene this year, the Indonesian influence seemed to be getting stronger.

But there were a few signs that the local industry was reviving, with old bands making a comeback and new groups being formed.

Over the years, a huge number of good local bands strangely enough disappeared from the public’s eye.

So it was a relief to see new, promising bands emerging with non-commercial and innovative sounds.
Bands such as Hujan, Laila’s Lounge and Meet Uncle Hussain, despite being shunned by local radio stations, proved their worth — they have their own legion of followers here and in Indonesia.

In mainstream music, bands such as Sofaz, Estranged and Jinbara created a buzz with their participation in the finals of the 22nd Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL 22).

The competition turned out to be touted as marking the Year of the Bands.

Music invasion from Indonesia has always been a sore point to many local entertainers and musicians. This year was no exception.

Hoping to have more local songs playing on private radio stations are Amy Search and Hattan, who blasted various parties for showing preference towards Indonesian artistes.

Industry observers made a big fuss when top singer Anuar Zain released his long-awaited album that boasted Indonesian composers and producers including Numata, Tg Shafick and Nico Ajie Bandy.

Nevertheless, the listeners showed that it’s all about good music and gave Anuar their full support.

The self-financed album, which cost RM200,000 to produce, sold 21,000 copies within the first two months of its release.

The heat didn’t stop there. Media and talk show guests pointed out that corporate sponsors were at fault too for their unfair treatment of local artistes.

Weeks later, Era radio introduced a new ruling — only three Indonesian songs will be played within an hour. At least something is being done about it.

All the hard feelings dissipated when Jaclyn Victor was tipped as a favourite in the Asian Idol competition, held in Jakarta recently.

But the “dark horse” in the competition, Hady Mirza of Singapore Idol, won the title and also silenced the fans of the other favourites — Mike Mohede (Indonesia Idol) and Mau Marcelo (Philippine Idol).

The Asian Idol brouhaha is still getting a huge backlash in the Indonesian media and the effects can also be observed in the local newspapers as readers write in to criticise the seemingly unfair voting system.

In record sales, the figure hasn’t been showing much improvement. Most local artistes in general are only able to sell 5,000 copies of their albums, and some others hardly hit 2,000 units.

Industry experts feel that digital downloading is the way to go in order to revive the poor album sales revenue. Due to the advancement of technology, they observe, physical album format seems to be redundant.

The likes of Mp3, Mp4 and mobile downloads are now getting the attention of local music associations such as RIM (Recording Industry of Malaysia) and MACP (Music Authors Copyright Protection) which are are endorsing the shift towards a digital industry.

Taking this enterprising initiative are famed musicians Roslan Aziz and Mukhlis Nor (who formed a duo called aLi).

They will soon be releasing songs from their debut album called The Album digitally next month before releasing it in CD format.

A sound move, as Malaysia has an estimated 14-million handphone users and at least 50,000 units of downloading can be sold to these potential customers if the method is fully developed.

source: http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Friday/Features/20071227135927/Article/indexF_html


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