The Malay newspapers have been highlighting this matter of the local Malay stations playing more music from Indonesia and not supporting local music. This newspaper interviews a bunch of
And today, I read that the government is actually conducting an investigation! As if there is nothing else more important to do in government, the government is looking into this complaint and will probably have a quota on how many produced-in-Malaysia songs they have to play.
While you may think this is ironic and it goes against my personal interest for me to comment on this, I think this is the most ridiculous and most offensive thing anyone can do to creative works and the free market. Of course, such a ruling would benefit me tremendously since I am a songwriter and I stand to make more money if the local stations are forced to play locally produced music. Hence the irony.
All the arguments that were brought up by these veteran writers have no merit.
A radio station is a business. They cater to the demands of the market. (Of course, some stations take this way to personally and actually think they know what the market wants and then become an imposition.)
The reason why radio stations are not playing as much local music is because no one wants to hear it. And not many people want to hear it because the music, simply put, SUCKS. (That's the technical marketing term, by the way.)
I am not kissing ass with the radio stations. It's not a conspiracy. The radio stations are not out to kill the local industry. If anything, the musicians and songwriters are doing it to themselves by trying to sound like Indonesians today or Indonesians back in 70s. If I were a radio station, I'd too be embarrassed to play some of the local stuff I hear. Even if I were embarrassed, but if listeners wanted it, so be it. Play it.
As a producer and songwriter, I welcome the challenge. It bugs me whenever I hear an Indonesian song on the radio. But if it is good, it is good and it deserves its place on radio. I take it as a personal challenge and I want to do better to compete. Understand that I am not anti-Indonesian. I am in awe of their progress but I do not see them as one to emulate (since they are emulating the British.)
The bottom line here is the radio stations as a business, owe the music industry nothing. They owe it to their customers and listeners.
And then there was this new argument today suggesting that there should be a law to force local stations to play local artists so that we can have international acts. He cited Australia with Savage Garden and Kylie Minogue. I don't see the logic here. How, by force-playing local acts, will the act go international. (Incidentally, Kylie made it via the U.K. and most Australians probably hate Savage Garden's music.)
So let's say the government manages to have a quota and radio stations are forced to play local music (but there isn't really enough good local stuff so they either repeat the good ones or start playing crap). First, all the stations will sound like X-Fresh. Or RTM! You can see where that is going.
But this is what is going to happen: Radio will lose their listeners. Listeners will go to music social networks like imeem.com or last.fm and get their music. Radio will become less relevant. It will become what the railway station is to transportation. And then we would get closer to completing our mission as a nation that takes one step forward but two steps back.
And when listeners go online for their new music discovery, NO ONE IN MALAYSIA GETS PAID.
As for the music industry, it's Proton all over again. Constantly expecting handouts and never wanting to look at the real cause of the problem.
Burn that analog tape machine and take a good look in the mirror.
Phew! Now I feel better.