Monday, March 01, 2010

Hot Topic 1/3 : Wajib Siar

So, the local entertainment industry is currently buzzing about this new government policy, “Wajib Siar” where radio stations are obligated to play new songs by local artists, starting today.

I’ve read opinions by people in the business and it’s apparent that the opinions are split as to whether this is a positive thing or otherwise.

I personally know people from both sides of the divide, and this is my own stand: I support it.
The thing is, I just feel that things are really slipping away for the industry, as we know it. People say numbers don’t lie, and the numbers are that the industry have lost some 60% of its worth compared to just a couple of years before. That is huge, people.

And we’ve heard more than once about local artists getting the door slammed in their faces when asking some radio stations to play theuir latest song. These are real situations and numbers.

No, I don’t see this policy as “closing off (international) competition”. I mean, there are tons of stations that play nothing but International music in other languages, so why should the malay-language stations go the same way?

Oh, I forgot, cos “the listeners want it”. But really, if you play something a dozen times a day, sure, you’ll get people “wanting” to hear it even more. But what you CHOOSE to play a dozen times a day is the problem here. Why not apply the same test for all the songs?

The way I see it, the policy doesn’t give a free ride to local artists as well. It just basically evens up the playing field for everyone, and yes, the listeners would be smart enough to differentiate between crap and class.

So, in the end, these local artists would find that ultimately quality is key. But the need for the right environment and support must first be addressed, no?

So okay, in this day and age, there are other potential revenue streams for the average artist, like digital sales, RBT and synchronization, but what’s the reality in those as well? For RBTs, for example, the telcos are the ones truly benefiting, taking 50% or more for every piece of content sold. Yup, it’s not really as rosy as you might expect.

And I personally know that Malaysians don’t really download full songs legally, so that route is virtually a dead-end at this point in time.

One of the biggest criticisms raised against the policy is that it lacks specifics. And on this point, yes I agree. So hopefully the specifics will be revealed pretty soon.

After which, I hope to see those benefiting from this will work their asses off to get what they think they deserve.

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