Taking care of our artist...
If you were asked to name five DJs off the top of your head, how many of them would be Malaysian? For most people, the answer to that question would be none. The EDM community in Malaysia is large and thriving, and yet we seem to be unaware of the local talents in our region. Why is this so? It would be unfair to say it’s a lack of talent. Talented Malaysian DJs pop up all the time, but almost none of them stay in the industry long enough to become a household name.
To understand why this is happening, it would be easier to take a look at the challenges a local DJ has to go through and the incentives. There is no doubt that the current economy of our country isn’t at its best and many industries are facing stricter budgets and cutbacks. The music and EDM industry does not escape and everyone wants to lower their cost to the minimum level possible. Clubs and other music venues have strict budgets for hiring people, which translates to lower payment all around. The event managers hired by clubs in turn have less money to hire musicians and the nightly entertainment crew. This means that our DJs are being paid the minimum amount to turn up and entertain the crowd all night long.
Some say that the amount local DJs are paid high and they should be satisfied with what they are being paid because they’re essentially pressing ‘play’ and bobbing their head around on stage. Is this true? Of course not! Each artist spends an infinite amount of time composing their music, getting to know every beat of the song, making it their own even if it is a remix. It takes skill and expertise, as well as an assortment of equipment to be able to produce high quality head bangers and tunes that will keep a crowd excited and hyped up. Equipment doesn’t come cheap and with the added burden of transport fees, its no walk in the park for these artists. Artists used to be treated with respect and were well taken care of, but now whether or not the artist even gets a meal depends solely on how generous the event organizer is feeling on a particular night. People only see what they choose to see and nobody chooses to see all the background work.
If we continue treating our artists, this way, can we really expect them to thrive and succeed on our local stages? How do we expect people to continue to give us their best work if we do not even compensate them well enough. As Malaysians, our national pride should be urging us to treat our local artists well and supporting them, instead of bleeding them dry. So much great talent has been lost to the fact that they couldn’t survive in the industry, how much longer until we take care of our own people.