How Are Vietnamese Artists Thriving In The Digital Age? | Vietcetera
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Jun 18, 2024

How Are Vietnamese Artists Thriving In The Digital Age?

This episode of BizFF features VJ Thùy Minh and director Đào Đức Thành, sharing different perspectives on producing music in the digital age.
How Are Vietnamese Artists Thriving In The Digital Age?

Source: Khooa Nguyễn for Vietcetera

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Reflecting on the music consumption habits of past decades, the 80s and 90s were characterized by pirated CDs, music TV channels, and manually copied song lyrics in notebooks. Listeners relied on these mediums for their music fix.

As we grew older, iPods and music download websites allowed us to create our own playlists. Now, with services like Spotify, YouTube Music, and TikTok, music is conveniently packaged and algorithms suggest songs for our playlists.

The rapid technological advancements have not only reshaped how music is consumed but also transformed the Vietnamese music industry at its core. Beyond composing, producing, and promoting, what fascinating insights have industry insiders kept under wraps?

All will be revealed in episode 4 of BizFF, focusing on the Music Industry. Joining host Minh Beta are two intriguing guests: VJ Thùy Minh and director Đào Đức Thành.

Thùy Minh, a former music journalist for Hoa Học Trò newspaper, brings a wealth of insights into the dynamic shifts within the Vietnamese music scene. Meanwhile, Đào Đức Thành, celebrated for his direction of music videos featuring renowned artists like Sơn Tùng, Châu Bùi, and Khánh Linh, will provide his unique perspective.

How do Vietnamese music artists make money?

VJ Thùy Minh observes that the majority of Vietnamese artists struggle to turn a profit. With over 5,500 active artists in Vietnam, only a select few manage to sustain themselves solely through music releases and tours. Profits from every music product must be shared with record labels, publishing platforms, and other involved parties.

The production costs alone can soar into the billions of VND. Many artists have to borrow money to fund their music production, including album creation, filming music videos, and covering PR expenses.

Moreover, emerging artists face an uphill battle as the algorithms of streaming giants like Spotify and TikTok favor established names, hindering newcomers' visibility.

VJ Thùy Minh observes that the music production costs alone can soar into the billions of VND. | Source: Khooa Nguyễn for Vietcetera

Consequently, many Vietnamese musicians diversify their income streams by performing at cafes or participating in events, though these opportunities remain unpredictable.

According to Đào Đức Thành, variety shows, reality shows, and survival shows can provide substantial income. However, to succeed in these shows, artists need additional skills in acting and humor to attract a strong fan base and elevate show ratings.

Gen Z Artists: “New force” in the Vietnamese music industry

The recent accolades at the 2023 Green Wave Awards underscore Gen Z's rising influence in Vietnamese music. Singer Wren Evans' double win for Album of the Year and Breakthrough Singer serves as a testament to the burgeoning talent within this demographic, as Thùy Minh assumed.

Director Đào Đức Thành notes that while Gen Z currently dominates the market, there remain avenues for established artists from earlier generations to thrive. A prime example is the reality show Sister Who Makes Waves, where diva Mỹ Linh and Trang Pháp captivated a large Gen Z audience.

This dynamic landscape demonstrates that talent transcends generational boundaries. Collaborating with current Gen Z singers and producers can be mutually beneficial: young artists gain valuable learning experiences, while older artists can refresh their image and explore new musical avenues.

Director Đào Đức Thành remarked that talented artist transcends generational boundaries. | Source: Khooa Nguyễn for Vietcetera

Host Minh Beta underscores the cultural fusion achieved by young artists who seamlessly blend traditional Vietnamese folk elements with modern music sensibilities. Initiatives led by pioneers like Hoàng Thùy Linh have paved the way for artists such as DTAP, Phương Mỹ Chi, and Hòa Minzy to further enrich the musical landscape.

VJ Thùy Minh expresses optimism that this cultural revival will evolve into a sustainable and desirable direction for Vietnamese music.

The future of the Vietnamese music industry

Looking ahead, Minh Beta predicts a surge in the popularity of singles and EPs in the Vietnamese music market. This trend responds to the digital era's demand for cost-effective releases that allow artists, especially newcomers, to gauge audience reception before committing to full-length albums.

Minh Beta predicts a surge in the popularity of singles and EPs in the Vietnamese music market. | Source: Khooa Nguyễn for Vietcetera

Meanwhile, VJ Thùy Minh anticipates the integration of AI into music production, propelled by streaming platforms' influence on consumer habits. In the future, we might see a new music business model that integrates artists, songs, and AI to transform music into a more monetized service.

Additionally, music festivals are poised to attract greater investment due to their potential economic and tourism benefits. VJ Thùy Minh foresees an emergence of specialized firms dedicated to managing behind-the-scenes talent, including producers, musicians, lyricists, and concept artists.

These professionals play a pivotal role in enhancing the quality and impact of musical productions, complementing the efforts of performers.