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Sheila Majid worries about Malaysian music industry

Malaysian musicians don't get the respect they deserve, the singer says

By Andrea Tim | Published: 23 Jun 2015

Music scene may die
Photo: Sheila Majid/Facebook

Datuk Sheila Majid thinks the Malaysian music industry isn't given the respect it deserves. Speaking to Astro Awani, the industry veteran is worried that if this continues, the local music scene will soon see its demise.

"The public needs to know how important it is to extend an artist's longevity in the industry," she told Astro Awani. "We cannot say we like a certain artist but still download their works for free and request for a free show."

This underlines the culture of illegal downloading and piracy in Malaysia.

"How can the artist continue with his or her career? Isn't that their livelihood?" she added. "The music in Malaysia does not get the respect it deserves. One day, the music industry in Malaysia will die."

Her thoughts echo Taylor Swift's – the anti-Spotify and anti-piracy Bad Blood singer is very outspoken about insisting that artists get paid for their work, and she wrote an open letter to Apple Music to explain why she withheld her 1989 album from being streamed: during a three-month free trial offered to consumers, the artists who have put their music on the service will not receive any revenue. However, Apple Music has now reversed its payment policy, saying that it will pay artists during the trial period.

Sheila also compared Malaysia to its neighbouring countries, including the K-Pop industry.

"We need the support of the government and the public to revive the industry. The entertainment world is not just about slapstick and gossip," Sheila said. "You think the K-Pop is new? It has already been planned a long time. The Korean government spent billions of dollars to upgrade their arts industry, including education on the arts and music among school children."

Most Malaysian public schools teach music as a compulsory subject at the primary level, and students are tested in semester exams. However, the UPSR (national exam taken at year six) excludes music and the subject is completely absent in secondary education.

Related: Tilda Swinton's school in Scotland has no exams


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