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Piracy hits Burmese music industry hard


New Delhi (Mizzima) – With the increase in music piracy and ineffective laws governing the illegal reproduction of music, Burma's music industry has witnessed an 80 percent reduction in the release of new albums over the course of the last two years.

The Burmese music industry, according to popular singer Saung Oo Hlaing, barely produced 20 percent the number of new albums in the first half of 2009 as compared to previous years.

“Comparing with previous years, the number of music albums produced this year is very low. Both prominent singers and newcomers produced several music albums in 2005, 2006 and 2007,” Saung Oo Hlaing told Mizzima.

“But, since 2008 music production has been sluggish. And it got worse in 2009. I think so far for this year music production is only about 20 percent that of previous years,” he added.

Meanwhile, an official at the popular Latha Studio in downtown Rangoon said sales of pirated music CDs or tapes on the black market has severely affected the Burmese music industry.

“For producing an album, singers and producers have to invest a huge amount of money and time, but despite their hard work and investment the music is pirated and sold at ridiculously low prices," noted the official. "So, singers and producers are now reluctant to produce albums."

The official said Latha Studio produced three albums in each of 2006 and 2007, but in 2008 produced only a single album. Additionally, so far there are no music albums in line to be produced at the studio this year.

While the cost of an original music album runs approximately 1,500 kyat ($US 1.5), pirated copies can be found for only 350 kyat. With the cheaper prices, music lovers are attracted to the pirated copies.

Nonetheless, even as the industry suffers through difficult times, new albums continue to hit the shelves of Rangoon and stores throughout the country.

“Nowadays, coffee mix, beverage and other companies as well as famous hotels sponsor the production of new music as a means of promoting their respective brands. So, most singers, including popular artists, now depend on the availability of sponsorship,” Saung Oo Hlaing explained.

However, in a sign of the general lower level of income in rural areas of the country, he added that in the future if he produces a new album he will distribute it at a discount rate – even down to 500 kyat, one-third the price in urban areas – for distribution in rural markets.




 
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 June 2009 17:12 )  

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