Saturday, March 17, 2007

Singing Beyond the Skies

[source: Hacken Lee @ blogger,] [translated by gonzo]

March 9, 2007

In the music industry, those that are at the front of the line would be singers. Their songs - can they satisfy the fans and become a hit song for all the years to come? Their image - can new ideas interest the audience so it becomes embedded in their memories? These are the battles that singers face each day, especially now in this gradually withering music industry. Singers have less opportunity to produce albums, often fearing that bad sales will mean waiting another year for another chance or even the opportunity disappearing altogether. So whether or not they are receiving applause, pressure will always be present. George Lam who has reached star singer status and Hacken Lee who has received "Most Popular Male Singer" 3 times, how do they both see the singer's road ahead?

Hacken Lee: Continuously looking for new changes

"Now that consumers are willing to pay HK$5 for a downloadable ringtone, I have confidence that one day consumers are willing to pay HK$8-10 to legally download their favourite songs. At present, this music industry is going through a low and should be reaching its darkest point where there is hope for the birth of a new era. As long as the music industry still exists, everyone will be able to find a new chance." Hacken Lee entered the industry in the 80's during the golden era of music and after 20 years, he is still the supporting pillar of the music world. He has not given up on future of music or singers. Even though popular culture and technology can change the world, people are smart and will also think of ways to adapt.

Breaking the traditional way of selling albums

Hacken reckons that buying and selling songs online will break the traditional way of selling songs. But this method is still not widespread as consumers need to feel that it's convenient and they wont run the risk of being arrested for illegal downloading. Hacken recalls that he has gone through records and cassettes to reach the CD era. At that time, CDs were being sold for over HK$100 each and had dropped sales. No one looked well on CDs and felt that noone would spend over HK$100 for a cd. However, reality shows that as long as there are good songs and a good presentation, fans are willing to pay. Now in 2007, Hacken believes that CDs will soon become mementos. In the future, watching TV could be done using the internet and homes will soon have mini-cinemas for watching movies. Songs can also be bought instantly over the internet to listen at home.

Finding a way to get music fans to buy

He says "Technology makes life easier for people. That's why the existence of MP3s and I-Pods are for people that prefer convenience and for those that don't ask for acoustic quality when listening to music. H&M is a company that is popular worldwide and coming to HK to open branches is proof that HK consumers attitude is about getting the design they want for cheap. They don't ask for quality. The most important thing is that vermicilli resembles shark fin (Chinese saying). That's why H&M are so popular but still won't affect the sales of Gucci. It's the same reasoning with music. There are those that want convenience. At the same time, there are those that want high quality music. Recently I've made two albums "Hacken Lee Concert Hall" and their sales have been higher than my previous album by 100%. This can prove that there are fans out there that want high quality CDs. But this does not mean there isn't a second way, this cannot work forever and so that is why changes are needed. At the moment, we cannot successfully create a new music and film world so we must find ways to trigger fans to buy CDs."

Changes must be coordinated with advances in time

Hacken feels that at the moment singers don't know how to change. Even record companies are working hard to change to meet with advances. So some record companies are even becoming managing companies to help singers under them develop in other areas.

"To some singers, songs are becoming advertisements. The most important thing is that songs can make the singer a hit and then they can ride on this to film movies, make commercials and even hold concerts to make money. No matter how they do it, singers and record companies are all working hard to keep their existence so they do not perish. The music world has its rises and falls, and everyone needs to get through it. There will be a day when people can relax again. So people, don't worry!"

A small fan meets with Hacken

Hacken is not only a HK singer, he has plenty of fans from across the oceans. During the day of the interview, there was a little fan all the way from San Francisco. Tam Bao Bao was in HK for a holiday and under MingPao's arrangement, she got to get up close with her idol.

Once a small fan sees an idol, what goes through her head? No matter what age, to be able to see one's idol close up, everyone's reaction would be the same - smiling, staring, hands shaking, heart erratically beating, even forgetting to ask for an autograph, in other words happy beyond imagination.

When asked how Tam Bao Bao who lived in America would know Hacken:

She replies in her less than fluent Cantonese "I like watching Yut Ding (Minutes to Fame). Hacken is very funny. I like him singing Red Day. It's nice."

Because of one program or because of one song, people will becomes fans. And to have support from somewhere far far away, that would be the self-satisfaction of being an idol.

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