Teen television: Actors playing main roles in the TV series Happy House. — File Photo
HCM CITY — Young composers in HCM City are increasingly selling or writing songs for film soundtracks, even though veterans have long assumed that such work is unprofitable.
Leading film companies, including State-owned production houses of television stations, are buying up the rights to songs used for their film soundtracks composed by young musicians.
Quoc An, one of the city’s young musical artists, said film companies frequently contact him and other young musicians to order and buy their latest songs.
“I have sold my songs to money film studios and made good profits,” An said.
Film companies on average are paying VND15 million (US$800) to VND20 million for each of An’s new songs, and VND3 million for previously released songs .
Meanwhile, record companies like Sai Gon Audio and Rang Dong, offer an average price of only VND1.5 million for a song on music videos or DVDs.
They buy the rights to a new song by a very popular musician for a maximum of VND10 million.
“Considering the high royalties film companies pay young musicians, we have no reason to turn their offers down,” An said.
One agent in HCM City, who works for Thien Ngan (Galaxy) Studios, said: “The driving force behind film producers’ interest in using works composed by young musicians is the demand from audiences, mostly teenagers, for songs written by young faces such as Quoc An, Thuy Tien and Minh Thu.”
“Moreover, paying royalties to young musicians is cheaper than paying royalties to veteran musicians,” he said, adding that veteran artists receive around VND50 million for a new song.
To create a soundtrack for a film or TV series, producers prefer working with famous musicians like Duc Tri, Quoc Trung and Huy Tuan, who receive up to several hundred million dong for each film.
In 2005, young composer Duc Tri, after completing his studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, began his career at home with a record in the local music market.
At that time, Tri’s music in Nu Tuong Cuop (Gangster Lady), a movie made by Thien Ngan, was voted by fans as the year’s hottest soundtrack.
The music, with its melody based on traditional Vietnamese music and Western songs, won the hearts of the mose fastidious music and film critics.
Tri earned VND100 million ($6,250) for his creation at that time, a high payment compared to other musicians who earn only VND10 million for making a soundtrack.
Tri and his success opened a new door to Vietnamese filmmakers and musicians, who had ignored the potential of writing songs for film.
“Making a film or TV soundtrack is my new challenge,” singer-composer Minh Thu said.
Thu’s song was used for the soundtrack of Bong Dung Muon Khoc (Want to Cry for No Reason at All), a 36-part TV series produced by BHD Studio in 2008.
After the film was broadcast on HCM City’s HTV, its soundtrack became the year’s most favourite song voted by fans.
The song later was released on music videos and DVDs, helping its creator, a young singer, become popular as a professional musician.
Thu’s colleague, singer Thuy Tien, reached fame after creating soundtracks for Ngoi Nha Hanh Phuc (Happy House), a TV series by director Vu Ngoc Dang.
“I think the phenomenon of making soundtracks professionally is very important to the development of Viet Nam’s music and film industries,” said composer Nguyen Duc Trung, explaining how interest in films is encouraging young composers to churn out more popular hits.
“Creating instrumental music is the shortest way for young artists to train and achieve a high degree of professionalism,” he said. — VNS
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