Most Singaporeans proud of Singapore music, says NAC music survey

(From left)  Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang and Jon Chua of The Sam Willows.
(From left) Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang and Jon Chua of The Sam Willows.PHOTO: @MELLOWEDHIGH

SINGAPORE - Most Singaporeans – two out of three – are proud of home-grown music, but only 8 per cent of those who listen to local music do so daily, according to the results of the National Arts Council’s (NAC) first national music consumption survey, released on Tuesday (Nov 28).

The figures were derived from door-to-door interviews conducted from May to June this year with 1,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

For the survey, Singapore music is defined as “any genre of music composed or performed by musicians who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents”.

Of those surveyed, 71 per cent listen to local music, while the rest do not, due to reasons such as a lack of exposure to home-grown music or a preference for international music.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of the general music listeners listen to Singaporean music on a weekly basis, but only one out of three actively seek out Singapore music or know of new Singapore music in the last two years.

As for attending music events, while 31 per cent have attended these in the past year, only 18 per cent have been to a Singapore music show and only 8 per cent paid to attend the local gigs.

To help raise awareness and increase the profile of Singapore-made music, the NAC will launch a national movement next year dubbed Hear65 with its partner, music media company Bandwagon.

The seeds for the movement were planted even before the survey results were tabulated, NAC’s deputy director, sector development (music), Mr Kok Tse Wei, told The Straits Times.

“Anecdotally, we already knew that we need to do something about raising awareness of Singaporean music. I think it’s been encouraging in terms of the momentum of success, especially in the contemporary music field in recent years, but we wanted a little more data and meat to guide how we are going to shape Hear65.”

The results come as good news to home-grown artists such as Jasmine Sokko, an electronic music singer-songwriter who is starting to make her name in the music scene.

Her debut single, 1057, was popular with local listeners and went to No. 1 on music-streaming service Spotify’s local Top 50 Viral chart late last year.

“I’ve definitely experienced the rise of festivals and music events happening around the island and I’m stoked to see what’s ahead,” says the 21-year-old.

The leader of vocal group Micappella, Peter Huang, says artists should not take local support for granted.

“I don’t think the music fan should support the artist just because he is a fellow Singaporean – it should be because he is making good music,” says the 34-year-old.

Micappella sold out all tickets to their solo concert at the Capitol Theatre earlier this month. In August, their medley of NDP songs went viral online.

Huang adds: “If Singapore artists focus on their craft, be innovative and don’t stop working hard, then there will be pride in supporting local music.”

The survey also showed that nine out of 10 Singaporeans listen to music at least once a week.

More than half listen to music through offline channels such as their personal music libraries (26 per cent), broadcast radio (22 per cent) and television (9 per cent), while 18 per cent listen through online music videos such as YouTube and 10 per cent through paid streaming services such as Spotify.

In terms of genres, Top 40 hits and pop music make up the bulk of the consumed music (61 per cent) while hip-hop, R&B and soul are the next most popular genres (27 per cent).

Traditional ethnic music comes in third (19 per cent), while dance/electronic and rock are tied at 16 per cent each.

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