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Movie soundtracks offer new market for young songwriters
  • | VNS | December 11, 2012 09:24 PM

Young composers are proving some long-held assumptions wrong by writing and selling songs and music for film soundtracks.

 Multitalented: Singer-songwriter Thuy Tien achieved fame after composing soundtracks for the films Tuyet Nhiet Doi (Tropical Snow) and Ngoi Nha Hanh Phuc (Happy House) in which she also appeared.
Veteran composers have maintained for a long time that such work is unprofitable. Composer and music producer Huy Tuan of Hanoi says film companies frequently contact him and some young musicians to order and buy their latest works.

"I have sold my songs and pieces of music to film studios and made good profit," Tuan said in a recent interview with local media.

Leading film companies, including State-owned production houses of television stations, are buying up the rights to songs and music by young composer for their productions.

One agent in HCM City, who works for Thien Ngan (Galaxy) Studios, said: "The driving force behind film producers' interest in using works by young music writers is the demand from audiences, mostly teenagers, for songs written by young faces such as Quoc An and Thuy Tien."

Private film companies on average are paying more than VND50 million ($2,000) to VND70 million for a new song or a music piece, and VND10 million for works previously released.

Meanwhile, record companies like Sai Gon Audio offer an average price of only VND3 million ($150) for a song on DVD. They buy the rights to a new song by a popular composer for a maximum of VND15 million.

Skilled like Tuan can now earn around VND120 million ($6,000) for a new song or a piece of music for film soundtracks.

Considering the high royalties film companies are paying young musicians, they have no reason to turn down their offers.

Back in 2005, composer Duc Tri, after completing his studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, began his career at home with a soundtrack.

Tri's music in Nu Tuong Cuop (Gangster Girls), a movie made by Thien Ngan, was voted by fans as the year's hottest soundtrack back in 2005.

His work, with its melody based on traditional Vietnamese music and Western songs, won the hearts of music lovers and film critics.

Tri earned VND100 million ($6,250) for his creation at that time, a princely sum compared to his colleagues who were earning just VND10 million for making a soundtrack.

Tri's success opened a new door to Vietnamese filmmakers and music writers, who had until then all but ignored the potential of making soundtracks.

Singer and musician Thuy Tien of HCM City achieved fame after composing soundtracks for TV series Tuyet Nhiet Doi (Tropical Snow) and Ngoi Nha Hanh Phuc (Happy House).

After the films were broadcast on HTV in 2006 and 2008, fans voted these as the year's most favourite songs.

The songs were later released on DVDs and the radio, helping a young singer become popular.

"Making a film or TV soundtrack is my new challenge," says singer-composer Minh Thu.

Meanwhile, composer Pham Huu Tam sees a win-win situation in the new development.

"Making soundtracks professionally is very important for the development of Vietnam's music and film industries.

"And creating soundtracks is a short cut for young artists to train and achieve a high degree of professionalism."

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