This time, it’s music publishing. Remember him? After just one Mandarin album produced by the record company that signed him up some years ago, the suave Singapore idol alumni Jonathan Leong is now a free man trying to make a comeback with a budget close to nothing. Seriously, I’m impressed.
Leong – who was propelled into the limelight in the second season of singing competition Singapore Idol in 2006 – is now his own manager, producer, publicist and even Web designer.
“Right now, I do everything on my own. I’m very much guerilla style. I keep the budget almost close to nothing,” he said.
“I like it this way. It’s a bit tough, because now I have to get the hang of website design.”
Online is the way this singer-songwriter will be going and he has plans to launch his official website next month. Leong is working on tweaking the website template and incorporating music videos, as well as a “shopping-cart system” to sell tracks on the website.
Reminds me of myself – writer, editor, designer, marketing agent …. The biggest difference is that I’m producing printed books while Jonathan is going digital all the way. The rock singer reasons that selling digital music is the right way to go because if he produces CDs and if they don’t sell, he would be stuck with cartons of CDs.
You can read the rest of it here.
Let’s face it. Even though you don’t need any attention span to listen to music, make no mistake, CDs are as difficult to see as books. Jonathan has an uphill task and if you’re following him on Facebook, you’ll find him performing at hospitals. It’s certainly good for publicity, but I think what really matters at the end of the day, are sales.
Well, you can say that it’s my prejudice, but I feel that no respectable author should be without printed books and no respectable musician should be without CDs. I also believe that no business can be done at zero cost and zero risk. Getting stuck with cartons of unsold books and CDs is one risk we cannot escape from.
As a copyright holder myself, I’m quite pissed off with people who buy pirated goods or “share” files illegally. I pay for my mp3 files. And just a couple of months ago, I paid for and downloaded all of Andy Gibb’s songs from Legal Sounds.
Like many uncles my age, I’m familiar with Andy Gibb, having heard his songs like After Dark, Shadow Dancing, Desire, Everlasting Love hundreds of times. I was 14 when I first heard his songs on cassette tapes and when I paid for and downloaded his songs, I was buying memories – a piece from the past if you will. If I walk into a CD shop today, it’s unlikely that I would find any of Andy Gibb’s albums. I also bought some Tibetan music online because they are not easily available at the shops and those sold in Kathmandu are mostly pirated. If the CDs were available, I would have preferred to purchase them.
I’m not his fan, but Jonathan Leong’s songs must appeal to people who would pay to download his songs. I’m not sure it would be easier to find his songs online than his CDs (if he has any) in a store, but one thing is for sure – only his fans will look for him online while would-be fans who come across his CDs in a store may be enticed by the design and the music played in the background to buy the CD.
Frankly, I hate working with my book distributor. My new book, Dental Phobia has been given to him one month ago and Kinokuniya has just received stocks of it. They also don’t encourage the bookshops to take more copies so that they can display them better. The bookshops take a very big cut because they must pay rents and hire staff. They too have so many books to take care of that they can’t be bothered with whether shoppers can see yours.
So why do I still print books? Because I have no choice. Bookshops are the worst place to sell books, but until I have the “portfolio” and budget to put up road shows, they are still, relatively speaking, the most effective places to sell books – both to fans and would-be fans.
© Chan Joon Yee