The Lion city international music market: Adescriptive and analytical report on the legal,social, political, cultural and economicrequirements of exporting musical content ofAustralian emerging artists to Singapore.A Class Presentationin Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements inBMI205 – International Music BusinessPresented toPenny Weber, NMIT LecturerPresented byBenjamin Noynay, NMIT Student17 April 2013
Coverage of the Report1. Introduction: Why it’s a good idea to exploreinternational music market especially for emergingartists?2. What is the process of direct signing to aninternational label and the associated possible risks?3. What are the legal, social, political, cultural andeconomic requirements of exporting musical contentof Australian emerging artists to Singapore?4. What specific attributes Australian emerging artistsneed to achieve success in Singapore?5. Conclusion and Recommendation
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GENERAL FACTS ABOUT SINGAPORE The Republic of Singapore sits 137 kilometres north of theequator, separated from Malaysia by the Strait of Johor andfrom Indonesia by the Strait of Singapore. Singapore has a total area of approximately 714 squarekilometres. In 2011, the total population of Singapore is 5.18 million.This figure includes approximately 1.4 million foreigners. The three major ethnic groups within the local communityare 74% Chinese, 13% Malay and 9% Indians. Singapore has four official languages: Chinese (Mandarin),English, Malay and Tamil. English is the language ofadministration and commerce and is widely spoken acrossthe island (www.cia.gov).
Why it’s a good idea to exploreinternational music market? The Internet, transport technology, internationaltrade agreements, and the spread of free-markettrade policies have all contributed to the opening ofborders to trade and to the speed and agility withwhich emerging artists can get their music intoforeign hands (Lathrop, 2007). Some of the most evident benefits include largeraudiences, increased earnings, economies of scale,decreased risk through diversification, andcompetitive advantage (Lathrop, 2007).
Signing to an international label:What are the possible risks? “To have this ambition is understandable butbringing it to a reality is extraordinarily difficult”(Simpson & Munro, 2012, p.663). The process may be simple but it definitelyrequires a lot of work and dedication. The firststep is for the artists to have their music ready as aproduct to be presented to the internationalrecord label. This step involves a lot of work by alot of people aside from the artists themselves.Success in an international market is a team effort(Simpson & Munro, 2012).
More team members are required to finalise the deal. The lawyer,the manager and the agent have their own specific tasks in orderto get the best international deal for the artists. Needless to say,this will cost the artists some initial capital (Simpson & Munro,2012). The most important risk to consider is to answer a very scaryquestion: “what if our music doesn’t sell in Singapore?” The possibility of being shelved and completely forgotten is not afar-fetched concern especially in a foreign market. This is themain reason why Australian emerging artists and their team mustdo their ‘homework’ in getting the necessary business intelligenceabout how to do business in Singapore (Lathrop, 2007).Signing to an international label:What are the possible risks?
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS All Australian businesses in Singapore are strictly governed by theSingapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) which enteredinto force on 28 July 2003. SAFTA has made it easier for Australian exporters to access and dobusiness in the Singapore market. SAFTA also offers a more open and predictable business environmentacross a range of areas, including business travel, competition policy,customs procedures, e-commerce, government procurement,intellectual property, technical standards and telecommunicationsregulation (www.dfat.gov.au).
According to the Media Development Authority,Singapore has the following organisations to lookafter the interests of local and foreign artists: Record Industry Association of Singapore (RIAS) Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) Music Publishers (Singapore) Ltd (MPS) Recording Industry Performance Singapore Pte Ltd (RIPS)REFERENCE: www.mda.gov.sgLEGAL REQUIREMENTS (cont’d.)
Social Requirements Relationship-building is a very important aspect to doingbusiness and is best achieved outside of the workplace,usually during lunch or dinner. It is important to exchange business cards uponintroduction. Please understand the structure of Chinese, Malay andIndian names. Many Singaporeans adopt a Europeanname. It is important to use title plus family name uponintroduction. The European (or given) name is to beapplied only once you are confident that a relationshiphas developed.REFERENCE: www.austrade.gov.au
Social Requirements (cont’d.) For men it is common practice to wear shortsleeves and open neck shirts. However,Australian visitors on a first call should considerwearing long sleeve shirts and tie. A jacket isconsidered very formal. For women, a formal blouse and skirt is theusual attire, and stockings are optional.REFERENCE: www.austrade.gov.au
Political RequirementsSingapore is a republic, with aparliamentary system of government andan elected President as the Head of State.The Singapore Parliament has a singlehouse, which is elected by generalelection every five years. The Parliamentand the President of Singapore areknown as the Legislature.REFERENCE: www.cia.gov
Political Requirements (cont’d.) The Twelfth Parliament has 99 Members of Parliament(MP), consisting of 87 elected MPs, three non-constituency MPs and nine nominated MPs whorepresent various professional and business sectors. As a result of changes announced by Prime MinisterLee on 27 May 2009, opposition MPs are guaranteed aminimum of nine seats in parliament. The judiciary administers the law independently of theExecutive.REFERENCE: www.cia.gov
Cultural Requirements Singapore was a part of British Malaya for manycenturies. It was ruled by the Sultanate of Johor. After World War 2, Singapore became anindependent nation and a republic, which itremains today. Singaporean culture is best described as amelting pot of mainly Chinese, Indian, British,and Malay cultures, a reflection of its immigranthistory.REFERENCE: www.cia.gov
Cultural Requirements (cont’d.) Singapore, as a country, is socially conservative. The system of meritocracy in Singapore ensuresthat the best and brightest, regardless of race,religion and socio-economic backgrounds areencouraged to develop to their fullest potential. Everyone has access to education, which equipsthem with skills and knowledge to earn a betterliving.REFERENCE: www.cia.gov
Economic Requirements Singapore is an important hub for the South-EastAsian region. It has traditionally had a dynamic economy, withstrong service and manufacturing sectors, andone of the highest per capita gross domesticproducts (GDP) in the world. Its airport, port and road systems are among thebest in the world. Singapores economy hasalways depended on international trade.REFERENCE: www.dfat.gov.au
Economic Requirements (cont’d.) Singapores small population and dependence on externalmarkets and suppliers has pushed it towards economicopenness, free trade and free markets. This, as well asgovernment policies that foster economic development,have been key factors in Singapores historically strongeconomic performance. Singapores highly globalised economy grew by 4.9 per centin 2011. This followed growth of 14.5 per cent in 2010 and acontraction of 0.8 per cent in 2009 in line with globaleconomic uncertainties. The Singapore Government expects the economy to grow bybetween 1.5 and 2.5 per cent in 2012.REFERENCE: www.dfat.gov.au
Specific attributes that Australian emergingartists need to achieve success in Singapore. Simpson and Munro (2012) seriously warnAustralian emerging artists that there is no easyrecipe for overseas success whether in Singapore oranywhere else. They said that: “Success is not just a question of talent. Many artistsare enormously gifted but don’t have sufficient faithin that talent. Others can’t bear the weight of successand the darkness of frequent disappointment. Somesimply can’t cope with the difficulty of maintainingstrong interpersonal relationship in the face of theloneliness and isolation that is inherent in everyartist who is stretching out to establish aninternational reputation” (Simpson & Munro, 2012,p. 663).
One of the most important attributes thatemerging artists must possess in order tosucceed in a foreign market is a healthy ego torealise that they can’t do it on their own and thatif they have achieved success, they haven’t doneit on their own. It is a very important thing to understand thatthey are part of a team of talented people, eachof whom deserves and needs respect andrecognition of their role in the overall success(Simpson & Munro, 2012).Specific attributes that Australian emergingartists need to achieve success in Singapore.
CONCLUSION One of the most essential aspects of success in the musicindustry is marketing and promoting the talent. Whenlooking to establish an overseas market such as Singapore,finding the appropriate way to market an act is quitedifficult. It’s hard to get noticed by decision-makers and it’seven harder to get noticed by the public. Simpson andMunro (2012) again warn: “What works in Australia, with all the benefits of playing onyour own home ground, doesn’t necessarily work whenplaying in New York or London. Perhaps the biggest issue iswhether there is a market at all, for what you have to offer.What is it that is different from what is already locallyavailable in the overseas territory?” (Simpson & Munro,2012, p.664).
RECOMMENDATION Therefore, after giving some considerations intothe legal, social, political, cultural and economicrequirements of Singapore as an internationalmusic market, the author recommends that theartists must be prepared to understand andcomply with all of these requirements. Finally, the artists must be prepared to relocateto Singapore when the time comes. It is veryhard to run an international career by remotecontrol. If the artists want to succeed inSingapore, they must be in Singapore.
REFERENCESBooks:Lathrop, T 2007, This business of global music marketing, Billboard Books, New York.Simpson, S & Munro, J 2012, Music business, 4th edn Omnibus Press, London.Yew, L K 1999, The Singapore story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Simon & Schuster (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore.Websites:Australian Trade Commission 2013, Doing business in Singapore, accessed 15 April 2013,<http://www.austrade.gov.au/export/export-markets/countries/singapore/doing-business.html>.Central Intelligence Agency 2013, The World Factbook-Singapore, accessed 15 April 2013,<https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn.html>.Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2013, Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA),accessed 15 April 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/singapore/singapore_country_brief.html>.Media Development Authority, Industry overview, accessed 15 April 2013,<http://www.mda.gov.sg/industry/music/industry_overview/pages/industry_overview.aspx>.