Musicians are bearing the brunt of the economic slump that the country has begun to experience since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, eminent singer Samina Chowdhury said.
All the stage shows, the main source of income of most professional musicians, remained suspended since March and no audio album would was released in the Eid, she said, adding that the TV channels didn't air any live music shows during the Eid festival.
The Eid season happens to be a source of income for many urban musicians and they are habituated to chalk out plans for maintaining their livelihood with the money they earn from programmes or albums released during Eid, she said.
‘Thanks to income of my husband, I am somehow surviving. But, I am really frustrated thinking about the fate of hundreds of musicians whose families depend on their regular income. The music training schools are not operating, no show is organised and TV channels also stopped making new programmes. How will they survive if the situation continues like this?’ she said in a sorrowful voice.
‘Can an artiste beg for relief? Has the government so far considered the fact that even a celebrity singer might face financial hardship while it announced stimulating packages for the workers, entrepreneurs and even the players?,’ Samina continued.
In fact, she said, Bangladesh is not the ideal place for nurturing quality singers for which the talented artistes could not prove their potentials as it happened in other countries.
‘We just praise the skills of the musicians from India, UK or USA and never took it in consideration the supports their musicians get from the government, corporate houses, producers and other organisations,’ she said.
‘It is really difficult in Bangladesh to take music as a profession. And those who take the challenge seriously suffer a lot,’ she lamented.
Perhaps Bangladesh is the only country in the world where the musicians do not get the share of the royalty after launching an album or recording a song even though the musicians had been demanding for such rightful compensation for years, she said.
‘The producers, TV channels, radio stations and even mobile operators deprived the musicians from their royalty payment. Had they received the right share of their royalty shares, they would not have faced financial any crisis,’ she said.
Samina seemed to share the blame and felt that some of her peers too are responsible for the situation the musicians face in the music industry. ‘Many of us also became part of the unhealthy commercialisation of the music industry for our personal benefit. Now we are all suffering for our collective failure and crime,’ she said.
Samina Chowdhury demanded that the government should consider the sufferings of the musicians across the country and take measures accordingly.
‘In the present situation, the corporate houses should organise online music shows as part of their corporate social responsibility and pay the musicians so that they can survive,’ she proposed.
The TV channels should re-broadcast more recorded music programmes and pay royalty to the musicians considering their sufferings, she said.
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