A study by Tufts University’s Fetcher School and Mastercard, on ‘Digital in the Time of Covid’, ranked Vietnam fifth in the world for digital evolution momentum by the 2020 Digital Intelligence Index (DII) among 90 economies.
Boyband UNI5 in Virtual Countdown Lights 2021. Screenshot from Billboard Vietnam.
The positive attitude toward technology has permeated every sphere including the music industry.
Through the year of the pandemic, unlike movie and theater enthusiasts, music lovers did not miss much due to the occasional ban on and reluctance for public gatherings since for them it was business on usual on their computers and handheld devices.
All music genres like pop, rap, R&B and even less familiar ones like reggae were represented.
Some of the most popular hits in 2020 included ‘Anh Thanh Nien’ (A Young Man) by HuyR, ‘La Mot Thang Con Trai’ (Being a Boy) by Jack and ‘Hoa No Khong Mau’ (Flowers Bloom Without Color) by Hoai Lam.
In December the music market saw a ‘view contest’ among young artists.
Den and Justatee’s ‘Di Ve nha’ (Going Home) and Son Tung’s ‘Chung Ta Cua Hien Tai’ (We Of The Present) garnered 30 and 36 million views in a week, and recently Jack’s ‘Dom Dom’ (Fireflies) got 14 million views in just one day.
Many music videos (MVs) have a plot running through the song to sustain viewers’ interest. Pop star Son Tung M-TP even made a 15-minute drama for his latest release, ‘We Of The Present’.
Young artists have found a quick way to reach potential listeners on digital music streaming sites and applications like Spotify, Zing MP3 and Deezer.
While music fans might understandably miss live performances, many artists have quickly adapted by experimenting and organizing live shows online.
Tuan Hung was one of the first artists to make the bold move of streaming his show, ‘Dam Me’ (Passion) on Facebook. It cost people VND250,000 ($10.80) to watch it.
While the show was technically well prepared, the contents were based on the singers’ choice and response from the live audience.
The first such concert managed to attract 200 viewers.
Hung said: “I did it to sate my passion. We can find a way to earn an income, though not much. The Covid-19 situation is very unpredictable yet, and so staying at home and listening to music is the right choice.”
He and singer Khac Viet have since been performing their ‘Live at Sweet Home’ show online every Saturday.
Many other artists too have been live-streaming their shows, including Ha Anh Tuan, Amee, Dinh Bao, Duc Tuan, Tuan Thang, and My Linh and Hong Nhung.
On a different note, in 2020 Vietnamese music game start-up Amanotes reached one billion downloads worldwide with over 100 million monthly users, ranking it among world’s top mobile publishers.
Recently Amanotes said it has signed a deal with South Korean company YG Entertainment and Canadian EDM music record label Monstercat to buy quality music.
Although music game publishers opt for international hits to meet a wide range of demands, Vietnamese artists do not settle for one-hit wonders but strive to create their own styles.
Composer Nguyen Minh Cuong said: “In 2021, streamed music will flourish because it so far has been the best way for singers and their fans to stay connected while keeping safe.
“This is a good sign, proving that we are adapting well.”