Music producers give non-commercial music a shot
Investing in non-commercial music has always been risky; consequently most music producers choose to produce for well-known commercial singers and musicians whose sales are practically guaranteed. This week, however, saw the release of four non-commercial live albums recorded at the Al-Geneina Theater in Al-Azhar Park during the Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy s Ramadan festival, Hayy.
The brave, yet promising, project has been implemented by the Lebanese music production company Incognito in cooperation with Mirage, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi organization and The Egyptian Center for Culture and Art (Makan). The four albums being released are: Al-Door Al-Awal s “Qarar Izala ; Fathy Salam s “Sultany ; Riyad Abdul-Gawad s Al-Tarab Al-Aseel and Massar s Al-Eish Wal Malh.
Lebanon-based production company Incognito is primarily interested in producing and distributing music by independent musicians from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. It is working on developing the first non-commercial music distribution network in the Arab world.
Such a musical trend won t develop and spread unless it gets what it deserves of proper attention and support of the Arab masses, Tony Sfeir, Lebanese music producer and general manager of Incognito, told The Daily Star Egypt. It s only through those real artists that we can produce such albums. In Egypt there is a hidden musical treasure.
In addition to its key consultative role, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy contributes to promoting the CDs and distributing them. It is true that the market is dominated by commercial music. Yet we depend on the cultured community, which seems to be promising, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy s general manager, Basma El-Hussieny, says. If you calculate us as members of this community, you will find a real market. Sfeir shares El-Hussieny s belief. I believe that there is space for everything in life. What is important is putting this music in the right frame and promoting for it in a suitable environment, then it will definitely survive, Sfeir says wishfully. That is why we primarily promote for these albums through live concerts where the audience comes especially for these musicians.
As Makan’s contribution to the project, they facilitated a sound environment for many of the musicians taking part in the project to rehearse and record their music, while Mirage acted as the local distributor.
But will such types of non-commercial and experimental music find an audience among Egyptian and Arab listeners? The problem is not with the listener or the receiver. Rather, it is with production companies and the ineffective marketing mechanisms most of them adopt, composer Fathy Salama reflects.
According to Salama, Many people are already fed up with commercial music and songs and the market is really saturated. So there is more space for non-commercial and experimental music, Salama concludes.