Indonesian singer Bunga Citra Lestari a.k.a. BCL believes in taking advantage of digitalisation.
HOW HAS THE MODERN WORLD CHANGED THE INDUSTRY?
Technology has impacted the music industry in a big way. We see a lot of modifications in the mediums that are available and the tools used in creating and distributing our works of art.
Of course, the most obvious example is the physicality of music itself. Previously, artistes reached listeners via albums — cassettes and CDs — or official radio stations. These days, it’s just through a click.
That said, while some countries (Malaysia included) are enthusiastically picking up on the music streaming trend, the majority of the Indonesian audience prefers the conventional way of consuming entertainment.
Even with music streaming, there is still a digital divide — technology and accessibility are not as advanced as in Europe and the US.
Also, the purchasing power of consumers is a little bit different here in Southeast Asia.
I prefer albums to downloads — it’s just more pleasurable to brag about owning something (tangible).
HOW ARE YOU COPING WITH DIGITISATION?
The digital transition promotes a positive change — it not only saves time, it is also cost-saving. You can release music, single by single, and you don’t have to spend lots of time on photoshoots for a record production.
However, I need a lot of adjustment because I come from a time where streaming services were not mainstream.
I am learning the rules of going digital and the promotional tricks to it — finding ways to make my work go viral.
Young talents are at an advantage because they are already equipped with the knowledge when coming into an industry that is digitalised.
CAN MUSICIANS OF THE PAST MATCH THE SUCCESS OF DIGITAL ARTISTES TODAY?
They can but it’s not easy because it depends on the market. If you are attracting listeners who don’t go to YouTube or are familiar with
streaming applications, then you should not expect your success to be as big as YouTube/digital artistes.
Not all is lost of course, you just have to enthusiastically connect with the younger crowd, which means using the appropriate tools and getting involved in projects that will help diversify your audience.
The hard work to achieve this is really a process of transformation, so take a step back and get a clear direction when you decide to go for it.
CELEBRITIES HAVE PEOPLE TO MANAGE THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF IT?
Artistes have a team that manages their activities, so it is not so new to me. When maintaining an online persona, for instance, I like to be real. For example, when I post something online, it’s also for me to get reactions from my followers.
Social media managers are appointed to manage online accounts, not necessarily to control or create an image.They gauge the behaviours and interests of the market, and use the information in marketing/promotional strategies.
Sometimes, we gain valuable information that benefits our creative processes (producing music in a certain way or identifying the location where showcases will be widely accepted) by engaging with fans.
AS A PUBLIC FIGURE EMPOWERED WITH DIGITAL TOOLS, HOW SHOULD YOU CARRY YOURSELF ONLINE?
Everyone has the right to use social networking platforms in the manner they find comfortable.
I like sharing some parts of my life online — as BCL, a mother, a woman. Maybe others don’t like to do so, or they actively share even more than me but that is all right.
Social media highlights transparency — I get to express myself, not through others or to the media.
It’s more personal and I love it even though sometimes I get criticised. I understand the risks and if you can find your balance in how to deal with technology.