Quick success: A scene from TV show Khúc Hát Mặt Trời (The Song of Sun), which helped songs by young composer Dung to become hits only two weeks after the release of the film. - Photo vtv.vn
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY — Leading film companies, including State-owned production houses of television stations, are buying up the rights to songs used for their films’ soundtracks composed by young musicians.
Many soundtracks are becoming local hits, which have helped some singers become pop stars.
According to composer and songwriter Châu Đăng Khoa, film companies frequently contact him and other young musicians to order and buy their old and new songs.
"I have sold my songs to film studios and made good profits," Khoa said.
Khoa wrote the song Bài Tình Ca Cho Anh (Love Song for You) for the film Cầu Vồng Không Sắc (Rainbow), directed by Nguyễn Quang Tuyến last year.
The song was performed by young singers Minh Cường and Trọng Quỳnh.
After the film’s release, its soundtrack became the year’s favourite song voted by fans.
The 24-year-old Cường wrote a message on Facebook, saying, “I had no idea about my success in singing. But I’m happy.”
Another young actress is Miu Lê, who played a leading role in the blockbuster Em Là Bà Nội Của Anh (Sweet 20), a Vietnamese remake of the Korean film Miss Granny, which was released last month.
Lê performed one of the film’s soundtracks, Còn Tuổi Nào Cho Em (Time For You), a love song composed by the late and famous composer Trịnh Công Sơn.
While the film earned more than VNĐ100 billion in ticket sales, its soundtrack, Còn Tuổi Nào Cho Em, became a top hit.
Lê decided to develop her career in both film and singing.
Film companies on average are paying VNĐ30 million (US$1,500) to VNĐ50 million for each of new songs, and VNĐ5 million for songs previously released.
They buy the rights to a new song by a popular musician for a maximum of VNĐ120 million ($5,500).
"Considering the high royalties that film companies pay young musicians, we have no reason to turn down their offers," composer Lê Anh Dũng said.
Dũng’s latest songs, performed by Đinh Hương and Dương Hoàng Yến, were used in two new TV series, Khúc Hát Mặt Trời (The Song of Sun) and Trở Lại Bên Nhau (Coming Back), both broadcast on Việt Nam Television.
The songs became top hits after only two weeks of the films’ release.
One agent in HCM City, who works for Thiên Ngân (Galaxy) Studios, said: "The driving force behind film producers’ interest in using works composed by young musicians is the demand from audiences, mostly teenagers, for songs written and performed by young faces."
Back to 2005, young composer Đức Trí, after completing study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, began his career at home with a record in the local music market.
At that time, Trí’s music in Nữ Tướng Cướp (Gangster Lady), a movie made by Thiên Ngân, was voted by fans as the year’s hottest soundtrack.
The music, with its melody based on traditional Vietnamese music and Western songs, won the hearts of music and film critics.
Trí earned VNĐ100 million for his creation at that time, a high payment compared to other musicians who earn only VNĐ10 million for writing a soundtrack.
His success opened a new door to Vietnamese filmmakers and musicians, who had ignored the potential of writing songs for film.
In previous years, to create a soundtrack for a film or TV series, producers preferred working with famous musicians like Trí, Quốc Trung and Huy Tuấn, who received up to several hundred million đồng for each film.
Now they are willing to work with younger faces like Khoa to develop new talent and save money for their film’s budget.
"I think the phenomenon of making soundtracks professionally is very important to the development of Việt Nam’s music and film industries," said singer and songwriter Thủy Tiên, explaining how interest in films is encouraging young composers to churn out more popular hits.
"Creating instrumental music is the fastest way for young artists to train and achieve a high degree of professionalism," she said. VNS