The Music Fans Company (MFC) has recently founded Green Symphony, specialising in producing LP and microgroove vinyl records. Chair-woman of the MFC board of directors, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, talks about her new company, which some consider a risky investment because the vinyl market in Viet Nam is still young and unstable.
Why did you decide to invest in a new product which is relatively new in Viet Nam?
I don't see huge potential for our product. I just decided to take a risk and do whatever I think is worth while. I was a music editor at the Young Music Tapes Centre during the 1990s, and I have been working in the industry for many years. Producing vinyl featuring 90s hits is another way of preserving modern Vietnamese music.
I'm sure that fans of Tinh Khuc Vuot Thoi Gian (Everlasting Love Songs) and anyone who loves stunning vocals by Anh Tuyet, Le Dung and Ngoc Tan will be interested in the upcoming records. Many people have a good taste in music, and want to be able to buy old school products. We appreciate that, and want to provide them with the best products.
With the huge music archives at the Youth Music Tapes Centre, we will reproduce albums on vinyl which have been popular for generations.
Did you research the vinyl market before investing in the field?
I'm not an expert on LPs, but I love them. I have a great affection for sophisticated music products. I also realise the inner beauty of vinyl. They seem to work in slow motion. To be able to enjoy LPs, listeners have to slow down and relax.
When I conducted some research into the overseas LP market, I realised that once life takes on a faster tempo, people want to return to the past. That's why people like LPs because they reflect the past.
The CD market in Viet Nam has dried up, so do you think that producing LPs is a good way for MFC and other companies to get out the situation?
I don't think so because the market is quite small. Fans tend to be very choosy listeners, and need to have a heavy wallet to afford an LP stereo system. Although the CD market is at a low at the moment, CDs are still more affordable and popular than vinyl. In my opinion, CDs and digital music are part of the modern music industry.
Producing vinyl simply provides the market with a high-end alternative. To mark its establishment, Green Symphony has released three LPs, and we have plans to produce two more which will be recorded in our studio. However, the launch of these albums will depend on how customers greet our first three records.
So is this a long-term or short-term project?
Actually, this is an extreme risky plan. Let's take the album Hong Vy – Glorious Viet Nam as an example. Revolutionary music and songs about President Ho performed by Hong Vy were recorded with a symphony orchestra. The singer and her crew created a wonderful album, and I wanted to reproduce it on vinyl. If we're not a financial success, at least we've contributed something to the music world.
We've had great support from the Youth Studio, and I think we will form more partnerships in the future.
Does that mean you think there is potential for the LP market in Viet Nam?
To be able to stay in the market, we know that we have to produce quality products which can satisfy even the pickiest audiences. At the same time, to encourage more people to learn about vinyl, we will need to provide a sound system that can play both CDs and LPs.
Lots of Vietnamese singers have plans to release records on vinyl. — VNS