PNG artist calls for government support
On the eve of the national election, one of Papua New Guinea’s popular music artists is calling the incoming government to set up a state-owned recording studio to help the “struggling artists”.
Lead singer of Skwatas of Morata band Mikes Toto, who goes by his band name, said that piracy was rife, and the music industry studios are reluctant to facilitate recordings, denying artists the opportunity to generating royalties from their products.
“A government-owned recording studio can address our plight for both the current and upcoming artists,” he said.
Unemployed, Mikes and Joe David, who is the frontman of Lerams of Kagua band, are most affected by the turn of events in the industry they said was once flourishing when cassette was the only technology before the arrival of flash drives, Bluetooth devices, and mobile phones. They want the new government to also introduce and enforce tougher laws on piracy.
Live performance is the only means of survival for both artists. Because of these challenges, their bands have only made one recording each although they were formed in 2005 and 2007, respectively.
They said that apart from entertainment, music can market the country internationally to drive tourism by promoting and preserving PNG cultures, customs, languages, flora and fauna, and people.
“We are left out and so, we don’t feel as citizens of this country. We hear government is pumping huge money into sports and other areas; why can’t it do the same for music?” Joe said.
Despite the dark cloud that hangs over the industry, both artists are committed to music because they have a dream.
“Our dream is to one day compete internationally because PNG music is unique in the world but the issue is lack of financial support,” Joe said. “Who knows, this could to lead to producers and filmmakers from overseas to come and buy our music to be used in their movies,” they added.