Western pop music in Laos is really dated. I’ve given much thought as to why this is. After discussing it a fellow Australian Volunteer who is working as a music producer for the local record company Indee Records I have come up with a theory.
When travelling to tourist locations outside of Laos I have heard a lot of The Cranberries. In restaurants around town I hear a lot of Celine Dion. I’ve also heard Shannon Noll’s cover of What About Me? but thankfully that’s been the exception rather than the rule. One of the most popular songs is Take me to your heart by Michael Learns to Rock. In fact I heard this being performed at the graduation ceremony for an English college. It was quite an interesting ceremony as there was traditional dancing and karaoke, far more entertaining than the usual boring speaches.
There shouldn’t be any restrictions on Lao people having access to more modern music. All the music is pirated. Getting a Britney Spears CD should be just as cheap as getting a Celine Dion CD. I would suggest that Lao people have equal access to any music they want. Piracy essentially means the entire back catalogue of western music is available as long as it has been released on CD at some stage in time.
Suppliers of music don’t advertise or have a vested interest in promoting one artist over another. There’s no need to push a particular artist to get more airtime because of financial benefit. Supplier of music’s only incentive is to give the public what they demand. Therefore I would think the music being consumed is heavily demand driven by consumer’s preference.
So Lao people have access to any western music they want. They aren’t being advertised to they way the west is with pop music. What they choose is really determined by their preferences, so their decisions come from their personal tastes a lot more than music consumers in the west who are bombarded with advertising. Therefore what they pick will be a purer choice as to what the best kind of music is.
The verdict is that Celine Dion is the best artist of all time for English pop music. The Lao people were given the chance to listen to what ever they wanted and they decided on Celine Dion.