Analogue music still has fans despite proliferation of digital formats

The City Music Enterprise at Wisma Hopoh.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, May 16: Established in 1986, The City Music Enterprise is still a funky and hip place for music enthusiasts in the city to find good songs despite carrying a smaller range of analogue music.

Its camera-shy owner, friendly and soft-spoken 62-year-old Freddy Fong, revealed his music store is probably one of a handful which still flourish in the city amidst the ups and downs of the music retail business which has seen digital music come to dominate the market.


He revealed that he is not perturbed by technology as there is a growing number of music enthusiasts who want to own songs and music in a physical form rather than digital.

“Digital forms of songs and music have affected our business a lot but unlike in Europe and the rest of the world, now more people here are getting into analogue form. It (analogue) has always been here but people prefer digital as these days people are busy but they still listen to music.

“It is slowly changing especially in the way they want their music to be kept. It helps if there is a continuous trend and if the real music enthusiasts do go for songs to be kept (owned physically) in analogue form like vinyl records, cassettes and compact discs,” he told DayakDaily.

A vinyl record featuring songs by Malaysian legend and singer Sudirman at Fong’s music store.

Fong said music and songs in analogue form are always better, especially with a good player and sound system, as the digital formats could not match the sound quality and experience.

“Music and song enthusiasts who know their regular melodies and sound will tell you that analogue form is the best, in comparison to digital.

“I know that too, but I would not tell people what is good or bad when you want to listen to good music and songs. It’s people’s choice and digital is just convenient,” he opined.

There’s still demand for cassettes in the market.
Compact disc albums for sale.

Fong said his music store now offers a smaller range, compared to before the spread of digital music and online music stores took over, especially songs from the West but his music store still has a good selection of songs from the local music industry.

“I still have (music by) a few well-known international singers and good bands in cassettes and compact discs but not in vinyl. I only have a few local well-known Malaysian artists on vinyl.

“These days people can get all these online and these are our competitors in the market,” he said.

Fong revealed that cassettes for sale at his store which are mostly by local artistes are still priced from RM20 to RM30, and compact disc albums by foreign artistes are priced from RM60 to RM100 on average.

After 38 years in the music business, Fong’s music store still attracts music enthusiasts, especially pickers, who are after the many posters displayed on the store’s walls which are no longer in production.

Fong described his music store as like a supermarket for people hunting for memorabilia of well-known international artistes, singers and bands.

“I cannot sell any at all to them as despite being rare and collectable, it would not be easy to take them off my store’s wall. They are too old and very fragile. It would just be too risky to take them off.

“But if music enthusiasts and pickers want to see them, do patronise my shop while at the same time listen to some background analogue music and songs at the store,” he said.

A poster of German band Helloween at Fong’s music store.
A poster of popular American band Slipknot at Fong’s music store.

Fong disclosed that the posters came from music production houses in the late mid-1980s and 1990s.

“I have one poster of an American band called Slipknot formed in 1990s that according to a picker is worth a lot of money but it is pasted to my storeroom’s wall as a decoration,” he said.

Fong’s music store also sells a variety of t-shirts with designs depicting images and effigies of international artistes and bands.

The City Music Enterprise music store is located at 211, on the first floor of Wisma Hopoh. It operates daily from 9am to 7pm except Sunday. For more information, call 012-809 1335. — DayakDaily