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July 29, 2017

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Music awards still have special role to play in Asia

SINGAPORE--Are music awards still relevant?

It is a question that pops up from time to time given how many there are out there. Publications give out awards, radio stations give out awards, websites give out awards and even soft drinks give out awards. That is taking the pop in sodapop a little too liberally.

It is practically suspect if a singer or album does not end up with some kind of accolade or other.

With Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards hitting a milestone 25th edition, it is a good time to take stock of the awards show even as it takes stock of the Chinese music offerings in a given year.

And the quick answer to the question is: Yes.

While there is a deluge of awards out there, there will always be room for an industry-wide exercise conducted by a respected panel. The Golden Melody Awards, Golden Bell Awards for television productions and the Golden Horse Awards for movies are considered Taiwan's three major annual awards. But their influence extends to all of the Mandarin-speaking world, particularly the music and film awards.

While the Golden Melody Awards have been christened the Grammys of Chinese music, it is probably fair to say that the former has greater cache as the Grammys have been pilloried for being out of touch and irrelevant.

On the other hand, the Taiwanese award has tried to straddle mainstream relevance and music credibility. Four of Mandopop king Jay Chou's albums have won for Best Mandarin Album, namely "Jay" (in 2001), "Fantasy" (in 2002), "Ye Hui Mei" (in 2004) and "The Era" (in 2011). But you also have feted indie singersongwriter Sandee Chan's "Then We All Wept In Silence" taking the top honor in 2005.

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