Making Money from Your Music in Malaysia

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One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to get involved in the Malaysian live music scene is to show up to venues and support the musicians that are performing.

This article was written by ExpatGo contributor Jennifer Dawson.

Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur in particular, has always sported a vibrant, eclectic live music scene. Apart from the K-pop craze and EDM trend, rock, pop, jazz, and even R&B music are all enjoying a surge in popularity. Unfortunately, the live music scene has not quite returned to its pre-Covid status, leaving musicians with very limited opportunities.

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While the coalition of music associations known as Music Malaysia is doing everything in its power to return the local music scene to its former glory, there are a number of things musicians and passionate music fans alike can do to get actively involved in the industry.


One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to get involved in the Malaysian live music scene is to show up to venues and support the musicians that are performing.  At present, performances are largely limited to hotel lounges.

While this may not be the ideal situation, it is better than the alternative of not having any venue to perform at. Loving music is ultimately all about support, so attend as many live shows as you can. 

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Any monetary contribution that is made towards the artists and the industry as a whole in the form of a cover charge or performance tip goes a long way. In addition to showing up for a show, you can also show your support by buying merchandise directly from the artists or bands. This not only helps generate an income for them, but also serves as a powerful means of indirect advertising.


As a musician, there really is no better way to get involved in the local live music scene than performing at music venues. If you are new to performing in front of a crowd or haven’t performed in a while, it may be a good idea to level up your skills before taking to the first available stage. Start by getting to know your instrument better.

A guitar player may, for instance, start by brushing up on their music theory before reacquainting themselves with the fretboard. Additionally, exercise your vocal cords, draw up a great setlist, and make sure all your gear is in good working condition.


If you want to get more involved in the music scene than simply attending shows, yet don’t perhaps have the talent to perform, you can explore a number of alternative avenues. If you fancy yourself a good writer, why not start a music blog, or investigate the possibility of writing a column on music for a local newspaper or magazine? 

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Other possibilities to consider include artist management, band promotion, or merchandise designing. With more than 3.6 billion people reportedly using social media worldwide, there are numerous services you can offer to up-and-coming musicians. Even if you are not the most social media-savvy person in the world, you can easily acquire a basic skill set that will enable you to help put local artists on the global social media map. 


From KL to Penang to Kuching and beyond, Malaysia has always sported a very vibrant live music scene. It is also fairly easy to get actively involved in it if you are eager to help give the local music industry a boost!

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