Tran Thu Ha is a talented singer. Even though she appears to be snobby and seems to be conceited at times, I still have respect for her craftsmanship. Like I always say, the music and the personal voice are what matter to me the most; however, she needs to handle her business better. Her public-relations people at Ha Tran Music are a whole bunch of idiots. She already is under appreciated in the Vietnamese-American community, and her PR not only doesn’t help, but also makes her image looks worse.
When her first album in the US, Ha Tran 98-03, released, I contacted her official website for a review copy. I wrote a nice letter explaining how I felt that she is under valued, and I also directed them to some of my reviews I have written. To my surprise, I received a reply stating that the website is to promote Tran Thu Ha (No shit! I thought the website was put together to castigate her), but if I want to support her, buy her album, write it, send it to them, and they’ll post it up on their site. My jaw dropped when I read that shit. What kind of public relations is this? I did purchase the album, wrote a review for it, and send it to them. I guess they never posted my review on their site because it didn’t come out so positive. And no, I didn’t give an unfavorable review just because they didn’t send me the album. It was not as good as I have expected it.
Last Thursday, I came across two demos from her upcoming album posted on her site. I liked them and linked to them from my site for my readers to check out. The next day, the file was renamed (from radio.html to radio1.html), what a coincident? So when my visitors click on the link, they would go to a broken page, which makes me look bad. As if I was so careless that I sent my readers to a none-existing page. I thought the purpose of posting up demos on a website is to get some exposure. Like they always say in Vietnamese, “tha con tep bat con tom.” But I guess her PR folks are too dumb to even understand that simple concept. My voice may not be matter much, but I do have a handful of readers who are Tran Thu Ha’s possible target audience. Then again, she is too big to be bothered by an insignificant, personal site like this.
Truth be told, in addition of honing my unskilled writing, I want to be able to get free, advanced promotional CDs. My habit of buying music is overwhelming. I am not a professional critic, but free CDs are not too much to ask, considering the time I have invested into these reviews. I have to agree with many readers here that our Vietnamese entertainment businesses need to learn from the American, especially in marketing and public relations department. In my Book Recommendation category, ninety percent of computer-related books are from Peachpit Press. A couple days after I posted a short review of 37 Signals’ Defensive Design for the Web, one of Peachpit representatives invited me to join their review program because they could tell that my words could influence other designers based on my work. Every month they would send out a list of their newest releases, all I have to do is tell them which books I want to review. That way, I can get to read books that interest me. Although I don’t get paid, I do get free books, which could be as much as fifty bucks a pop, and write whatever I feel without having to follow any guidelines. So yes, Vietnamese public-relations people, especially Tran Thu Ha’s folks, still need catching up to do.