Add Rum to the Mix - Rock Unite

By N. RAMA LOHAN (Permission from Rock Unite)

The Star, 9 Jan 08

A new streaming radio station provides a platform for unsigned artistes to showcase their brand of music.

THE life of the working musician in this country isn’t exactly a charmed one. Sure, the marketing infrastructure behind artistes like Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Mawi will ensure they receive the exposure that’s required for them to remain at the top of their game. Yes, commercialism sells.

Rock Unite Malaysia, which began with a reality competition, expanded into music production and now has an Internet-based radio station. ‘We will gladly accept music from any part of the world,’ says CEO Shahrum Shah.
But what happens to artistes with similar ambitions (but lacking in debatable good looks) of wanting to get their music across as far and wide as possible? Here’s the reality check: the road ahead is rocky and ragged.

Unfortunately, the music climate here isn’t as encouraging as independent musicians would like it to be. Of course, playing cover songs in the club environment will just about pay the rent, but originals ... that’s an entirely different story.

All’s not lost though, and while there seems to be a silver lining with the emergence of venues encouraging live music, this glimmer of hope has been given a shot in the arm with a number of online streaming sites which allow musicians to upload their music to be shared with the world, from to Channel [V]’s Amp.

More significantly now though, is the setting up of RUM Radio (, Rock Unite Malaysia’s streaming radio site that officially went on air on Jan 1. The organisation, which began with its reality rock band competition, has steadily expanded into music production and now an Internet-based radio station, which is clearly a thriftier option compared to a conventional radio station.

“We’ve done this to create a platform for unsigned artistes, to provide them with a level playing field as international acts. This effectively allows for the music to be heard in any part of the world,” revealed Shahrum Shah, chief executive officer of Rock Unite Malaysia.

While monetary requirements aren’t too demanding for an online radio station, RUM Radio still requires an IT team to maintain the site. And in accordance with legalities, the station has registered with Music Authors’ Copyright Protection (MACP).

The bulk of RUM Radio’s playlist consists of Malaysian artistes but the station is not imposing borders with its content – there are no language or genre barriers. “This station is not merely for Rock Unite and local artistes – we will gladly accept music from any part of the world, as long as the quality of production is acceptable. In fact, we have Mokita from England and Saharadja from Indonesia, two excellent acts which are on our playlist as well.”

Struggling musicians would describe the local music scene as unhealthy – almost everyone is simply trying to make a buck. Music today, as viewed by a large portion of the music industry, is more a commercial entity than anything remotely artistic – after all, if Paris Hilton can get a recording contract, how much talent do you really need? Society still cares for music, though, and no level of piracy can change that.

“Music is the opium of life ... you just have to have it,” confessed Shahrum.

RUM Radio’s tie in with TM Football Channel links two common passions and will serve sports fans a good dose of music, too. “All TM subscribers are automatically linked to TM Football Channel, which makes it a great way for good music to reach listeners.” Another avenue for listeners to get to RUM Radio is via Blue Hyppo’s HyppTunes.

Artistes seeking to get their music on RUM Radio’s playlist can e-mail

Check out the latest releases now playing on

~ Album : RU 13 * Artiste : KIRI ~


~ Album : LIKE NEVER BEFORE * Artiste : ZUBIRA ~

~ Single : SAME WAY I DO * Artiste : SUPERBAR ~

~ Single : DRAKULA * Artiste : SHARIN BAND ~


Check out more about RUM Radionet.