As many independent artistes are able to produce content which they can relate to, owing to their success that has come from apps such as Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn or SoundCloud etc, we talk to a famous few to understand how these new medium work, the pros and cons, and to learn how music streamers have made the world their local stage…
Logical hurdles out
Talking of digitialisation of music reminds us of the song Saareyan Da Rab Raakha from the band The Yellow Diary. The band members opine, “Digitalisation has empowered independent artistes to reach out to a larger audience all over the world. It has also helped artistes to monetise their art on different platforms. With digitalisation you can control what you want to release and not just cater to the industry norms. With logistical hurdles out of the way, an artiste can now focus more on the craft.” The band consists of Rajan Batra, Himonshu Parikh , Stuart Dacosta, Vaibhav Pani and Sahil Shah.
Music is supreme
“It’s possible to collaborate with anyone in the world without requiring their physical presence,” says composer, singer and entrepreneur Arjuna Harjai. He has sung for Bollywood movies but is equally successful in his independent career. He adds, “The digital boom in music has opened up the arena for upcoming artistes. With the help of the streaming apps, more emphasis is being given to the audio aspect of it. Earlier, songs were pushed mainly using a visual medium that focused more on the featuring artistes rather than the music. For a musician, it is important that the listeners connect with the basic DNA of the artiste, and digitalisation is helping us.”
Campaigns and CDs
Delhi and New York-based Rohan Solomon, a popular singer, songwriter, composer and audio engineer, thinks streaming apps have been a game-changing tool. He adds, “Getting my tracks on key playlists that have a lot of followers has helped me. I have received multiple DMs on Instagram saying that they came across my music on Spotify. Building a good relationship with key playlist curators/owners is a great way to promote your music. However, since streaming is cheap, it means that the artistes don’t make much money.”
The wait is over
“Earlier, we had to go through a record label, and it was just not possible for every artiste to get every track released through labels. Now, we can directly release music with the help of aggregators like OKListen!, CD Baby, TuneCore and get our music on all the digital platforms. The long wait for getting your music released is a thing of the past,” explains Azeem Ahmed Alvi, who plays the sitar in The Collective Projekt.
Bridging the gap
With 82.7K followers on Instagram and 39.6K subscribers on YouTube, playback singer Mohammed Irfan’s melodious voice keeps the listeners hooked. He says, “Digital platforms have narrowed the gap between the artistes and their audiences. It’s a big and welcoming change.”
Still a long way…
But does it mean enough is being done? Campaigns to promote local artistes and independent music by streaming platforms through personalised playlists have helped, but is it sufficient? “The Indian music industry is still predominantly defined by Bollywood. The trend is slowly shifting but we have a long way to go. Also, the big labels such as Universal Music or Sony Music have now started venturing into independent music space, which is good but still much needs to be done,” says Kishan John, manager of the band When Chai Met Toast. The members explain how it works. “There’s always a middleman, for us it will be a distributor, which is OK Listen! or Believe Music. We give our music to them and they provide it to all the digital audio stores like Apple music, Saavn, Gaana, Spotify and others. For every stream, we get revenue.”