REBUILDING FROM SCRATCH

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1994 was the beginning of the Indi Pop scene with MTV aiming to localize its content in order to make it big in India as well as working closely with record labels thus supporting them. For the record industry, it was a perfect marriage. There were some players in the market that were focused on releasing films, Ghazals, devotional and international music including HMV, Tips, T-series, Venus, Sony Music, Universal, and many others. These players were not really dependent on television to sell their music but realized that to make it big in the local scene they would need to be in bed with television. That led to other players coming into the market who wanted to solely build on the Indi Pop scene through A&R (Artist and Repertoire) like Magnasound, Crescendo, Milestone, Virgin Records, etc. to name a few relevant players. With more players in the market creating new content in audio and video format, there, obviously, was an opportunity for one more channel to come into the scene thus giving birth to Channel [v].

 

Everything was hunky dory. Music was selling. Artists were getting really popular and making money through shows. There was healthy competition between the channels and the music industry was working both with players offering opportunities of content as well as talent showcase. The years 1996 – 2000 gave birth to a number of talents that were soon going to become Bollywood singing sensations. These artistes, during that period, released original and private albums which were not done so to make it their stepping stone to Bollywood. In fact, Bollywood was not even in their minds.

 

So when did Bollywood become the be all and end all or the ultimate goal for a musical talent or a vocalist? To understand this you have to go back to 2000 – 2001. This was the time when satellite TV was booming with multiple channels and consumers were getting addicted to television. Given consumer behavior, the need for these channels to be on top of their game and track TRP became paramount. And with consumer importance increasing in the television space, Bollywood had to make its presence felt on TV if it needed to promote its films and keep the consumer engaged and drive them to theatres to continue to watch films.

 

Initially, this led to 30 – 60sec TV commercials being aired as trailers of the film by the film producers. But gradually the record labels who bought the rights to the music from the film producers started putting out songs of the films for the same duration that started getting played between non-film video content. This was the beginning of the end for non-film video content and local talent. Films were shot in 70mm and on large landscapes with picturesque quality while non-film, even the most lavish ones were being shot on 16mm at the max. The disparity was obvious. With satellite continuing to boom and the consumer having control of the remote (for changing the channel), non-film did not have a chance to survive because TRPs showed that it was directly proportional to the quantity of film content.  Hence music channels that built their entire viewer base on Indi Pop talent and content gradually stopped supporting the same and were more responsive to film content.

 

Some of the record labels that had built their business completely on the Indi Pop scene couldn’t survive with no media support while the bigger labels, that were able to evolve, grew beyond the Indi Pop scene. And so by 2004, the Indi Pop scene, that had launched some of the biggest names that were now big in Bollywood, pretty much died.

 

There were several platforms like MySpace, Reverbnation, Soundcloud and others that were picking up globally as well as local talent within India which started using these platforms to put their content out. With the advent of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, talent was able to put themselves out there with no restrictions including singing other people’s songs. At the same time, GECs (General Entertainment Channels) started attracting talent through music reality shows where it was not just about talent but about drama, stories, and dreams. But all of this was doing nothing to revive the space for non-film content or A&R because even with so many platforms and reality shows the only content that was getting more and more popular was Bollywood. If anything good came out of this, it was that artists were taking control of their music and using a DIY method to put themselves out there. This was even to the extent that artists gave up on the belief that music can make money through consumers buying it like it did in the late 90s and instead were ready to put out their music out for free and make it popular by getting more and more people to hear it so that they could make money through shows and perform their songs to an audience that is already familiar with their work.

 

If all was going well, why would Artist Aloud get a chance to survive? The only reason for that was because an Artist may have had control of his content and the freedom for creativity but it is not an official release if it is not officially released by a company that puts out other artists content too and generates revenue for the artist along with promoting the artist.

 

Artist Aloud gave birth to several other players and also revived the non-film scene that was pretty much dead when it launched in 2010. The platform actually made other players that had been dormant for a while sit up and notice the artists again. While Bollywood has now become a global phenomenon, the non-film space in India is going through a rebirth and as anything was broken takes longer to be rebuilt as against something new, this too needs to be given time. Content in 1994 – 2000 was growing at a slow pace and only through a linear format while right now there is not only a large amount of different content but also formats including linear, digital, etc.

 

Talent is everywhere and creativity is in the hands of the common man. It is no longer a privilege of only a few. Hence Artist Aloud is democratic and allows anyone with great content to put himself/herself/themselves out there with complete control of content and creativity and freedom of expression. So, be original and download Artist Aloud – Talent First App.

Reviewed By – Soumini Sridhara Paul

#MTV #IndependentMusic #ArtistAloud #BollywoodSongs #SocialMedia #MusicDownload

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