| 30 Nov 2023
Independent music - from past perfect to future

When I look at what is happening around us in the music space, I get overwhelmed as the space is very exciting and yet extremely challenging.

In the early days where music channels and the industry were building and encouraging the ecosystem for independent music and artiste, the albums were released in a very phased out manner where each album had a dedicated life span of at least 3-4 months; add to this a minimum of 2-3 videos supporting an album. Music channels gained their TRPs and artistes were being profiled and being made into celebrities. Their celeb status led to their demand and thus revenue beyond their music which strangely did not yield any benefits for the music company that either launched their careers or albums. Five years after the glory days of Independent Music and these Channels getting weary of their TRPs, came Bollywood and Remixes. Bollywood replaced independent music with videos in lower budgets, and Independent artistes & music got replaced by remixes of old Bollywood songs with good looking models that didn't even sing the songs.

That of course led to the music industry to put business before ecosystem, and the demand for a record label to survive became based on what it can achieve business wise rather than by finding ways of how it can keep the music ecosystem alive.

In all of this, did artistes stop making music or did creativity die? Not really.

While the music industry had their reservations investing time and money on new talent, the internet opened its doors with platforms like MySpace, ReverbNation, etc.  and the artistes realized that they had the reign in their hands. They had the ability to make their own music with no creative interference. They could present themselves the way they wanted and they could build their own fan base. So from the days of stars having fans... it became need fans to be a star.... If you were to ask me, I think this was the best thing that could have happened to an artiste. Of course, that is an artiste who knows his music and how he should be presented.

With no one to look out for the artistes but themselves, we have seen the growth of a music industry that strangely doesn't need the music industry... to believe in it. In a country that has a music listener who can listen from Megadeath to Kishore Kumar or even Zakhir Hussain in the same album, we have now got artistes who are ready to stick to one genre and build their fan base within that. Case in point: Raghu Dixit, Demonic Resurrection, Kailasa, Kavita Seth, etc. These are only a few names in the growing genre based ocean that are not out there trying to be versatile. They want to stick to one style and be known for it. This compared to the olden days where all artistes could sing all styles and therefore became promotional candidates to mainstream Bollywood music.

The music industry has always been about the artiste but today it's gone beyond the record label. Today the music industry is about Live gigs, Music Festivals, Digital Platforms and more. Independent Music has become the new Bollywood with brands and technology wanting to associate themselves with gigs like NH7 festival, Sunburn, WebCerts, etc. Players like OML, Percept (through Sunburn Festival),, YouTube and mind you even the conventional record labels like Universal and SAREGAMA are doing their bit to rebuild the ecosystem.

The truth is that the business of music might have been believed to be dead but as long as there is music and there is an audience for it, there has to be a way to make it into a business. The challenge of course is how and that I believe is what is going to make this an exciting journey for us as we all play our role in making Independent Music a successful business.


by Artist Aloud associate VP Soumini Sridhara Paul