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News |  07 Dec 2012 12:28 |  By RnMTeam

IndiEarth Xchange 2012: "There is no proper medium to connect artistes to people"

MUMBAI: With the emergence of new music in various markets in the country, their development and popularity are in the hands of media who bridge the gap between music and the music market. Its undeniable power in influencing market trends can help change the definition of an artiste or band.

The session ‘Indian Media’s Role in Development of New Music and Film Markets’ explored various initiatives, roles and highlighted the forward path to develop new markets for independent artistes beyond the commercial film music demands. Moderated by Anirban Chakraborty (Rock Street Journal), the panel comprised of Pragash V (Score Magazine), Luke Kenny (9XO), Nitin Rajan (PlanetRadiocity), Kate Welsman (Triple R Australia) and Neetu Puri Mathrani (Radio Mirchi).

It commenced with a discussion on the changing trends, as earlier the indie scene did not have much support from the media apart from the channel MTV. But with its shift to bollywood as well, things suddenly spiraled downwards for the scene.

Throwing light on the scene back then, Kenny said, “When MTV exited there was no music channel on television. Then came channel V who played a mix of international and local content with bollywood. Artistes realized they don’t need movies to showcase their talent and thus the indi-pop scene emerged with Baba Sehgal and more.”

While the scene was evolving at a rapid pace then, many film composers lured the artistes to sing in films by offering double money, which reduced the quality of music being released independently and thus giving the scene a slow death. But with the advent of internet and technology, things are changing. A lot of the independent bands in the country are English, playing international content. Also, terrestrial radio is beginning to support it too.

Rajan commented, “Not much is happening from the terrestrial radio point of view. There are only some slots dedicated to the indie scene as the licenses bear a huge cost so stations have to remain mass. So now, most of them have turned to the internet where the licenses are not so rigid and its garnering a good response.”

The panel also stated that the media today in its various forms is not doing enough to drive the behavior towards people. Its focus lies on bollywood and international music and thus till date many don’t know that a band like La Pongal or more even exist. Pragash of Score Magazine tried to bridge the gap by organizing a special concert for independent bands every Friday night.

“There is no proper medium to connect artistes to the people and so we came up with ‘Score Nights’ – a live concert held every Friday night, where we brought in bands to come and perform in Chennai and Bangalore. Our aim was to educate people through the media that such forms of music do exist,” he stated.

So while listenership has increased through various initiatives by the media to promote it, the biggest challenge remains connectivity with a host of digital platforms making it difficult for artistes to choose the right one. While new music always gets featured first on the web, the filtration of the content only takes place through other media like magazines, TV and more. Another major challenge facing them is to find the right investors who understand the right potential of the music and can monetize out of it.

While many television shows host specific music based shows like Dewarists and Unplugged, music channels aim to focus on the rotation method to increase discovery and gain audience attention.

Kenny stated, “On 9XO, we aimed to keep our structure as back-to-back music with no blocks or genres. There is a constant rotation of the music video. But has a show like ‘Dewarists’ really benefitted the artistes? Are people buying their music? It is an appointment based show, if people miss it they might not take efforts to tune in to the repeats as well. Therefore, I feel music video on rotation is a better option.”

Although all the media forms are trying to develop the scene, the panelists claim that economically, everyone needs to be patient and one has to try and make it sustainable for them in the long run. Each of the panelists highlighted their role in helping to shape the indie music scene further.

While Pragash aimed to develop ‘Score Nights’ in a better manner, Kenny pointed out their channel’s properties like ‘Indiegenious’, ‘Big Daddy O’s’ and more being taken forward to other cities as well. On the other hand, Rajan discussed the success of ‘freedom hour’ on its web radio by bringing in bands to the studios across 19 stations, playing unreleased tunes. Mathrani viewed it as a great step forward with her radio station too dedicating a special channel for indie music online, and Welsman felt her community radio would be the best platform for crowd sourcing to find talent.