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News |  12 Apr 2024 15:45 |  By Chaitanya Chinchlikar

Indie Music & Streaming dominates 2023

MUMBAI: 2023 was a great year for the Indian Music industry. The rejuvenation of the industry, which started during the lockdown, finally hit critical mass with Independent Music (Indie Music*) finally taking its rightful place among other forms of music and solid stabilisation of music streaming as a delivery / business model.

Here’s an overview of major trends that characterised the Indian music industry in 2023:

1. Independent Music on the Rise:
Independent artists and labels gained prominence, leveraging digital platforms to release and promote their music independently. Streaming services provided a level playing field, allowing independent musicians to reach a global audience without the need for extensive industry connections. ‘Radar India’ facilitated over 2 million new user-artist discoveries on Spotify in 2023.

2. Streaming Dominance:
Streaming platforms continued to reshape the music industry landscape, with platforms like Spotify, Gaana, and JioSaavn leading the way. The convenience of on-demand streaming and personalised playlists contributed to the decline of physical sales and a shift away from traditional radio consumption.

3. Collaborations and Cross-Genre Fusion:
Collaborations between artists from different genres became a notable trend, creating diverse and innovative music. Fusion of traditional Indian music with global genres like pop, hip-hop, and electronic music gained popularity, appealing to a broad audience with varied musical tastes.

4. Virtual Concerts and Livestreaming:
The trend of virtual concerts and livestreaming events continued to thrive, offering a solution for artists to connect with their audience during times of restricted live performances. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and dedicated concert streaming services facilitated virtual performances and interactive fan engagement.

5. Blockchain Integration:
The adoption of blockchain technology and the adoption by it by the Music industry gained traction. Artists explored new revenue streams and ways to engage with fans through the creation and sale of unique, blockchain-secured digital assets tied to their music.

6. Focus on Regional and Folk Music:
There was a renewed appreciation for regional and folk music, with artists exploring traditional sounds and infusing them into contemporary compositions. This trend contributed to a richer musical tapestry, celebrating the cultural diversity of India’s musical heritage. ‘Hot Hits Bhojpuri’ was in the Top 100 playlists globally on Spotify, and has a 70% GenZ skew. Hip hop is finding regional roots – Rap 91, Dillihood, Mumbai Bantai, Hip-te-Hop, Hip-Hop Haryana etc.

7. AI and Music Creation:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) played a role in music creation, with AI-generated music gaining attention. From composition assistance to personalised music recommendations, AI technologies contributed to various aspects of the music creation and consumption process.

8. Music Licensing for Films and OTT Content:
The demand for music licensing in films, web series, and other OTT (Over-The-Top) content continued to grow. The integration of carefully curated soundtracks became an essential part of storytelling in visual media, creating opportunities for both established and emerging musicians.

9. Personalised Music Experiences:
The focus on personalised music experiences intensified, with streaming platforms leveraging algorithms to curate personalised playlists and recommendations based on user preferences. This trend enhanced user engagement and encouraged exploration of new artists and genres.

2023 was a transformative year for the Indian music industry, marked by the continued rise of streaming, the empowerment of independent artists, and the exploration of diverse musical influences. Technological advancements and a renewed focus on sustainability and cultural authenticity shaped the industry, providing a dynamic and inclusive musical landscape for both artists and listeners.

2024 will continue down similar lines with an increased usage of AI in music. Further, the ‘premium’ offerings in music will shift to the larger-than-life audio-visual-narrative-spectacle live performances a-la Taylor Swift & her Eras tour. We have already seen an example of the same in the ‘Civilisation To Nation’ show produced & presented by the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre in Mumbai. While not as expansive as some of the other global live performances, it did keep alive the live-musical performance genre in India. The availability of high quality performance spaces like the NMACC in Mumbai & various other cities in India will also aid & abet the emergence of similar premium offerings by Indian performers. Let’s hope they come sooner, rather than later.

* Indie music is basically defined as non-film, non-classical, non-religious music.