By Samarth Goyal
New Delhi, March 7 (IANS): Independent musicians in India, until the pandemic, relied heavily on word of mouth to promote their music, and live performances played a big role. However, since the lockdown was imposed due to Covid-19, live performances have dried up, pushing musicians – especially those who weren’t registered with major music labels – to adapt, and that’s what they did.
Many independent musicians confined to the house have started to create music within their own four walls, and the result has been fantastic. 2020 was probably the most important year in terms of independent music releases.
âIndia’s rapidly changing music audience is now open to discovering music outside of the Bollywood landscape. We are witnessing a dramatic shift in the consumption of music in India. We have a new generation of first generation smartphone users, consuming more original music than ever before. “, explains the Indo-American rapper Raja Kumari.
While the first six months of 2020 saw over 300 albums / EPs / singles and over 700 independently released clips, over 1,300 singles, clips, and 200 albums / EPs, were independently released in the past six months last year. !
âThere’s a lot more freedom to weave into a personalized narrative and I think audiences are now more biased towards that correlation. Aside from commercial pop, I see regional music and hip hop showing great potential in the charts. . Over the next few years, this will be bigger than the film music category, âadds Raja.
As non-cinematic pop / commercial music continues to dominate the charts, independent musicians are slowly being recognized, and the popularity of names such as Prateek Kuhad, Ankur Tewari, Raja Kumari and Nucleya among many others often blurs the lines between what is considered commercial. and independent music respectively.
âI noticed that some of the more established artists were looking for talented independent musicians and also promoting or collaborating with them,â says Rahul Singh, who goes by the nickname More Than Ray, who adds that the support of streaming platforms to independent music contributed to the emergence of the genre.
âI think part of this is because people have more free time to delve deeper into the genres they love, and the genres they are willing to explore in the midst of life in quarantine. Streaming services have also done a fantastic job of promoting some of the independent creatives that they think are catching the zeitgeist, âhe adds.
Electronica musician Sartek agrees and echoes a similar sentiment. âMuch of the credit goes to the rise of streaming platforms that cater to all age groups. As a producer, I used to make music for a specific audience, mainly young people, but now I am geared more towards all age groups. . I think the music should now be aimed at both a teenager in a school and an 80-year-old grandmother rocking in her chair! âHe says.
Much like the musicians, listeners were also confined to their homes last year, which meant they had more time to explore different forms of music, which only meant more independent musicians who consciously stayed away from it. musical creation in commercial settings.
Perhaps one of the main reasons for the emergence of independent music is, as the Delhi-based electronic duo of Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj – also known as Midival Punditz – point out, because of the inability of major music labels to produce budget music videos during the lockdown.
âAs filming and videos were almost impossible, audiences found themselves listening to new types of indie music primarily for musical content and maybe even with homemade or creatively animated videos. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why new audiences turned to independent music as much of it was coming out of home studios, âsay Gaurav and Tapan, adding that while commercial music will be back, independent musicians “Will see a lot more demand in their content.”
The optimism is evident despite the fact that, as Delhi-based singer-songwriter Rohan Solomon points out, “the masses will always listen to the artists of the big labels rather than the independent artists as a whole”, independent music is meant to grow.
âI’ve noticed that independent artists really use social media and other online platforms to promote their music a lot. The audience that receives their music is increasing significantly,â adds Rohan, whose latest singles have featured in the songs. charts across the globe.
Subir Malik from Parikrama totally agrees. âIt’s great for all of us, and I’m happy people are realizing the potential of independent music. Of course, the flip side is that there were hardly any Bollywood-style releases on it. last year because of Covid. But to be optimistic, the reach of independent music, I’m sure, will grow year on year, “he said.
Some notable independent artists:
The Jaipur-based freelance artist, known for his feather-shaped compositions, mostly about human relations, has established a cult following, which also includes former US President Barack Obama, who named his song “cold / mess” as one of her favorite songs in 2019.
Despite the fact that this Indian-American rapper has worked with big labels from time to time, the fact that she is a fiercely independent artist, who works on her terms, is not unheard of.
One of the biggest names in the Indian electronic circuit, Udyan Sagar, or Nucleya, is also one of the biggest success stories in the independent music scene. Whether performing at music festivals around the world or collaborating with popular electronic artists such as Major Lazaer, Nucleya’s sounds are quickly becoming synonymous with popular music.
The 17-year-old quickly became one of the most promising artists on the independent scene. His music has already been appreciated by popular musicians like Ehsaan Noorani.
Tewari is one of the most popular independent singer-songwriters, for his strongly opinionated music. His interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, which he translated into Hindi, continues to make the rounds on social networks, and he is gradually becoming a popular artist.