• Nellooli Raj

The West got this one right!

I have been composing and publishing music for 40 years. The way music is created has changed completely. The large studios and 16 track music spools have been replaced by a computer in a small room. Music has changed in content and technology. Channels like the YouTube have made music free and easily accessible for listeners and provided a convenient publishing platform for musicians. Genres are merging with exciting experiments in fusion and adoption. All good stuff. It has been a lot of fun adapting.


It is a lot easier to record today. With a Mac, a professional recording software, and a microphone, any garage turns into a studio. Throw a midi key board and a tone bank into the mix and an entire song can be created, edited, and mastered in the same garage. Combined with the explosion of talent and skills among the younger generations, a lot of brilliant musical forms are being created.


Here is the first catch.


In India, apart from classical, devotional and folk music, other genres, mostly popular music, depend on movies for money and fame. Independent music is a poor cousin way behind the highly hyped and marketed film music. Very unlike what happens in the west.


Outside the movie industry, there is little money, fame, or promotional support. It is changing. Punjabi and Tamil music have done better to promote independent music. Artists like Vidya Vox, Darshit Nayak, Neha Kakkar, and Jonita Gandhi have created fan followings primarily using the Youtube platform. The renowned lyricist in the Tamil film industry, Madhan Karky, is actively promoting independent music through the portal – Doopaadoo. These artists see the writings on the wall.

There is one more catch.


Movies need highly customized music based on the needs of the plot and choreography. They need few songs that are expensively produced. Often, stereotypes are produced based on recent hits or trends. Music is created first and the lyricists are asked to fill them with words. Some lyricists call themselves lyrics engineers now. With glitz, glamour, expensive productions, and huge promotions, instant hits are manufactured. Outside this world, more and more high quality music is being created that never find the light of the day. I have come across many such musicians who create because they want to.


Contrast this with the bands in the west who write their own songs and music and create the music they love. And they own the music, keep the fans, and keep the money made from their songs. Music stands on its own and liberated. Bands have more followings than actors or film music makers.


Indian popular music is starting to break free from the commercial yoke of the film industry. Independent will music be in the future. Let us ape the west and support it. They got this right long back.




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