MUMBAI: Independent music did take the centre stage at All About Music Conference that was held recently. The session was called ‘All About Independent Music’ and it was moderated by Brain Tellis co-founder & group CEO, Fountainhead MKTG. The panel consisted of Tracy Maddux, CEO, CD Baby; Vijay Basrur, founder, Ok Listen; Subir Malik, founder, manager & organist, Parikrama Band; Soumini Shridhar Paul, VP, Artist Aloud and Subha Mudgal, singer. These well-known music business names discussed differentiation of independent music from mainstream, the constant issue of venues, Bollywood vs. Independent music and what can be the game changer for independent music.
Paul started on a strong note as she stated, “There is a habit of bracketing.” But, she further went on to highlight the importance of marketing for visibility for an artist. “Your content needs to be distributed. You need to get famous and invest in yourself. I don’t want you to know business but be a part of us,” expressed the Artist Aloud Vice President.
Taking the topic further Mudgal stated, “There are artists who’ve been taught music for years but they are never taught business. This demographic of musicians stay left out unless they decide to start self-publishing. Most stores next to shrines sell badly produced CDs. This is music by these people who at least stand for themselves.”
Just to give a picture of the current music situation Malik shared, “An artist does not end up earning anything by distribution alone. Money is in live. Plus there are so many artists producing music. You need someone who can think business long term.”
Performance venues too have become a matter of concern in the recent times with most shutting down abruptly and there is more to that. “The artists that were selling at venues earlier are selling anymore,” highlighted Paul.
On another venue related issue, Mudgal stated, “It’s important to find the right audience. Young music lovers are open to listening to everything, but we need to communicate it right. If you’re trying to sell my concert tickets for Raag Darbari ( a genre of music she performs in) with Ab Ke Saawan poster, you will be misleading the audience. I perform both, but that event may be different. So, if I sing Raag Darbari at such an event the audience will hate me. If you’ve worked on a new track and you’ll be performing it that needs to be communicated.”
Bollywood is often looked upon as a demon hogging all the limelight, but there is no denying the fact that every saint wants to befriend it. Acknowledging the same Mudgal said, “Any musician who gets an opportunity to be a part of Bollywood will accept it. But, Bollywood music today is going beyond Bollywood. We have singers like Kavita Seth and Shilpa Rao that are doing more.”
Backing Mudgal, Basrur expressed, “You can’t wish away Bollywood. Local Train’s (a band managed by his company Ok Listen) song got picked by Angry Indian Goddesses and got them famous.”
Lastly, each panellist gave one point that could be a game changer for independent musicians. Mudgal stated that the labels should come together to promote independent musicians work. “If we don’t have the money to buy media space, we can share the space. I’d like to be a part of it. Let’s form a collective.”
Tracy at the end giving an example stated, “Justin Bieber has to give constant inputs. It’s not just one piece. So, continue making music.”
So, keep going guys!