The music industry all over the world has experienced a rather exciting year. Changes, for the better or worse, has rippled several effects in the music world which forced every established as well as aspiring musicians to think and act in order to better their industry.
From, hitting the perfect note while publicising your work or yourself without affecting the quality of your content to amending copyright laws, the musical journey in 2018 has been a roller coaster ride. Touching upon various issues which crept up during the year, we deep-dived into matters that involved folk musicians and their survival in a political unstable state. Think, discuss and act – that’s what this year has been all about for the creative industry.
Moving forward, the existence of music in the celebrated art form – theatre has seen its comeback in the recent past. The future of musicals is bright because this is just the beginning. For music-makers, marketing their work is as important as making music and hence, understanding the techniques for marketing your music becomes vital.
As we inch closer to start of a fresh year, Music Plus has put together a list of thought-provoking articles that every individual associated to the music industry must read before the end of 2018.
Seek clarity before publicity
Whilst there are enough and more to talk and guide musicians on all the effort that needs to go into developing creative expertise, let’s talk about another important vertical that you’ve probably never got any guidance on – publicity (or even worse, bad advice on). Today, the fundamental problem is the naive idea that most musicians carry about publicity without knowing how to fully capitalise on the avenues that offer it to their full benefit.
On the down side of things, most musicians are often too caught up asking for publicity ignorantly without doing the right things prior to it that can automatically generate publicity. Unfortunately, very few have understood and mastered the art of getting famous or even remaining as one. Today, I put together important reminders for every musician after a series of interactions with various music journalists who anonymously wish every musician knew before seeking publicity.
Streaming, apples and oranges
The animated debate about Article 13 and the Value Gap shows that music matters. All engaged speakers and writers do care for the artists and their audiences. Some more for the artists, some more for the audiences, and most are committed to serve both. By the nature of their businesses, producers tend to speak for artists, and distributors tend to speak for audiences. Guess what. They fight in the defence of their assets. If only life could be so simple.
You cannot solve a hidden problem. The Value Gap argument put the spotlight on the royalty issue. Everybody got the message. Everybody is aware. No need to shout and compare apples with oranges anymore. Now is the time to put the horse of sectorial dialogue in front of the cart of legislation. Now comes the time of the problem solvers – at the technology, business and policy levels. They will use brainy approaches nurtured by their passion for music, a matter of heart and soul.
Live music scene in Kashmir suffers, thanks to the state’s constant unrest
Known for its scenic snow-clad mountains, Kashmir, the Indian ‘Switzerland’, is also famous for its rich, unique and talented craftsmanship along with its exquisite musical heritage.
Home to unique folk musicians, this northern Indian state has a deep-rooted melodic culture that reflects the distinct traditions from the days of yore. The region has been the birthplace for folk music which has been influenced by the countries it is surrounded by. However, the local folk music has somehow sustained its identity amidst all the cultural exchange.
To help thrive the music scene in Kashmir, it is vital that the local authorities ensure that such music events are encouraged, funded and provided with adequate infrastructure to attract other organisers to the valley. The profit being the generation of employment as well as the promotion of musicians and artists from Kashmir.
All said this wonderland called Kashmir needs sur and taal not hartal. We hope this picturesque land will soon echo of its mesmerising music rather than the wails of its people.
Pakistani music in India amidst the turmoil?
The Mumbai traffic does have its boon! Traffuked, as the new slang goes, provides for an ideal opportunity to listen to the ‘Radio’. While been stuck in a massive traffic jam one evening, a remake of an old classic ‘Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye’ sung by Atif Aslam immediately helped soothe the nerves down. The fellow is melodic to say the least. This led to an animated discussion with the driver of the cab. The guy listens to the radio non stop for almost the entire day!
Well, he could even predict the line ups with 90% accuracy! Intrigued, I asked him what kind of music he liked? His reply left me gobsmacked! Mr. Sardesai, the cab driver, was a fan of ‘Naya type ka Jugalbandi’ or Fusion music as it is called now. I connected my phone to the car’s music system and played some Coke Studio for him. He had heard the songs courtesy his 24 year old son. “Yeh Pakistani log gaana achha banate hai” Ok, An Indian praising a Pakistani Music has never been rare.
Music in the world of theatre
Often regarded as the strongest form of magic, music is principally considered to be a part of all forms of entertainment. With rhythm and harmony, music has been breathing life into musicals plays. Although one may think if theatre a dying art form? Many would agree, but few know it has and will continue survive as a celebrated art form. In times of numerous options for entertainment, Indians have been closely associated to theatre and musicals for decades. Today, musical plays continue to be respected and encouraged by the audiences.
Developed from the light of opera in early 20th century, musicals has gradually been appreciated by the audiences. India has celebrated the amalgamation of music and theatre – musicals will continue to grow. Keeping that in mind, the future of musicals is bright because this is just the beginning.
Tales of alternative music marketing
There I was on a February morning, looking for hope. I, at age 41, had crashlanded in the music industry, after writing for 10 years on gaana-bajaana.
Before getting into other things, I will mention that the brief of this article was how I marketed albums by Linkin Park and James Blunt. By some God-known miracle, or simple twist of Dylanesque fate, I was hired to handle the Warner repertoire in India, through a licensing agreement with EMI Music as Label Manager responsible for “shortlisting, marketing, promotion and sales of both old catalogue and new releases.”
Everything seemed Greek but challenging. Better, many people including Billboard magazine and BBC India interviewed me on how an old journalism warhorse landed up in a different profession like this. I was clueless myself.