2017 might have been apocalyptic when it comes to political discourse, end of musical eras and global warming. However, one cannot ignore that 2017 was quietly the best thing to happen to Indian Independent musicians. Especially the ones who are bringing Indian classical music to the mainstream.

The following are some of the opportunities that one should keep an eye on, as they are the future of independent music scene in India.

Streaming services

Artists originals by Saavn, Gaana Originals by Gaana, and the list goes on. With Mobile internet at the highest penetration ever in India and because of this, independent music has moved beyond live shows right into the hands of the Indian consumer.

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From Shaan to Badshah, even Bollywood musicians are now boarding the independent bandwagon. Therefore, it is only a matter of time that Indian classical music will receive it’s rightful share of this phenomenon.

Crowdfunding Campaigns

The latest emerging trend doing very well in India is crowdfunding campaigns. Lets look at the success of Patreon. It’s a membership platform that allows creators to run a subscription content service, especially ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their patrons.This emerging platform is popular among YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, and others who post regularly online.

The recent examples of this working really well have been Wishberry’s ongoing campain for Meghdhanush, a Hindi & Gujarati Fusion/Rock band for their project “Folk Rang”.

The platform becomes very dynamic when music is a part of experiential projects like “The Fall” . The Fall is a documentary about the first Indians to climb a frozen water fall in Spiti. This documentary had been scored by The Local Train, bringing a delightful new twist to the folk music of Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himalayas. The success of The Fall can be attributed to various crowdfunding campaigns that took care of the entire production, with a little help from Mountain Dew.

Listening parties & Intimate sessions

Ah, the bane of every independent musician! The purity of music vs commercialism. There is a lot of passionate music created by independent musicians in India. As a result, they are always put in a position in live shows, where they have to choose between communicating their original music and playing to the crowd.

Listening parties and Intimate sessions are becoming a rage in India. Consequently, Indian musicians are able to communicate the art and culture of their musical backgrounds, in dedicated sessions where true music connoisseurs can enjoy the experience. Sofar Sounds has been doing rounds, with their dedication to true music.

The intimate experience has also given birth to dedicated venues like the Muse Room, a musical experience that is curated by Govind Menon, of Thaikkudam bridge fame.

Education & Workshops

The music industry in India is an unorganized monster. Hence, artists are struggling to publish their music, let alone know their rights. There has been an increase in awareness of music business, copyright laws and other details that are slowly inching towards the mainstream. A lot of it has been achieved by better music education & workshops that speak about this issue. Some music schools like the One World College of Music, Swarna Bhoomi Academy of Music  Global Music Institute are already catering to the all-round development of musicians. They are also equipping them with tools to make being a musician a career.

The recent Budx Boiler Room workshop in New Delhi brought the music community closer, with intense panels on business, electronic music, masterclasses, to mention a few. MTV India Music Summit was another such example. Set in Jaipur, the summit saw a lot of discussion about Women in Business, the Death of Music, classical music workshops and more!

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Festivals and shows becoming more inclusive of independent music

Let’s face it. An independent musician in India owes their career life cycle to live shows. The emergence of music festivals in India is phenomenal. Most of all, Festivals have moved on from being only college campus specific are becoming more and more inclusive. It seems like they have started celebrating the emergence of folk and electronic music in the circuit, with great passion.

Some of the festivals that have contributed to the Indie revolution in India are, Sulafest, Mahindra Blues, and of course, Bacardi NH7 Weekender. This phenomenon has also led to  rise and success of multistage festivals in the past five years. As a result, Magnetic Fields, Enchanted Valley Carnival,  Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival has grown by leaps and bounds. Nariyal Paani has seen increasing footfall in its two-year existence, and Taalbelia festival held two successful editions already.

In conclusion, is there more for Indian musicians? Will we see a cycle of consolidation by big horses again? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Author

Gayathri Natarajan is a Musician and a Communications professional from Hyderabad, presently living in Gurgaon. She is adamant on unraveling as much about music as she can, while motorcycling her way through the country.

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