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Strumming on quarantine, one string at a time: Raghav Sachar

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Well, someone has rightly said, ‘we live in a VUCA world, a Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.’ While this stands true to all of us now, the most relevant of all to this very kind of world is the entertainment and music industry. Being one of the most sought after yet the most volatile requirement of humankind; the entertainment industry has always been on a journey of highs and lows ever since its inception. While the growth of OTT platforms, On-demand TV has changed the game for movies and shows saving their dignity even during the times of the crisis, the music industry always ends up being the last in the race when it comes to entertainment to the general audience especially “at home”. 

Over the years, the Indian music industry has witnessed a series of changes right from the disco and pop era to sufiyana rhythms and now to even the latest trend of remixing. While each of these changes have shaped the Indian music industry for the better, according to me, the remix era of today is however something that has become the quick fix for success. With music labels and producers focusing more on profit making and easy money, taking an old popular song and recreating a remix of it becomes an easier and quicker task today with the song already having a recall among the audience. While, songs like Tamma Tamma, Kala Chasma etc have received great successes with their remixes, they have also brought down musicians’ creativity and originality leading to a herd mentality across the industry with no new masterpiece or original music. 

The pandemic outbreak and the lockdown is yet again a similar change, bringing the music industry both together through the digital world and yet apart through the physical world. In India or for that matter across the globe, a musician’s livelihood depends greatly on concerts and music shows. More than 50 percent of the music industry makes its earnings through concerts and therefore, in the time of lockdown, social distance and disease fear, imagining a concert seems to be a far dream even in 2021. While studio music and recordings could still catch up post the quarantine period, it is an undenying fact that the amount of time, efforts and money involved in recordings will always be far higher than what it could have been for a concert or a show. Even then, it may not be the A-listers who may get affected the most because there are multiple sources of income for them like endorsements and brand integrations which pay handsome sums of money, but rather the small time musicians and mid-level artists like me who’s 90% income depends on live concerts. We would have to face the brunt of the hit by being on its edge.  

However, as musicians and artists, we have all learned to face these ups and downs right from the time we set our foot in the industry. Yes, the first blow might be the hardest, but I guess, as artists we all learn to fall multiple times only to rise up better than ever. Pay cuts, less projects and shows might definitely be in order post the lockdown but I am sure it is all going to end well for all of us soon. 

Driven by the passion of music and in an attempt to keeping myself sane during the quarantine, I, as an artist have made sure to give the maximum time to my family and my music. I moved into my farmhouse in Igatpuri with my wife and kids right before the lockdown and have been settled here since then. Keeping myself busy and endeavoring to keep my fans entertained, I have also fashioned my own home music studio where I record, mix, and engineer and even shoot my music and share it with everyone. My latest tribute rendition of the theme music of popular game Super Mario Brothers, although planned for a big release in March; also became my way of entertaining the audience digitally during the lockdown. Rather than waiting for the lockdown to end, we rather decided to release the song right away as a means to keep people entertained and happy in their homes. 

Well, yes, it is going to be a tough year for all of us, but remember, we got to keep strumming until we master this musical called life. 

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