How can Indian Classical Music Artists stay relevant in the post covid world? -Ratish Tagde

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I am also a violinist from the Hindustani Classical Music segment but not a full-time musician. There are 3 types of #musicians, one, those who are part-time musicians like me whose livelihood is not dependent on music concerts, second, those who are teachers/gurus but also performing musicians and third, full-time performing musicians. 

The first type of musician may not be largely affected by the ongoing pandemic crisis because these musicians will just have to increase their focus percentage more on non-music related activities. The second type of musicians who are Teachers/Gurus also, irrespective of their age group, they may have to compulsorily/unwillingly learn the new techniques of teachings on Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx, Blue jeans, etc. Since the number of concerts will reduce for a considerable period of at least 2 years, they will have to adjust their time schedule and focus more on online teaching. 

The main problem will arise for the third type of musicians. These musicians have only performed all through their lives. They neither know any other profession nor have taught music at any point in time during their life.

This is the reality check which musicians have to understand and embrace. Another challenge would be the adaptability to technological innovations. The reason for this is that all senior performing musicians (50 plus age) have only and only been learning music from their Gurus and never paid attention to the newer world of technology. Therefore, considering all above points, musicians have no option but to observe, learn, and implement the new Avtar of the music industry. 

In their mind, they have to replace the physical concert venues with online venues. For example, Facebook LIVE will be the new Nehru Centre types and the organizers will be replaced with FB music groups. Musicians need to know all the questions they have to ask to these new age organizers. It is like starting afresh for all age groups of musicians.

As a matter of fact, across the world, niche music genres have been struggling for a long time with the problem of absence of sustainable revenue models which will now further get deeper in the post CORONA era. Another problem is, if, due to CORONA consequences the future is fragile and there is no certainty of commercial future in niche music, why would the young generation come forward to learn this noble profession?

 These are all questions that every musician will have to introspect and search for answers. In fact, the entire music ecosystem will need a relook. Remember, CORONA will change the music consumption pattern, the music learning technique will change, the sound-related techniques will undergo massive changes, visual music will gain momentum, bandwidth awareness will increase, social media usage will increase, revenue models will change and many more fundamental changes will happen.

What is the solution to all these problems? It is very simple, this fight cannot be fought individually, therefore, ONLY and ONLY united efforts will pay off. There needs to be a strategic approach. All stakeholders have to come together and do brainstorming (online) and find a via-media wherein everyone is satisfied and economically progressed. The most important aspect of all the discussion as mentioned above is all musicians have to be quick in decision making and adapting themselves to the new age music environment. The faster they do this, the quicker the results will be. This means musicians who are already exposed to the new environment of music, will progress faster than the artists who are rigid or have not paid attention to this aspect at all throughout their life.

Another important aspect is, consumption of niche music is a thrust for an audience and this thrust is fed by YouTube free of cost. In this case why an audience should pay for your content. He/she is getting all that they require on YouTube. Therefore the content strategy needs to be revisited. All musicians have to change their mindset and recheck what all content is available on social media, and if need be, withdraw a few content pieces.

The new environment will bring enormous opportunities subject to whether we understand and learn the nuances. I will write about discipline for online LIVE concerts in my next article.

(About Global Community of Indian Music (GCIM): GCIM is digitally connecting all stakeholders of non-film music industry like artists, audiences, organizers, students, education institutes, instrument makers, streaming companies on one platform. )


The Author is: 

Chairman & Founder-Perfect Octave & Insync 

President-Musicians Federation of India (MFI) 

President – Global Community of Indian Music (GCIM)

Company Secretary and Business Management Consultant `


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