Opinion

What Independent music artists think about the Music Mafia debate?

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As the feud broke out between Singing Sensation Sonu Nigam and Bhushan Kuman, Chairman and Managing Director T-series over Mafias in the Music industry, there were strong reactions and arguments from both sides. The internet was flooded with opinions and accusations raising controversy. As the Battle lines are being drawn Loudest interviewed Independent music artists about “Their insights on the ongoing fight. Who is right and Why?” and this is what they think:

Sherrin Varghese:

Sonu Nigam has flashed the real bleak picture of the music industry in front of us. Earlier, songs were made popular based on merit and YouTube was an egalitarian platform but that concept vanished by 2010. Now people have started farming likes. Nowadays even television music channels are airing what they’ve been bullied to display. Indeed in our industry a few people are deciding the musical culture of the country. But what they’re selling is devastating the Indian culture, they’re polluting the mainstream mindset with songs promoting materialism and commodifying women. This is where we need institutional intervention and changes for regulation and surveillance from an information & broadcasting ministry perspective where no one can monopolise air space.
“Music in India is & should be beyond Bollywood”. It’s high time that we acknowledge regional artists as well. Music composers & producers have taken a backseat in launching their own songs because everyone wants a Bollywood hit, as there the onus of marketing, advertising and publicity has to be passed on. Artists have found that to be a convenient necessity thereby writing off everything to slave contracts. Another dilemma is that the ownership of a song gets so diluted in Bollywood, because a lyricist writes it, another composer composes it and somebody else is singing it. Therefore the content & communication of the song stays only true to that visual of the film that it is married to. This method has reduced even the best songs in Bollywood last only a month because they’re designed to serve as a promo for the film and not artistic pieces, unlike Indie music which seems timeless in comparison. I mean there is a reason why all the Indie songs from the 90’s have been unintelligently remade & packed into uninteresting films.
Playback singing is also an outdated concept. Singers should not merely aspire to be Sonu Nigam clones & playback voices, rather they must sing and write/ compose for themselves. Every other aspect of song production is available for hire. It’s high time we give up on Bollywood actors lip-syncing on award shows & instead promote singers with melodies of their own that instil emotions. I request all budding music artists to stop relying on Bollywood for your breakthrough & make a piece of art that is truly yours and sell what’s your own.

Shibani Kashyap:

It was a bold move against Nepotism by Sonu Nigam. There are definitely certain monopolies in the music industry who prefer keeping their own artists on the forefront due to which making breakthroughs for fresh talent gets very difficult. I myself have faced this problem. Today, I am an independent artist, launching my own music and that makes me feel more respectable. I get regular shows and my fans have faith in me. Fighting amongst ourselves is not the solution, we all have to work in solidarity and stand united for the sake of music. Music industry is an integral part of Bollywood. T-series has managed to crack the code of making music viral they must now welcome independent artists and even collaborate with international talent. These fights and the frivolous reaction from fans saddens me. Why can’t we be a one big happy family? It is my appeal to the entire music industry to work in unity and abandon the internal clubs and fights. We have the potential to go global with our music, but it can only happen if we stand together.

MC Raja:

Yes, Groupism does exist in the music industry just like it does in any other industry. which is the harsh reality that we live in. But unlike acting or business, In music if you don’t have the skills to make a great product in terms of production, lyrics or delivery, no matter how big your album launch or your single is you will have to connect with your audience & demographics with your talent. Incase you don’t, you will fade out in no time.
I personally feel cutting it as an actor is easier than cutting it as a music entertainer, hence if you see the ratio of successful 2nd or 3rd generation musicians compared to people who are currently ruling the charts is completely different but yes you will always have a label or an organization that gets more priority over independent artist in terms of advertisement, hoardings, website, radio placements and even streaming platform ad’s and placements.
That is why artists usually sign up with big labels for and end up losing creative control on their product and monetary control over their masters. So it’s a double edged sword. Let’s just say we need a much evolved ecosystem with right people leading it.

(With inputs from Vandana Bansal and Sohani Mittal)

 

 

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