I am very often asked, “So, what are you listening to?”, and I wonder to myself, ‘What do I say?’ Because, I do not know if the person asking me would have heard of the artiste or not. So when I say whatever it is I’m listening to, the response is either, “Oh, who are they?” or “Are they any good?’ or “Oh! I didn’t know they had a new album out.” And it’s funny to see that in this day and age of information overload, the lack of awareness and interest in international music.
Most music labels are struggling to keep their artistes on recall, and by the time they manage to do that for one artiste,they have to start all over again for another artiste. Either that or another label kicks in with another artiste of their own to promote, and it all goes for a toss.
What then happens is that the fans of a particular genre or artiste will already have gotten their information much earlier via the web, thereby defeating all purpose of effort made by the label. The same goes for music channels as well. In any case there are no ‘music’ channels anymore, its just promotional rotation or reality shows, and that’s just the non-English ones.
India is a country of more than a billion people, 30% of whom speak and understand English. Lets say that even if per cent of a billion listens to international music, we have a number of 10 million! Ten million people who listen to international music and we have only one television channel that (kind of) plays international music? Only one radio channel that plays international music? In the country! Shocking!
Although this might seem like I’m ranting, I am merely concerned about a genre of music that needs not be so relegated to a status of neglect, especially when all modern forms of communication today, be it advertising, film promotion, song picturisation, styling, attitudes have consistently been ‘inspired’ and ‘referenced’ by international music, over the past 15 years. And it still is.
Hours are spent by various ‘creatives’ in various fields, downloading international music videos from Youtube and various other sources for lighting techniques, camerawork patterns, wardrobe styling etc. so why is international music in such a state?
Is ‘desification’ good?
Is the ‘copy it and Indianise it for maximum commerciality’ adage so viable that it obilitrates all visibility of qualitative endeavors, and have we become so led by the collar by the
corporates, that we have put on blinders and refuse to make any extra effort to sustain international attitudes and music as it used to be when it shaped us?
I must also say here, I say all of the above, with all due respect to Hindi film music and its peripherals, and I have an equal love for it as well. India is in my heart and the world is in my mind.
And I just feel that we Indians are now global citizens, and we definitely owe it to ourselves to balance our Indian hearts and International minds, so that we may enjoy the best of both worlds… if I may say so.