The era of the 1990s may have seen an upsurge in private albums by singers like Baba Sehgal, Anamika, Shaan and Jasbir Jassi, but their charm and popularity seems to have faded over the years. A few artists blame the shifting interests of people for this change, while others say music companies are hesitant to invest in such albums.
“First, we need to address the question whether the audience wants such music or not. The singers do come up with albums, but there are no sales,” says music composer-lyricist Prasoon Joshi. “I think some of the fault is from the music fraternity’s side also, as artists are not coming up with Indipop albums. Singers are readily getting film songs and they are probably satisfied with that,” he adds. Be it Sonu Nigam, Shaan or Sunidhi Chauhan, most well-known singers in Bollywood started their careers by singing in private albums and their songs became a rage.
One such singer, Daler Mehndi, who rose to instant fame with his debut album Bolo Ta Ra Ra Ra in 1995, says, “One can easily make a film in the budget of R3 crore and they do fairly well at the box-office. Surprisingly, composing a music album also costs the same. But Indian music companies are not ready to invest so much money in an album. They don’t want to do anything except Bollywood music nowadays.”
Most music channels and radio stations also give preference to film songs now. According to Mehendi, “Music channels used to promote non-film music vigorously. But they are increasingly playing Bollywood music now. They tell us, ‘If you want us to play your music, you have to give us money’. The same is the case with radio stations. They also ask for money and, as a result, pop artists started taking a backseat,” he says.
“Music has changed with time. There was an era when private albums were very popular. I think a lot depends on how you market your music...so that people stay hooked to it,” says singer-composer Anu Malik.