DJs resort to virtual busking to stay afloat amid Covid curbs

Published on Jan 11, 2022 03:42 AM IST
In a bid to earn livelihood, DJs in Delhi-NCR are pleading fans to donate them money during their live concerts on social media. Many say it’s difficult to stay due to cancellation of wedding functions and other events in the city.
DJs say they are left with hardly any job opportunities and hence requesting listeners, in online acts, to donate money.
DJs say they are left with hardly any job opportunities and hence requesting listeners, in online acts, to donate money.
ByAnjuri Nayar Singh, New Delhi

Public gatherings, parties or big fat weddings are a big no-no at the moment due to the rising Covid cases in the city. And the DJs are struggling with the question of how to survive in such challenging times. Be it performing at corporate parties or intimate get togethers, there’s hardly any scope for them, and that’s what has now compelled them to resort to virtual busking. Many from the industry, in order to earn their livelihood, are asking for monetary donations while playing at live concerts on social media.

DJs resort to virtual busking to stay afloat amid Covid curbs
DJs resort to virtual busking to stay afloat amid Covid curbs

“We cannot force people to pay in an Insta live, so we put up our number out there on the screen using a placard or something, and request them to donate money via mobile apps. Some of them request for specific songs and we use that as an opportunity to emphasise and convince them on how much it’s important that they pay us in such times. We clearly inform them that the DJ is playing from home and the money will go directly to his/her account,” says DJ Varrun, who lives in Kalkaji.

Asking for money like this, isn’t as fun for these creative souls as it might appear. “We are really struggling for financial help at this point when we haven’t earned for a good part of last year, and therefore have to put out our numbers to ask for donations upfront. People like to listen to music, and many join the live sessions, but don’t really end up paying any substantial amount. Most viewers come to hear us play for free. Bas views mil jate hain, promotion ho jata hai,” rues DJ Himansh, who is based in Uttam Nagar.

Things were just beginning to stabilise for DJs, just when the cases started rising again. “When the number of cases had subsided in the city, clubs weren’t happy paying us as much the pre-pandemic times. After struggling to get some work for a very long time, I finally took up a job at a club and majorly reduced my salary expectations. Abhi third salary aayi hi thi, ki yeh sab ho gaya hai. Ab thode dino mein club wale bolenge ki ghar par hi baitho toh mai khana kahan se khaunga,” worries DJ Himansh, adding, “Virtual concerts for corporate clients and private parties are not proving to be very helpful. If we get to play physically, we earn 15-20 thousand at one event. But in a virtual concert, it’s not even 5,000! Some people also say ki aap khali baithe ho toh apna time use kar lo... I had so many bookings for parties in January and February, ab sab cancel ho gayi hain.”

And Kirti Nagar-based Dishant Kohli, who goes by the name DJ Kamazaki, adds, “Third wave almost shuru hi ho gayi hai, and I didn’t know what to do, to earn at least a basic amount with my skills. Even to conduct virtual gigs, one needs a fast internet connection and that costs money! So when I realised I’m unable to break even, I started promoting my number on live sessions. But zyada kuchh nai milta, iss bari toh himmat hi toot gayi hai.”

Author tweets @anjuri

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