Ananya Birla quits music, says English music not valued in India, artistes react - Hindustan Times
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Ananya Birla quits music, says English music not valued in India, artistes react

May 09, 2024 09:07 AM IST

As Ananya Birla says, 'I wish one day we value English music made by our own people', musicians who're associated with English music share their view.

Singer-entrepreneur Ananya Birla took to social media on Monday to reveal that she’s quitting music to focus on her business. Birla also said, “I hope one day we can appreciate English music made by our own people”, which got us wondering if others feel the same. (Also Read – Ananya Birla quits music: ‘Time to focus all my energies into business world')

Armaan Malik; (right) Ananya Birla
Armaan Malik; (right) Ananya Birla

Armaan Malik

I am truly saddened by Ananya's decision to step away from music to focus on her business ventures, but I understand the complexities that come with balancing multiple passions. I wholeheartedly wish her success in the path she chooses.

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Armaan Malik
Armaan Malik

I can relate to her sentiment to some extent; despite the rich pool of talent we have, English music often does not receive the same level of recognition as local language music, which is predominantly driven by the film industry. As someone who also makes music in English, I've experienced firsthand the challenges in gaining the same visibility and support as for my other projects. It's my hope that I can contribute to changing that narrative and building more opportunities for artists that create English music in India.

Vineet Singh Hukmani

Vineet Singh Hukmani
Vineet Singh Hukmani

I have found the needed traction for my English songs globally as is evident from my world record of nine No. 1s in the European Radio Top 100 and being the first Asian/Indian to top the prestigious DRT charts in the US twice. I feel one needs to create songs with high repeat listening value and that too once every 45 days for that region/genre community to resonate and those songs need to play often. A language and sound must come to you naturally. I am equally comfortable in English and Hindi. However, the Hindi market is overcrowded due to Bollywood and there’s no real discovery mechanism for independent music. So, it takes patience and time to find your niche.

Rohan Solomon

Rohan Solomon
Rohan Solomon

I share that same train of thought (Ananya’s). I really wish that English music sung by Indian artistes was valued more in our country. Music is music. It should know no bounds or limitations. Some people delve into Hindi to reach a wider audience, but some may genuinely feel comfortable singing in multiple languages. As an English language indie artiste, I understood the importance of securing an alternate financially viable option a while ago, so I can continue to make the music I truly want. As an indie artiste, you have to both be pragmatic towards the realities and yet be truly honest to your art.

Subir Malik (Parikrama)

Subir Malik (Parikrama)
Subir Malik (Parikrama)

Ananya has a huge business empire to work on and the returns that your get form English music in India compared to what she would make with her business is unthinkable. But it is a personal decision. We have been doing English indie music for 33 years now and we know that it is a niche market. It is not going to every Indian or every state, which have their own regional languages, too. We are catering to a small audience and we know that. Yet, we continue to do this (English music). When musicians want to reach out to a larger audience, they move to Bollywood or Hindi music.

Varun Rajput (Antariksh)

Varun Rajput (Antariksh)
Varun Rajput (Antariksh)

90% of the musicians I’ve known in the last 15 years who would write and release in English have shifted to putting out Hindi music. We, of course, have incredibly talented artistes in India writing in all languages. However, those writing in English have a particularly hard time reaching out to the right target audience and, in turn, getting the recognition they deserve. There are three major pain points. Firstly, the overall pie (audience size) for English music in India is not as big or even comparable to the audience size for Hindi music. Secondly, all the big labels focus largely on Hindi (commercial) music. Thirdly, the DSPs also have been completely unsuccessful in developing any sort of significant discovery pathways for Indian artistes writing in English. I feel unless people with the marketing muscle and money (mostly labels) invest in developing English artists, not much is going to change in the near future and we’ll continue having below-average songs and crass artists topping the charts. Of course, every now and then there are one or two revolutionary artists who persevere, push the boundaries and beat the system and that’s what gives hope to all musicians to continue treading down the path we believe in.

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