Playing to the rhythm: What’s the future of Live music post Covid-19?
The Covid-19 crisis has had a big impact on the performing industry. With fresh lockdowns being imposed in many Indian states, and the number of cases rising everyday, musicians enthralling an arena full of audience, still remains a distant dream. For musicians, who depend more on live gigs than sustaining themselves through just pre recorded tracks, the last four months have been extremely tough, and the near future has looks equally testing.
Delhi based band, Euphoria’s frontman, Palash Sen, has filed an online petition on Change.org, asking the Government to announce, immediate relief packages for musicians as well. “I have been as insecure as I was 20 years ago, when I was entering the scene. For someone like me, or our band, who perform like 50-60 shows in a year, the future is not great, because we don’t know when things will open up. The last four months have been tough as well,” he says adding that this is the right time for “ a music industry” to set up, which will “take care” of musicians in future, in times of crisis.
Mumbai based electronic music outfit, Lost Stories, is slightly more optimistic than Sen. “We just have to adapt to a better setting and evolve to be able to experience and enjoy live shows/concerts like before. The process is tedious, to be able to find alternatives overnight is also difficult but the artistes and the industry are reworking the structure and evolving with options at hand,” the duo of Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi tell us.
Rahul Ram, bassist for another Delhi based band Indian Ocean, admits that musicians “ who are essentially live performs” have been hit hard by the crisis. “Right now, there’s no way to do a live gig, except virtually. Even then, you need a really, high speed internet connection, which enables you to play music live, virtually and seamlessly. And that will be only be possible for artists who can afford it. For smaller artists and bands its going to be extremely difficult,” he says.
But,he says the band, who has been performing for 30 years, has adapted, and are excited about doing virtual gigs, which he thinks are “here to stay” even after the crisis is over. Revealing that the band is looking to perform two virtual concerts by the end of this month, Rahul says, “ They are going to be ticketed concerts, both of them. I think its a nice way, to be able to still perform.”
Electronica musician Ritviz, too feels that artistes will have to find a way to “ blend in”, and adjust to doing things over the Internet for a while. “Digital concerts will definitely be a part of our journey. I feel we need to embrace digital revolution here. Digitalisation will always keep evolving. We just have to find a way to blend in,” he says.
Virtual concerts are slowly becoming popular and are looking like becoming one of the avenues for musicians to sustain themselves financially. But, Indus Creed’s guitarist, Mahesh Tinaikar doesn’t feel that the concept will work in the long run. “I don’t think its going to be a substitute for live shows.I don’t see how the technology is going to support, people sitting in different places, and playing live together.Yes, you can pre-record it and play it, all together, but live I am not sure. I don’t see live gigs coming back, for the next ten months at least and that is going to really affect a lot of musicians. It already has,” he adds.
Electronica artist Gurbax, who has “two digital festivals coming up in the next few weeks”, agrees with Tinaikar and says, “At the moment, digital shows and festivals still seem to be the new norm. [But], Anyone who thinks that live shows will become totally obsolete is being overly dramatic and short-sighted.”
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