Independent Artists Rock To Indie Labels


When most labels denied him the opportunity to cut an album, Vivek Rajagopalan, an electro-fusion musician, decided to go it alone. After five years of struggle and some help from his friends, he finally managed to produce his own album and distribute it through an independent record label.

Rajagopalan defines his music as one which has progressive Indian sounds. But for him, surviving in this industry is still a struggle.

There is no one who offers ‘big breaks’ to such musicians in India. Largely dependent on online music stores like iTunes and Amazon, they just concentrate on marketing themselves and playing at as many dos (events) as they can. “I am not even bothered about the Indian markets. There are more than 80 portals available where I can sell my music, and get a decent price for it. No middlemen and no labels,” said Rajagopalan, currently managed and promoted by inroom records, an experimental independent record label based in Mumbai. This is the only way independent artists can survive today, say people in the music industry.

In a country where Hindi music accounts for 65% of national sales, independent musicians often find it difficult to find the creative support to kick-start their career. Well-recognized labels tend to stay away from “niche music” which includes genres such as jazz, classical and rock, and consider them risky for a market where apart from ‘Bollywood’ music, very few albums fly off the shelves. This is where small, independent record labels come into the picture. Such independent labels or ‘indies’—as the music industry calls it— have come to the aid of artists in such genres, providing them with support in areas such as publicity and distribution. Though there are no estimates available, indie music in India is now gaining ground.

However, the genres most independent labels cater to collectively account for less than 1% of the total physical sales in India, with 65% still accounted for by contemporary and old Hindi film soundtracks, followed by devotional (23%) and regional music (11%). “Bollywood and devotional albums are very successful in the market. Bollywood music includes all kinds of music from across the world and is a benchmark for most single artists. We, in Times Music, are trying to revive band music by launching a ‘band hunt’ in India,” said Adarsh Gupta, COO, Times Music.

Source : TimesofIndia

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