some thoughts on the indian independent music industry

I’m a month into my research now and it is, knock on wood, going really amazingly well.  This is wholly due to some really lovely and generous people who have given me their time, thoughts, connections, and long interviews over coffee.  Thanks especially to Gaurav, Aditya, Amrit, Ashish…and new acquaintances and friends who have been steering me in productive directions.  Because of them this research is taking shape in ways I couldn’t have previously anticipated but for which I am seriously grateful.

I came in with a general picture of how the rock music scene was operating here and slowly that picture is getting refined and filled in.  One of the things that is most notable to me now about the Indian rock music scene is the strength of independent industry that supports it.  This industry includes smaller-scale promoters and largely independent venue owners, digital media mavens with their blogs, online radio stations and online music magazines: collectively they have  a force  and a momentum that seems to me to be keeping rock on the up and up despite its lack of support from the mainstream Indian music industry.

There is a very interesting post from Arjun, founder of the website Indiecision, about the Nokia Music Connects conference, which collected the mainstream music industry bigwigs to discuss rock in India.  At a certain point, reading about the proceedings, one begins to wonder – does Indian rock need the input of the mainstream industry?  There’s going to be a convention in Bombay in a couple of weeks – called Unconvention, it collects independent music workers to discuss and debate pathways forward for independent musicians.  I’ll be there and will post about it.

Although I’m talking about an “independent” and a “mainstream” music industry, these are simplified ways of discussing groups that are not necessarily opposed  but are interestingly entangled networks of people involved in different ways with making popular music in India. I have a tendency to take an anti-corporate stance by reflex, but the picture here is more complicated than that…

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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