Social media is full of beautiful musical tributes unfolding in India and around the world as we fight COVID-19. It is remarkable how musicians of various genres have come together virtually and merged their tracks for an unforgettable experience – all for us. My favorite: A WORLDâ¦ A SONG with friends from Nagaland, India.
Isn’t it time to talk about our musiciansâ¦ who have been at the forefront since the start of the pandemic and who entertain us across continents and transcend borders. They kept us happy and engaged and, more importantly, kept our spirits up.
But has anyone thought about how this industry cannot survive without our support and how it too needs a livelihood and a bailout from the government as a whole? . It’s time to also look at the flip side of how musicians are fighting for their survival and trying to find ways to endure these turbulent times.
The music industry has also been hit hard and I want to bring this story to light, because no one seems to be talking about it when it comes to other businesses and industries – singers, songwriters, lyricists, musicians, artists, engineers, technicians were impacted. Questions come to mind: is it time to do virtual concerts and charge a fee for the entertainment provided? Shouldn’t there be a fixed fee for live music etc. You know, there are no free lunches!
Independent independent musicians not working with the film industry / major labels / established companies need our support. Smaller labels face an existential threat with drastically reduced cash flow. I doubt that this government will step in to bail them out when it has done nothing for daily wage workers. Let’s face it – underdogs are always shunned and ignored.
This pandemic has brought together composers, musicians and singers from all over the world who have made recordings in their makeshift homes / studios, so that we can entertain ourselves in ours. The songs are moving, combining lyrics across multilingual languages ââspreading the message of love, harmony and the world being one big family and focusing on our attitude of never saying die in our collective fight against the coronavirus.
Musicians have participated in online concerts for relief funds even though their own concerts and concerts have been canceled around the world. Favorite venues, bars and hangouts after concerts are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
A well-known and popular guitarist who prefers to remain anonymous says she used that time to finish an unfinished song and has now ventured into her logo and music merchandising to make money. In fact, she takes it a step further and says, “Since going out and playing is currently not an option and there are no more gigs or open mikes, make a post to let people know about the. Exact time you plan to broadcast live, with an option to purchase tickets and put together a small set like you would a normal concert.
In a conversation with Rudy Wallang, the iconic blues guitarist / singer / songwriter and Soulmate member, he said: âYes, as far as Soulmate is concerned, we are planning to start playing live concerts at the place of payment. The problem is that Facebook, where we have a significant number of subscribers, has yet to start allowing monetization – at least not in India. We will have to find other ways to make money. Secondly, we need decent audio and video equipment in order to bring you quality music when we broadcast live. Professional musicians continue to be invited to do live broadcasts to raise funds, but we also need to generate income. We have a lot of real music lovers and fans and I know they will support us when the time comes and I know we can’t stay like this forever.
As Ambar Das, freelance musician, singer, songwriter / music producer: âThe recent COVID-19 outbreak has really changed the whole story. No one really knows what the future holds. Most independent musicians and artists are, in a way, employees on a daily basis. Now, with the deadlocks that followed, all is uncertain. Freelance independent musicians who don’t work with the movie industry, big labels or corporations are the hardest hit. As a result, most artists do a lot of virtual concerts which are mostly unpaid. A few cool likes and comments are good for the soul but it doesn’t pay the bills. For starters, most artists don’t even get their music royalties. Live shows and studio sessions are a major source of income, but with that the future looks bleak. One solution can be OTT services which are artist friendly unlike our big labels which only steal artists. Ideally, the government should help, but that also seems unlikely under the circumstances. At the same time, we are very optimistic and believe that there will be a solution “
Shankuraj Konwar, singer, songwriter / music producer in Mumbai, says: âThe sudden turn of events is unprecedented for the music industry. Musicians like us just weren’t ready for days like these. There is a virtual rat race on which much fear and insecurity is about the uncertain future. My personal point of view is that we need to relax a bit, do some research and discuss among ourselves how to broadcast live and have concerts online.
Nilanajan Samadder, a Mumbai-based freelance musician / songwriter / songwriter / guitarist says: âThe current scene is scary – we haven’t made any money in recent months but after paying all the bills our savings are slowly running out. . It goes without saying that things will not be normal for some time. 70% of my income comes from live concerts. I pay taxes for each of my concerts and contribute to the nation’s income. But when I need the nation / government to take care of it, all I hear is âatmanirbhar bharatâ with a bogus economic package that is of no use to any of us. He rightly mentions that it is always the poets and musicians who are the first to react and to stand in solidarity with their people. But today, no one supports musicians.
Rudy Wallang sums it up beautifully by saying: âIf artists and musicians think they need ‘likes’ more than money, they are wrong. We have to put an end to this. One thing about the attitude of the government – they all feel they are doing all of us a favorâ¦ be it musicians or artists or daily bets or whatever the workforce in the country. They forget that they are where they are because of us and that it is not the other way around. Her positive smile with an “We will overcome” sets the pace.
Priyanku Bordoloi, music producer, guitarist, owner of Brahma Studio, based in Guwahati, Assam insists that the current situation requires musicians to focus on digital media with nominal fees for performances. “This is also the time for musicians to unite, to help each other and to decide their fate, not the record companies.”
One of the biggest influences in independent music, singer-songwriter Uday Benegal, who is best known as the singer and founder of leading Indian rock band Indus Creed (formerly Rock Machine) has a very positive outlook on this situation. âAs professionals in the music industry, we have been through various ‘Boom or Bust’ scenarios during our careers. Of course, never around a pandemic and this is therefore a first. But this is a temporary situation and we will all evolve from it. Times are tough and trying, but humans have this remarkable ability to adapt and so we will overcome it. There is a brave new world waiting to challenge us in every way. Live streaming music through various platforms like YouTube / Instagram, where you charge audiences for listening, is already taking off. Of course, you have to be careful with quality control and sound effects. Online gigs have already started with systems and controls in place, and the way forward would be through that means. “
And one day soon: Live concerts will be back! Until then, let’s support our favorite musicians and bands.