It seems like ages since Pop artists like Alisha Chinai and Sunita Rao inspired a whole generation with their songs in the 1990s. The music video stirred huge interest and many remember the magic that videos like Made In India and Pari Hoon Main created. There were many others that were aired on prime time television, helping the Pop music culture and the music video industry to thrive and feed off each other.
But things changed and took such a nosedive that the Pop music industry got lost in oblivion. Bollywood songs took over the reins from Pop music. Channels stopped airing music videos and slowly, the entire non-film music industry lost its charm and its audience.
However, after a lull of many years, the industry got a chance to expect greener pastures with the entry of digital entities like YouTube, a website that allows people to upload their videos. This opened doors for the almost-dead music video industry, especially for the Pop genre in India .
“Music artists have been using our platform to promote themselves. Given the popularity and the reach of YouTube, it is a good platform for music videos. Since most of the prime time television gives prominence to Bollywood, the web gives a good opportunity to people to reach out to audiences,” says Gaurav Bhaskar, YouTube Spokesperson, Google India.
After television turned its back on Pop artists, they were left with no opportunity to promote their music, but with YouTube’s entry into the scheme of things in 2005, many are now making videos keeping in mind the level of patience and the choices of online audiences.
“Today, musicians and singers are making their videos in a way that is more Internet-friendly. I have also put two videos of my recent album Tanha on YouTube and I kept in mind while shooting the videos that they seem more appealing to the Internet audience. I made I-Videos,” says musician Lesle Lewis, quickly adding, “TV is not really playing our songs. So, if the Internet is the playground then you need to work according to that.”
Social Media expert Moksh Juneja, who runs his own Social Media Marketing Consultancy, Avignyata, echoes a similar stance when he explains that it's important to make music videos more engaging to catch the interest of the audiences online.
“Today more than the music video format, artists need to follow the YouTube video format to attract attention. Music videos online have become more interactive and more engaging and that’s what attracts people,” he says.
“Globally, LMFO and Lady Gaga, among many others, are putting behind the scene footage of their songs in the videos, which garners many them many hits. In India too, people are trying this format, but it needs to be more widespread,” he adds. Bhaskar agrees and maintains that the quality of the music video doesn't matter, instead more interest is on the sound quality and the content.
Money for nothing
Presently, there is a deluge of music videos on YouTube and artists from all over the country upload their videos. However, as far as finances are concerned, chances of a direct monetary gain are very miniscule. “It’s more about advertising to make people know what you are doing.
There’s not much of financial package involved. It’s a platform where you are noticed, and if you get popular, you can cash in on that popularity. There is no direct income. But people don't mind that because at least it’s a good way of getting heard and seen,” avers Lesle.
However, there are few who believe that there is still a long way to go before YouTube and the digital media becomes the saviour and the last word within the Pop music industry. “Television continues to have an upper hand. It’s the truth, and we have to face it. Merely uploading a video isn't enough. You need to advertise it. So that whoever comes on YouTube listens to your music and not someone else’s.
Things will change in the future but there is a long way to go. India is still not an Internet-friendly country. It would be jumping the gun, if I say that the industry is totally revived because of digital uploading of videos,” feels Palash Sen, frontman of the band Euphoria.
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