A sound idea
A new gig series features musicians from across the world, and aims to ensure that even virtual concerts have seamless acoustics
The biggest question facing the live music industry in these barren times is this: how does one ensure uncompromised sound quality for a virtual gig? Let's read the writing on the wall. Concerts, as we knew them to be, are not coming back in the near future. The pandemic has dashed all hopes of any crowded music event taking place at least this year. That's the general feedback we have been getting from promoters in the Indian indie scene who are going back to the drawing board in the meantime. Some of them are wondering, how do we create a bridge where the audience doesn't feel short-changed about the listening experience, and where the artistes also receive the remuneration that they are due? So far, the answer seems to lie in using the Zoom app in conjunction with a virtual high-quality audio streaming platform like Gramrphone. That's what Gaurav Khemka, co-founder of an events firm called On That Note, tells us a day before he forays into the nascent sphere of live online concerts.
He's organising one with current Berklee College of Music students Shilpa Ananth and Aashna this evening. Khemka is based out of Chennai. Ananth is in Dubai as you read this. And Aashna is taking a break from her education, with her family in Gurugram. Yet, they are all coordinating together to present a musical experience that's available to any listener who's got access to the Internet, anywhere in the world. That's the silver lining that music buffs can find during the lockdown. Consumption models are changing in such a way that fans and artistes are getting more interconnected globally when it comes to live events. You might be sitting in Bhopal. But a musician from Bristol will still bring you the same experience as a local there would have.
Sound quality remains a hitch. "We have had multiple sleepless nights figuring out how to get the right acoustics," Khemka tells us. Zoom-cum-Gramrphone seems like a viable model given the present limitations. The tech wizards of this world, however, need to focus their energies on a better alternative, just like the medical experts are working tirelessly towards a vaccine.
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