Death of Music

Ahaan Pandit
Published on: 27th July 2014
Ever felt the need to go out on a weekend but nothing is happening? Nothing is ever happening in this city, in a city which always had something or other event happening every week, the drought that started long ago has finally settled in.

For a city that always had a pub gig happening, so much that at one point of time there were three gigs happening at the same time, oh my god we used to have a choice. And now? I'll be glad if we see at least one gig happening somewhere. For a city which used to have loads of organisers, organising events day to day is now survived by a small bunch of dedicated people, who still hold such events across Bangalore, even under loss.

For a city that has the maximum number of pubs in Asia, the live music scene is pretty much dead. And it's only the case of this city; it's the same all over the country. As the crowd gets older, or rather I say younger, the spirit is dying, or is it already dead? What seems to be the problem?

Let's take this from the top and one by one.

Music is as diverse as the flora and fauna in the world. In our country, where music is revered by all, there are a lot of genres. Coming to Bangalore, once the metal capital of India, now the crowd here is moving towards another popular genre of music, electronic dance music, or as we know it as EDM. People like to dance; there are no qualms about it. I listen to a lot of EDM when in the mood. Everyone is ready to pay Rs. 2000 - Rs.5000 for a show by an EDM artist. 350 bucks for a show where you can see 6-10 Indian bands play their heart out? 'No bro, no cash!'
death of music,genres
Organisers of CTRL ALT DEL crowd funded a gig, which was well received by the community and had a footfall of 850 people. Mumbai, take a bow, you people are awesome. Every band got paid, so did the organisers. Everyone went back happy. Mumbai will give Bangalore a run for its money for the crown of metal capital. Just getting international bands is not enough; it will dry up one day because even those bands see how the crowd supports local bands.

Delhi is doing great too! Outrage festival headed by Karan Mehta, is an attempt to grow the metal scene in Delhi which was not predominantly metal. Again a lot of people are helping him with promotions and getting the word out. Shillong is one place where music is treated with utmost respect, is getting dying fetus for a show. Always known to be a rock city, it's getting its share of metal finally.

Bangalore has its own set of people trying to improve the life of musicians here. Bangalore also has its own set of problems. Sangeeth from Sound Awake, who has been a prominent face is the music circuit here with his signature multi genre metal fest, Insurrection and rock/funk fest freewheel rolling say that the problem with Bangalore is with its restrictions. You can't host a gig in the open and you can't play loud music at 10. Fans are there; so are the musicians.

But they say you need two hands to clap. Organisers can't expect every band to play for free every time. The goodwill will last only so much and one day you will run out of good bands to play with you. And the organisers who do pay, never pay in time, or they even give false promises. Bands need to understand that it's them who can improve the condition of music. You can't afford to miss out on opportunity just because you are playing a different genre and other bands in the gig are playing a different genre. Stop comparing yourself with other bands, stop having ego clashes, it won't take you far. Why can't four bands get together and hold a gig? What can be more transparent than that? If you think organisers are eating all your cash, hold a gig yourself and see. All of organiser's cash is being eaten by the venue.

The places where all these gigs happen are, normally, pubs down south. Places in North India have open spaces to hold such events; sadly down south it's a different ball game altogether. Venues here are money hungry monsters, which rather hold a party than a gig. They rent out the venue at price that is equivalent to my corporate salary. They get these huge chunks of meat called bouncers to make sure no one goes out to eat, they keep the prices so high inside. If I had to buy a French Fries here, my next decision would be to think what will I eat for the rest of the month. Did I mention that sound systems are separate? The pre-gig costs come up to around Rs. 35,000. Pay each band at least Rs. 5,000 each (which I feel is very less) and the total costs easily cross Rs. 50,000. 50k one gig? Crowd? 100 people. Tickets? 350-450. Loss? Anywhere from 5k-10k. Why would anyone even organise if they had to go under loss? It doesn't even make sense. Yet some people do.
This is a call to everyone involved, please help each other and improve the quality and keep you egos aside. It's a sorry state of music overall in our country. Don't be genre biased; in the end everything is music. Please buy your favourite bands CDs, they make these records just for you, they pay from their own pockets. Don't let an artist's dream die. This is their only source of income and reputation. It's you people out there who make a difference at the end. Support them. Make a difference.
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