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Last year’s musical past moves into future with fests, live acts

THE ASIAN AGE. | PARAG KAMANI
Published : Feb 5, 2018, 1:25 am IST
Updated : Feb 5, 2018, 1:26 am IST

Listening sessions will be well supported by this year's 'Record Store Day', scheduled to be held on April 21.

Justin Bieber
 Justin Bieber

Now that most writers have written about the year that has passed us by, it provides me ample opportunity for taking the liberty of sharing how I believe 2018 will pan out to be.

International live acts

While those who follow the so-called classic rock musical history, find the number of artistes touring India in that select genre wanting, it was boom time for followers of EDM as world famous DJs/artistes arrived on Indian shores last year — as examples, DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, and Chainsmokers, to name a few — and that trend will certainly continue into the New Year as the festival business continues to grow. As stand-alone artistes, we will also have more one-off youth artistes performing in the country as it caters to an audience where parents pay! For instance, the likes of Justin Bieber, who performed in May last year, had more misses than hits. Similarly, Ed Sheeran — also performing in Mumbai [for the second time, following his 2016 visit] — managed to draw an audience in excess of 10,000 too!

Festivals

Existing festivals continue their upward trend, generally drawing a full-house, although it often makes me wonder whether organisers actually keep an upward limit to the number of people attending. Nevertheless, two festivals that remain exceptions, which I could easily recommend this year too are the annual Mahindra Blues Festival [MBF], held every February — this time featuring legendary UK-based musician John Mayall — and the theme-based folk and fusion festival, Paddy Fields, which has firmly established itself for its quality artistes and superior production, and is usually held in October. MBF is also a platform for new talent and, this year, a jury consisting of Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa selected the Arinjoy Trio, from Kolkata, as worthy winners of a Blues Talent Hunt.

Of course, there are several State-government promoted festivals occurring today and, similarly, genre-specific festivals too, which goes to show that demonetisation and GST are no longer deterrents to audiences flocking festivals and/or for promoters showing any reluctance to launch new festival properties.

Nooran sisters live at Paddy Fields last yearNooran sisters live at Paddy Fields last year

Listening sessions and vinyl records

As a spill over from the past, it is heartening to note that people actually have found time to pursue listening sessions, which are usually theme-based or artiste-based. I recollect an earlier one held by The Mumbai Assembly and, more recently, I discovered a venue known as Adagio, also based in Mumbai, featuring end-to-end playing of classic albums from the past, and all on vinyl! Sessions this year featured Queen's 'A Night At The Opera' and Dire Straits' self-titled, debut album.

Not only is this movement increasing pan-India, it is also a fabulous manner of connecting with like-minded people, in their '20s, but also helps revive music that one had grown up to but had taken a back seat on account of - what else? - work priorities.  Listening sessions will be well supported by this year's 'Record Store Day', scheduled to be held on April 21.

Copyright Act and its legalities

Following the amendment in the Copyright Act in 2012, there always remained ambiguity and suspicion among stake holders on what went wrong and what was Copyright. After an extended battle involving allegations, copyright issues across multiple sides, and courtroom dramas, the house of composers, the fraternity of lyricists, and the group of music companies finally achieved a settlement of sorts in December last year.

This augured extremely well for the immediate future where, although potential income from streaming remains miniscule, alternative sources of income/revenues/royalties from publishing and from performing rights will hold good stead for the stakeholders in the new year, as users will have even more online access through internet penetration and through competitive pricing.

International film soundtracks

The recent trend for soundtracks of superhero movies containing classic songs from the past may have commenced with the likes of Guardians Of The Galaxy, its sequel, and the more recent Thor: Ragnarok. I personally continue to look at those superhero movies scheduled in 2018 to continue with this trend of incorporating popular songs from the past: Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Venom, and Deadpool 2; all providing an astonishing opportunity for music from the yesteryear connecting with the present generation.

So, with that, one looks at the New Year bringing about a lot of positives and upsides to a music industry that has otherwise had a difficult revenue patch in recent times, and I end this column by wishing monies running into millions for/from the millennials.

The writer has been part of the media and entertainment business for over 23 years. He continues to pursue his hobby and earns an income out of it.

Tags: justin bieber, martin garrix, paddy fields