Celebration On Independence Day musicians talk about the liberty afforded them by the Internet to build their fan base and extend the reach of their music

This Independence Day, MetroPlus speaks to musicians about the growing popularity of the internet had the freedom it affords them. in their sphere of life and work. Guitarist Chandresh Kudwa of Axe-tortion fame says: “As an artiste, online releases have helped us put forth our work of art without any interference from a third party especially in terms of creativity. That has eliminated the need for creating a certain style or genre of music which is ‘in’. It has also empowered bands and musicians to release material, be it an album of 11 songs or just a single and have the audience across the world access it which in turn has helped build one’s brand as an artiste. The freedom of releasing songs at will is simply incredible!”

Mahesh Tinaikar of Indus Creed says, “The internet is the best thing to have happened to independent musicians/artistes. To really appreciate the the impact that the internet has had on musicians, one would have to have experienced the pre-internet age when people had to struggle to source new music, bands or even old music. In India, western music releases were very limited and one had to depend on cheap pirated cassettes for one’s favourite artistes. Also, the listener as well as the artiste were at the mercy of the record label who would decide what music was commercially viable and the radio stations would toe the line and feed the audiences what the record companies thought the audience should listen to.”

He adds: “Today, everything has changed. Record labels don’t have as much say in what music is popular. Musicians and bands build up their fan base through private distribution or free download. Audiences can decide what they like and want to buy. Distributing music online means your music can reach the other side of the planet without you leaving your bedroom, instead of going to a record label for marketing and distribution (in the process getting ripped off). Most importantly, the musician decides how he/she wants to market themselves, collaborate with other artistes and basically get their music heard without bending over backwards to please record labels.”

Ask singer/songwriter/producer Raghu Dixit why artistes these days prefer to release music online and he explains: “Releasing an album online is a lot easier – it is cheaper, quicker and you do get to reach a large number of people.” On the flipside, he says: “Unfortunately, fans are not left with something that they can own and treasure. A physical release gives them that and a digital product can’t be compared to an autographed CD from your favourite artiste. When we release our album later this year, we will definitely have an online release, but I’d also like to have something that my fans that can take back with them after a gig.”

Jishnu Dasgupta, bassist of Swarathma asserts: “The internet has set music free. If the pure purpose of music is to be heard, then the internet allows you to listen to anything you want, anywhere, at anytime. It is for us musicians to embrace music's new found freedom and learn to live in the free world.”