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Tehelka hears us out

April 25, 2010

In its May 1 issue, Tehelka has published my counter-point on the Indian rock scene – you can read it here.


As an insider I vouch for this: Indian bands are making prolific music (of variable quality) but they aren’t making money. But even the best music, by indie bands across the world, is produced under considerable financial strain and doesn’t fetch returns from online sales. So it’s important for bands to tour to break even.

There’s the rub. Brand managers and flaky promoters are tucking in while bands go penniless. Great Indian Rock and IRock, India’s oldest rock festivals, launch amateur bands every year. Enterprises like Mumbai’s Only Much Louder, the artist management concern behind Counter Culture Records, have been living off bands for eight years — nothing indie about their revenue model. They sign desperate bands to draw crowds for restaurateurs and event organisers. The hosts profit on food and beverage sales. In 15 years the paltry concert fee has hardly improved. Serious artists prefer to remain independent and unsigned. Sadly, bands, by undercutting each other, have only fattened the sharks.

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