Recording Industry: Then and Now

Changing Recording Industry in India

Think of your jam and let’s sing it together on one, two, three and go. Nice. We all love to sing and dance, but have you ever wondered if we didn’t have these songs then what? Do you know Indian music industry was established on 28th Feb 1936, it is also the second oldest music industry in the world! It’s hard to imagine this world without music just as hard it is to imagine a night of a wedding ceremony without dancing to the tunes of a peppy song or sitting with a book without soft instrumental playing in the background.

For a little background on the Music Industry, It is different from the Recording Industry. The music Industry is the broadcasting world which includes smaller industries which take care of different departments like Recording, Publishing, Merchandise, Media advertisement, Music production, etc.
Recording Industry is just a small part of the complete Music Industry. In simple words, if the Music Industry is Asia then Recording Industry is India (size-wise). This industry is completely set on the making and selling of the records, that is why the involved companies are known as record labels. The records and recordings came into existence since the 1890s that’s when phonographs started to become popular ever since their invention in 1877. Slowly the industry grew and so did the platform for the artists.

Indian Music industry the second oldest music industry in the world!

As Enya sings “Who can say where the road goes, Where the day flows, the only time”; with time technology started to revolutionize. This revolution swayed the whole industry in a blow to a whole new level of amazing, it brought great advantage to singers to release their private albums and this gave us gems of all time like Queen, Elvis, etc. “We will we will rock you ”. Anyway, all this came into being all thanks to the recording industries set up all across the world. A recording company is responsible for finding artists, making music to delivering it to you in a physical form of CD tapes, etc. for you to enjoy your perfect moment.

This was such a high time of the industry. Every artist needed recording studios and this supply and demand theory was so subtle and apt to this industry as well. They didn’t let go of any chance to make use of it. The industry was nowhere coming down any soon. Slowly the times changed and more artists came into play. Now it was not only music that has been recorded. Every age group was taken into consideration from children rhymes to fairy tales to movies to jokes, Mata ka jagrata etc. was being recorded. This whole new record trends were making record labels Scrooge Mcduck of that time. Every artist who wanted a hit needed a big record label. Soon more companies started to mark their attendance to the race of the trend of being record labels. Companies like HMV were one of the first record labels initially, now brands like T-Series, Sony, etc entered the competition. It was a good thing for the budding artists, there were more options to select from, but that also meant there were more people in the league that one had to surpass to become ‘The One ’.

As much this outfoxing was bringing artist the stress it was only bringing more fame to the record labels and these labels wanted to produce as many popular artists and trends under their own name. Irrespective of how cutthroat this maybe but, it brought us artists like Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Enrique, Beyonce and many more. So for us it didn’t seem that bad. Am I right? Or Am I right?

Change is inevitable. The technological revolution happening around the world also touched the recording industry. Remember those times when we would buy a cassette on the entire album for that one song we loved. Or wait for a special edition of CD to release with all our favorite dance numbers. Well! That time was coming to an end. When all the innovation in technology and equipment was making everything easier we were also introduced to sharing free music on the internet. While this seemed like a great idea to the world it was a major setback for the artists and the recording industry.

Since music was available to the fans at the convenience of their fingertips the trend of CDs and DVDs was now sulking in the faded corner probably singing “Alone” by Celine Dion, resulting in a grave loss for the record labels.

Artists were mostly dependent on the recording companies as they would look after the finance, publishing records, advertising and guiding their career and the sales of the physical form of music would help them recover their investment. Now when their investment wasn’t recovered they started cutting on costs by choosing lesser artists,
what started as a major blow to the artists turned out to be a boon as they started focusing on alternative strategies.

It wasn’t long before artists turned the tables in their favor. Well as an artist I can assure our main concern is reaching out to the audience and the Internet was one such platform that helped artists to interact directly with their fans. This was the onset of the era of independent artists. Unlike before these artists are not limited to the bonds of a record label instead their art is their own.

A lot of new singers, musicians, DJs, etc started publishing their work on sites such as YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. and they easily acquired a fan following.
In this age of digitization, everything comes cheap and easy and the artists have started setting up home studios, marketing through social media, and most of all being in close contact with their fans

Piracy is a primary concern of the music industry also seems to be getting solved as the government came to aid the artists. Since we are on the subject, the mobile phone had made the world a smaller place, the online music streaming, also music apps such as Wynk, Gaana, Pandora, etc which provide a subscription for music on a cheap price and enable the users to listen, download and create their own playlist on an affordable price. Well that settles our problems on both sides, artists get their deserved payments and we enjoy our music without burning a hole in our pockets.

While the industry is looking for a way to recovery, the artists have found a way out. I guess the artists believed in the song “Don’t you worry child, see, heaven’s gotta plan for you”.

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