In the early 90s, pop albums sold like hot cakes. Many independent (indie) artistes became overnight stars. Then a sudden downfall began with the advent of the Internet. Companies began to run into losses and competing with Bollywood and piracy had become impossible. The artistes were stranded, not knowing the way forward.
While some of them like Shaan and Alisha Chinai turned to playback singing, others like Mohit Chauhan and Neeraj Shridhar made a late entry. But most others struggled and slowly drifted out of the limelight.
But now, with digital platforms opening up, many of them are back into the scene but only in cyberspace. Pari Hoon Main-fame singer Suneeta Rao is back with four songs from her last album Waqt (which didn’t even see a proper release back then) on ArtistAloud, a digital form for musicians.
“Because of digital platforms I can take that music to many people. We can keep our copyrights and earn from it too,” says Rao.
Hema Sardesai, who released two of her independent albums in the 80s, including the successful Jhoom, found it difficult to take her compositions to music lovers after that. Now, she has posted her original music online and is also reaping the benefits. She says, “Online you can own the copyright for your own song. Our fans will pay for the music and we get to earn too. Going online is also the first step towards trying to curb piracy.”
Sanjay Maroo, who rose to fame with his song Tu Hi Tu, went on to make some Indo-jazz and rock music (with Indus Creed). Sanjay says, “We had to fight with Bollywood for the last 10 years. What is the point of taking that one song and begging music directors and film-makers to use it?”
Sanjay has been offering his music to listeners on his personal website for quite some time now. He adds, “Through the Internet a song can reach my audience. I have always believed in the power of the internet and its reach.”