“All songs recorded in a makeshift studio in Kolkata.” This replica of the back cover of the band’s recent album Whale in the Pond, Dui, sums up the winds of change that have been blowing steadily on the Kolkata music scene in recent times.
In the past, musicians had to rely on the work offered by the Tollygunge film industry to reach as many people as possible and earn a living. With the arrival of Kabir Suman, Nachiketa, Anjan Dutta and the rest of the jibonmukhi generation in the 90s, an alternative to the Tollywood model was implemented where the purchase of physical albums by an audience of listeners served as a source of income for the musicians.
However, with the advent of streaming sites, how viable is this model today?
Tell me about a musician who got rich from digital sales. Apple is doing pretty well, right?
“We don’t depend on streaming for our income. It’s always the sale of physical goods that helps us support ourselves, ”says Sourjyo Sinha of Whale in the Pond.
Dui is the band’s second offering containing two songs with lyrics by Sylheti immersed in the lush acoustic environment with which the band has become associated.
Unlike the fresh, dreamlike soundscape, the lyrics refer to governments selling off public sector utilities, social channels that bind people together and Kanai, an underachieving child whose very birth brought bad luck to his ambitious parents.
Whale in the Pond (feat. Dolinman) – Dofon
Sinha considers the purchase of the band’s t-shirts, posters or booklets as a “gesture of goodwill” from the grateful listeners to the band, as their music can be found quite easily on free streaming platforms. Sinha says it’s easier for bands to generate income from memories created around music than from recorded music itself.
Anik Bhattacharya of the newly released Diamond Harbor-based acoustic and instrumental trio Dot Three Hiraeth, laments that he doesn’t have much hope of generating revenue from streaming platforms, even though the release of their title song has garnered applause from critics. Dot Three’s experimental and flamenco-infused ambient music made their sound recognizable in a bustling city of musicians all trying to go ‘viral’.
Hiraeth, by Dot Three
Asked about the band’s motivation to publish their music online, Bhattacharya said, “Music is the only thing that really resembles us. In addition, it is also necessary to document our musical journey.
Bhattacharya and Sinha both state that based on their digital releases, they have received offers for shows where they present their original material to new audiences. While Bhattacharya pursues a part-time position as a photographer, one of his group mates is involved in running a grocery store and the third member teaches.
Last year, Dot Three was slated to tour multiple cities after their successful Northeast tour to promote their upcoming album, Fireflies, but the pandemic devastated those plans.
Rivu aka Subhagata Singha, a solo artist working across genres, also saw the lockdown come into effect days after its release. The incident, the second installment of the nonlinear conceptual album arc that began with The incredible journey of light.
Experimental, synthwave, guitar, cyberpunk, these are a few words Rivu uses to describe his work.
Rivu – Sky Fi [FNO S03E10]
Tracks of The incident contain excerpts from Donald Trump’s speeches, Azadi chants of protest rallies and even seconds of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s voice.
Speaking of streaming services, Rivu admits that his bread and butter comes from the advertising and theater industries, and as a result, he has no financial expectations from his solo work as an artist.
Newly released singer-songwriter-guitarist Surjo Yes of course why not ? which was produced entirely in a bedroom studio, has a different take.
Our song – Surjo
Surjo, originally from Jamshedpur, has made his home in Kolkata and insists on using only his name, explains, “You see, we have a romantic notion of the past. All of the previous successful groups have had active public relations campaigns behind them. Things are not that different now.
It’s clear that streaming services don’t exist to generate money for artists, but they do provide a platform.
The contemporary model of bedroom and streaming production has certainly opened up creative avenues, as evidenced by the work of Whale in the Pond, Dot Three, Rivu, Surjo – and many musicians working their art from the confines of their homes. and beaming it. in the world.
It’s up to listeners to step up if they like what they hear.