Badshah's latest release 'Paagal' on Sony Music, has set a record by clocking 75 million views in the first 24 hours of its release, beating the previous record set by Korean boy band BTS’s ‘Boy with Luv’. It had reached 100 million views by the 2nd week and 149 million views in less than a month. But this is where the story begins.
In spite of having the highest views in a month’s time, making it the most watched video in the world, surpassing International artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, etc., YouTube is not willing to certify that it set a record. Is it because they are not willing to acknowledge it as genuine views? Or that Badshah is not really a global artist? For that matter neither is BTS. We are not clear about YouTube’s stance in this mater.
As it turned out Badshah and his team had purchased advertisements from Google and YouTube which led to his video being embedded in some of the content being watched or directing search to the video. But then this is a common practice employed by even top international artists and music companies, global industries and well heeled content providers, to ramp up their YouTube views and likes.
So far the Music Industry and the Public at large have accepted the fact that certain amount of Social Media promotions could get you more Views/ Likes/ Comments, etc., depending on the Social Media and this was the barometer of success or failure. Today YouTube's non reaction to Badshah’s feat brings up the question that the Social Media platforms which sold us the idea that the Views/ Likes/ Comments, etc. was the barometer, seem to be exhibiting double standards. Or is it that they believe these views are not for real. So should we still support Social Media platforms that have an inherent flaw in their system which is easily exploited by third parties?
If ‘Paagal’ is taken as a sample case, how do Music companies receive royalties for their Artists? Is it per genuine views only, if yes, how is it calculated? If that is the case, it could be a deal between the Social Media platforms and Music companies. Often Artists also party to this ‘fake views’. What happens when a genuine Artist asks for Royalties as per the views seen on the Social Media platforms and sues a Record label or Social Media platform? That will be the day, the truth may be out.
We wonder if this is good for any art form especially Music, that real talent is pulled down because they didn’t attempt to buy fake views. Has anyone seen the views many cover version artists or just some idiot with some buffoonery have garnered, compared to the real legends, like Michael Jackson. And we are surprised to see that Michael Jackson has lesser views, what irony. By this barometer does this mean a legend for over 4 decades is less successful? This barometer certifies that anyone who can organize fake views have a bigger audience than a True artist.
This is what happened with an Artist in India and hence nobody will bother, but just like DJ Khalid questioned Billboard's charts, this is an episode that will surely open up a Pandora's box. Watch out for more debates on this topic coming up soon.
We recently did a feature on Julian Assange, Founder of Wikileaks, where we argued that he is a man who deserved to be honoured. By leaking several incriminating classified documents obtained through a private in the US army, he exposed atrocities committed by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. He did the world a service by bringing this information to the public, but the US government does not see it that way. They want to bring criminal proceedings against him and prosecute him and send him to death row or interned in a high security prison for the rest of his life.
We are compelled to argue that he deserved to be praised and supported and not slapped with criminal charges for hacking and mired in allegations of rape. The actions against Assange pose a grave threat to freedom of the press and free speech. Facing extradition to Sweden and amidst fears of political persecution, he was pushed to breach bail and seek asylum in the Ecuador Embassy in London.
Later the UN and Inter-American Court of Human Rights had ruled upholding his human rights. Despite the support of many eminent personalities, journalists, academics and millions of people globally, the US is set to book Assange under the Espionage Act. Last month Ecuador revoked his asylum and Assange was arrested by the UK police and is at present incarcerated in a British jail.
In today’s society the value system that evolved over the years hasn’t changed much. The distinction between right and wrong has remained broadly the same, only becoming progressively more inclusive. Unfortunately there is no probity in the people who wield power and position and they have scant regard for justice, fair play and honesty. As a result, it has eroded all of society’s moral, democratic and human values.
We wonder why someone from our Industry has did not write a song about the unjust hounding of Assange by the forces of power.
Can not music bring about change? We believe it can.
All who can hear, Do not Listen
The Guitar is the Voice of the Soul in the hands of a True Artist
Music Industry revenues have seen a gradual increase for the last three consecutive years, rising 8.1 % in 2017 with total revenues at US$ 17.3 billion globally, according to the Global Music Report 2018 of Ifpi (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). However this upturn is mostly on the back of the phenomenal growth of music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and others, which grew 41.1 % globally.
Digital revenue grew 19.1 % and accounted for 54 % of total global revenues. Revenue from physical media (CDs and Vinyl) sales and digital downloads have both continued to decline, with physical media sales registering lower decline at 5.4 % compared to digital downloads which declined 20.5 %.
In India the music industry beat expectations by registering a 27 % growth in revenues to 725.6 crore in 2017 from 570.7 crore in 2016, again driven by the growth in streaming services which grew 37.26 % and accounted for 91 % of total Indian recorded music industry revenues for the year.
In addition to that positive outcome there are a few more reasons to cheer about besides the growth in digital music. There is tremendous prospect for association of music and branding; and in the area of live music and music festivals. Also the establishment of two new music conferences, All About Music now in its second edition and the recently concluded Music Inc, says a lot about the revival and consolidation taking place within the industry.
Underlying this whole growth story is the revolution created by the ubiquitous mobile phone. The tremendous increase in mobile penetration and sharp drop in data charges has led to a huge increase in consumption of music and videos that is proving to be a boon for the music business. However, piracy continues to be a major concern as most people in the country access music and videos illegally.
As stakeholders, innovators and music makers come together to explore the way forward, we are cautiously positive that this resurgence will grow in strength in the coming years and the over a decade and a half long decline is behind us for good.
To be in the Sound business you have to be of an Unsound Mind
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.