Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Indie music scene in India growing, thanks to crowdfunding

diy-L Delhi-based band Nice Weather for Ducks at DIY Day. (Source: Express Photo by Vaibhav Chawla)
Posted: June 18, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: June 18, 2014 2:43 pm

By:  Suyash Gabriel

Legendary American rock band Foo Fighters recently agreed to play a show in Richmond, Virginia, the state where the bands frontman and ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl grew up. While this seems like just another day for the veteran rock band, what sets this show apart is that unlike their other shows, which usually involve crowds big enough to fit in London’s Wembley Stadium, this one was organised by four diehard fans from the small city. They decided to crowdfund an entire concert for the band so that they could see them play 15 years after their last concert in Richmond.

Crowdsourcing in music began in the mid-90s and India’s independent music circuit seems to be catching up. Through crowfunding websites such as artistshare.com and wishberry.in, events, albums and even music videos are now being funded by fans. Music festivals such as Control Alt Delete, DIY Day and Bangalore Open Air festival are a few examples of events that were almost entirely funded by crowd contributions this year.

DIY (Do It Yourself) Day is the brainchild of Delhi-based musicians Ritwik De and Subhadra Kamath. The festival, which was a first-of-its-kind in Delhi in April this year, brought art and music together under one roof. “Crowdfunding breaks the barrier between the artiste and the fan. They have a sense of ownership over what they have funded. This could potentially help the independent music scene in the country grow,” says Kamath.

Meanwhile, Mumbai festival Control Alt Delete has been around for over three years. This year, it saw a packed venue of supporters, most of whom had contributed to the event. With a pay-what-you-want system, the event also deployed a reward-based scheme through which individuals who funded the event were rewarded with merchandise and had their names credited as sponsors. “The reward-based scheme works really well because the crowd has some incentive to fund. While the concept of crowdfunding is productive, the artistes themselves need to be actively involved in the process to make it a success,” says Rishu Singh, one of the organisers. The event managed to reach its
target of Rs 2,50,000, which helped pay the participating bands.

All-female post-punk band, The Vinyl Records have completely crowdfunded their new music video, raising over Rs 1 lakh, while Vasudha Sharma, a Mumbai-based folk-fusion artiste, managed to raise Rs 5,65,000 from 119 supporters for her album, Attuned Spirits, last year.

“Crowdfunding is the way of the future. It really puts the power in the hands of the fans,” says Keshav Dhar, guitarist of metal act Skyharbor, who have crowdfunded their upcoming second album.

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