For the past decade, Delhi-based Ritnika Nayan has mastered the ways in which the indie music industry works in India. The artist manager is now sharing the tricks of the trade in a new book. Excerpts from an interview:
How did Indie 101 come about?
The book is a primer for anybody who is new to the music scene in India, including Bollywood, be it an individual or a band. It is meant to be educational and offer information based on my experience of working in the industry as the owner of the company, Music Gets Me High; and the work I have done in the field of artist management, concerts and festival production in the US, UK and India over the past 17 years.
I started working on Indie 101 four years ago. I tried to set up some music courses but nobody seemed interested in taking that forward. The book has got basic information about music schools, managing social media, making a press kit, finding a manager, managing intellectual property and sponsorships. I began writing it two years ago, and when I finished, I chose to publish it myself.
In the age of the internet, why do you think such a book can be useful?
The internet gives you scattered information; you’ll have to go through several links. This book collates the whole bunch of information under different heads. It covers different genres, from indie to metal. There’s a lot of personal information, including interviews with musicians and producers such as Vishal Dadlani, Miti Adhikari and Sahil Makhija.
More and more people are opting to pursue music as a career ? It is no longer an urban phenomenon.
That’s true. But in India, we’re still stuck in that mindspace where people go to engineering or business schools, and music is still not seen as a viable career option. I’m reaching out to give talks at music schools on the subject.
Do you think the recent shift to electronic music has changed the way we experience live music? Earlier, it was the band, and now, it is usually a single producer at the console.
Because of technology, you don’t necessarily need a band anymore to make music, you can do it in your bedroom. It’s more individualistic in a way, but it’s great that more and more people are making music. I personally still prefer my rock-and-roll days, but it’s just a different vibe.
What has been the biggest take-away for you in the last decade?
I feel the music industry in India has barely scratched the surface. We don’t do as many gigs as in the West; it’s only during festival season. Music festivals are great, you get to see a lot of artists. But in India, one will see the same artistes at different festivals, and lesser-known artistes remain under the radar.