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When Subir Malik,keyboard player of the Delhi-based contemporary fusion band Parikrama,heard the term “webcerts”,he was far from enthused.

Bands and independent musicians go online with a unique concept — webcerts

When Subir Malik,keyboard player of the Delhi-based contemporary fusion band Parikrama,heard the term “webcerts”,he was far from enthused. “I thought it meant that we had to perform without an audience. But,all our energy comes from the audience that rocks to our music,” says Malik. Parikrama has put aside its doubts and,on July 28,will present its first webcert— a virtual concert to be streamed on http://www.artistaloud.com .

“ In a webcert,a band or an artiste performs in a studio,and music lovers can view live performances in the comfort of their office,home or anywhere with a high speed internet connectivity,” says Saumini Shridhara Paul of Artistealoud,which was started in 2009. “We have been selling music digitally for a long time and felt that webcerts,which bring an artiste and a large audience together,was the need of the hour,” she says. Details and schedules of future webcerts are announced on the website.

The first webcert,held on June 24,was by city-based alternative pop singer and composer Shibani Kashyap. Around 11,000 people logged in. “I haven’t ever had these many people listening to me live at one time. The comments and requests I got were very encouraging. Many people matched their timings and tuned in from abroad. I felt connected to a space that is infinite,” says Kashyap,adding that the webcert has increased her fanbase. She is preparing for her next webcert.

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For the bands,it helps that webcerts are easy on the pockets of the audience. “Almost everybody has a broadband connection. A concert would cost almost Rs 2,000 for a couple in a city pub but one can attend 10 webcert gigs for Rs 500,and that too in a place of one’s choice,” says Aditya Jha,manager of the Kerala-based band Avial. The band is planning a webcert soon.

Shubha Mudgal and her husband,percussionist Aneesh Pradhan,held a webcert-cum-lecture at the Blue Frog Studios in Mumbai for some students in New York in April. “The concept is interesting and but the success depends on webcasting. Unless there is professionalwebcasting,the whole thing will fail. During our concerts,the sound was fine but the video was a little messy. Beside,audiences may not be able to follow certain techniques like fast handwork on the tabla,” says Mudgal.

Paul informs that webcerts are also available in non-HD format,which helps in its proper streaming. Mumbai-based Sona Mohapatra,who is set to perform in a webcert with her band Sona Mohapatra and Band,says,“The concept may be tough to get used to but magic can still happen. Good bands and performers learn to feed off each other’s energies and a successful performance almost always comes down to the musical vibe within the band.”

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Is she comfortable performing before an audience she cannot see? “Hindustani classical singers also record their albums live in studio,without an audience. They still leave you spellbound because they are connected to a universal energy,” she replies. While most artistes worry about the quality of the online performance,

Malik has a more serious demand. “I hope the soul of music remains intact.”

First published on: 27-07-2010 at 01:12:32 am
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