Radio has impeded the growth of the independent music scene in India, says singer Sonu Nigam, who is confident the scenario can change overnight if the platform lends support. “Things can change overnight for independent music with just one thing… the day radios start playing independent music. Radios don’t play the indie songs only.
“The day they start playing them, saying ‘this song is good’, the listeners will latch on to them,” Sonu said here on Sunday. The popular singer, who has spent over 25 years in the film industry, had earlier come up with independent albums like “Deewana” and “Mausam” with the former’s title track and the latter’s song “Bijuria” being hits.
At the MTV India Music Summit here, Sonu reasoned that the radio has perhaps stopped promoting indie tracks due to being “over-enamoured” by Bollywood. “And Bollywood, that too is only about actors, actresses and films. Music is a part of cinema. When someone says this film has made Rs 150 crore, is there anyone who talks about how much its music has made?
“How many times does radio support it? They just do an interview with the artiste maybe… and radios have actually taken away our business. Earlier, if you heard ‘Deewana’, it didn’t need publicity. The public went on its own to seek it.
“Radio has taken away that right from you. Because of radios, you don’t buy CDs. Earlier, you used to buy CDs and cassettes. But because radio stations are there, you feel if there are seven options, at least one will have something decent to listen to.”
Sonu stressed that “radio owes it to” independent music and artistes. “It has finished independent music in India.” When singer Jasbir Jassi prodded: “I think the government can do something”, Sonu quipped: “It’s too late in the priorities. Right now, Swachh Bharat is everything. Swachh Music is not the priority.”
He added the day radio — which has a “lot of power” — gives due credit to writers and composers, promotes “good songs”, “singles will start working”.