Apps, apps and more apps!
Music applications were the flavour of the year– for facebook, apple devices, Android and even for Samsung Smart TV platforms
The trend for launching music applications continued with Sivakumar Lokanathan of Carnegie Mellon developing ‘Carnatic Raga’, an application that provides reference to ragas in Carnatic Music. That apart, Guruswara, IndiaONE, Dhingana’s music app were the first few steps taken by Indians towards the digital music horizon. Google Music was very popular and among the iPhone users, apps like Electronic DJ, iWaveform and SoundHound, were a rage. GarageBand became an instant success in the US after it’s launch owing to its cool features which allowed one to create their own studio recordings and even an entire rock band with nothing but their Apple iPad. The app had a music suite complete with a virtual guitar, drum set, piano and bass guitar in an easy-to-use format.
Waiting for Godot
2011 marked a wide split in the music industry over the looming amendments to the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. Even as a section of the industry followed the proceedings of the monsoon session religiously, it got pushed to the winter session, where it continued to hover in the top part of the daily agenda, but never made it to the discussions. Listed eternally on the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabhas’ website, the fate of the bill is still unknown.
Phase III licensing of FM radio expansion continues to be the talking point and 2011 turned out to be a dull year, albeit some relief to the radio operators. The buzz about phase III was revived mid year with the Union Cabinet approving the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s proposal and agreeing on the e-auction process. After approving proposals like permission to air All India Radio news, an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) from 20 to 26 per cent, special incentives for operators in the North east and Jammu & Kashmir, nothing has been heard from the ministry since then.
Phase-III will extend FM radio services to about 227 new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities, with a total of 839 new FM radio Channels in 294 cities. When, is the question.
Television limbers up
After lying low for years, the music channel space in the country shook itself out of ennui. The number of music channels shot up with operators like M Tunes, Music Xpress, Sony Mix entering the space. 9X Media made regional forays with Punjabi music channel Tashan and Jhakaas, ther Marathi counterpart. Youth centric channel MTV got music back to its original tagline, with pure music shows like the Indian version of Coke Studio, MTV Unplugged and MTV Roots.
Produced by Babble Fish, Only Much Louder and Dewar, the music documentary series The Dewarists on Star World was well received by music lovers and left them asking for more.
Livenin’ it up
While Zenzi downed shutters mid-way through the year, blueFROG hosted some amazing acts and even opened a branch in Delhi towards the end of 2011. Mumbai’s Mehboob Studios started hosting upcoming indie acts once every month with ‘Live from the Console’ and the Bandra Fort Amphitheater became much more active than usual.
Good old fests like Sunburn and NH7 Weekender gathered more steam while potential was discovered in places like Coorg and Jaipur where Storm Festival and Sound Travels took place. Pune’s Sawai Gandharva festival took place on a larger scale and I-Rock sailed off smoothly without any glitches; Pitbull was a sold out show. Shakira and Lady Gaga flew down for private events and F1 Rocks became one of the most talked about events thanks to Gaga.
However, the biggest disasters turned out to be the cancellation of the Bryan Adams and Metallica concerts which disappointed thousands and compelled us to do efficiency recheck. Yet, the stars didn’t stop coming down and we got Avicii, Alexandra Stan, Yves Larock, Yolanda Be Cool and we have Buddy Guy coming for the Mahindra Blues in early February 2012, in addition to David Guetta who is set to headline the Eristoff Invasion Festival.