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‘popcorn music is finding a bigger share’

Kunal Roy |

What do you think of music in Bollywood currently?

Jigar: Audiences today aren’t well-informed about good music making and hence due to limited knowledge and exposure want just Punjabi rap or dance music.

As composers we need to cater to producer demands so we then inculcate hooklines that reflect this trend in some way. We don’t think we can now stay on one song or that one tune or that one melody for too long now.

The depth seems to have eloped. So much entertainment is being churned out that we wonder how the listener picks one favourite with so much choice.

Sachin: Today’s music lacks melody. However, films represent the times we live and today’s generation wants to dance. Music is not only confined to those who seek soulful melodies as they form just one segment of the listeners.

Why are singers in India not as big as their western counterparts? That’s a question everyone needs to ask. Half of the films have run-of-the-mill songs, which will probably work for 15 days and then play at weddings.

We call it “popcorn music”. I am not against it, but I am saying that we are undergoing a transition phase. This will probably last another two years until the album culture returns.

An album is rare and I want it to become even more rare, because you start taking things for granted when it’s in excess. I want it to become extinct so that people start valuing the concept.

Also, Bollywood has absorbed every vertical and hence, all other industries have lost their individual identities, including independent singers.

What points do you keep in mind before taking up music projects?

Jigar: We need to believe in the film, the diversity of the script and the vision of the director. We don’t see how big or small a project is as we are greedy for quality work.

We are not selective in that sense because we truly feel that the world needs good music! popcorn music is finding a bigger share. This has sort of let down the standards of good music making.

We need classic directors and producers to make more films with interesting scripts every art form in the industry will then step up to the challenge. Also now there is a bouquet album with an ensemble casting of music composers.

Sachin: We are in a happy place when the director believes that something magical will be the outcome of our association. Luckily, most directors we worked with have gone that route with us.

Somehow, when the director wants only a hit song and doesn’t have the confidence to back his belief we feel a little lost. We are the directors’ boys. If the director doesn’t believe in us we can’t deliver.

We’ve observed that most of the music directors are recreating old songs. What’s your take on them?

Jigar: We feel we are no authority to comment on this. If we had an option we would like to change the theory of recreating old songs because we don’t know how good an idea is it. I am sure it helps a lot in marketing process of the song but it means there is lack of experimentation and creativity.

Sachin: We don’t believe in recreating old songs unless and until the script demands it. Producers do make the music composers recreate when they are unable to deliver a commercially good song which is not a question when we are scoring the music. We believe every song should be unique and have a legacy of its own.

Youtube has emerged as a platform for young musicians. What’s your take on such online platforms?

Jigar: Social media is directly proportionate to the success of every song. But social media needs to be organic to create mass awareness and not paid followers and bought likes.

Music streaming services are actually acting as the knight in shining armour for the music industry as they have helped gain some lost ground by moving consumers towards legit music and contributing to music industry revenues.

This new phase of music consumption is just what music fans who are sick of one-hit wonders and flashy pop hits need.

By paying out only when people actually listen instead of suckering fans into buying something only to leave it on the shelf, Spotify, Rhapsody, and other on-demand unlimited music services build an incentive into the music business to create works of lasting value.

Sachin: With proliferation of smart devices and Internet penetration, the digital and online consumption is steadily increasing and India, today, has the second largest Internet user base in the world.

The digital economy with focus on CRBT, music and video streaming, subscription and download revenues will continue to act as the drivers of the music economy in the future followed closely by sync and performance revenues.

The real task at hand for the Indian music industry is how to curb piracy, grow the revenue pie and set a real goal of a billion dollar in annual revenues for the entire music industry that we can achieve in next five years.

According to you what are the difficulties that exist in the music industry?

Sachin: As long as the issue of royalty remains unsettled, musicians will continue to be insecure. If we compose a tune and it is played as ringtones or in pubs or even live shows, we should rightfully be earning royalties on the music.

Music companies need to have faith in their artistes, and the industry on the whole needs to be operate in an organised fashion and give artistes their rightful share of money.

Look at the lifestyles of musicians like Justin Bieber, U2, Coldplay, Rihanna, we are nowhere close and that is very questionable. Technology has advanced considerably and one must move with the times but it has also increased piracy and decreased album sales.

Jigar: Music companies need to aggressively market singers, encourage the non-film music market, give them their fair share of royalty and, essentially, give singers due respect.

There are so many times the common man doesn’t know the singers or composers but they know the actor or actresses featuring in a song. Why can’t the musicians feature in the song to earn face value? In the West it is the music industry that is far bigger than the film industry, then why is the same trend not in India? You can’t mix the Grammy awards with the Oscars correct?

Another aspect is that folk and indie music needs an equal push like international EDM festivals coming to India.

Today, music bands and Indi-pop artistes have to invest their own money to bring out an album because music companies want a finished product. Today it’s all remixes and recreations, but that is not a pure form of music.

You are one of the youngest music composers in the industry. What are your dreams as composers?

Jigar: To take India to the world and bring the world to India through cohesive collaborations. We would love to do something with Rihanna, U2 or Eminem. Our country is the best place in the world if you are a musician. There’s audience for all genres.

Sachin: We’d love to compose for Hollywood films and experiment more with our core sound. Every market depends a particular kind of a sound and it would be nice to try something for the Western markets.

The current day Bollywood music is mostly for the masses. Does the pressure of making popular music gives satisfaction to the creative artist in you?

Jigar: You see everyone is so busy being part of the rat race that sometimes you forget the race is never ending and there are many rats already in the queue. Music is our passion and profession and hence we are satisfied every single day.

Since we hail from a theatre background, I think that has helped us to imagine the song and its situation, and how it will fuse with the scene. We don’t believe in typecasts.

Our music is quite universal in that sense, genres are meant for those who like to limit their creativity. Experimentation is key and Bollywood demands way too much than one particular style.

Sachin: The only pressure we have is to deliver good music. The key goal always is to make the audience fall in love with your music and that happens when you’re constantly reinventing and producing a fresh perspective.

We like to surprise our audiences and not blend into the whole popular music segment. You will always notice that each of our songs is different from the other.

But the only connecting element is emotions, our music is all about soul. If you execute music with all your dedication, I don’t think finding an audience is difficult.

What are your future projects? Any message for fans?

Sachin: The plan for 2018-2019 is to experiment with the Indie music sound and give our audiences a new take on the Sachin-Jigar sound. We are also composing for Paarmanu, Goal and 3 this year.

Jigar: We have a couple of Indie singles up for release in the pipeline.