Music concerts in anti-piracy mode

Readers might recall this post on bootlegs of Indian music concerts. Although I spoke only of audio recordings in the post, there is no ignoring the fact that video bootlegs are gradually getting popular as well. For example, I suspect there might have been several mobile phones being waved in the air in the recent Iron Maiden gigs…

The same thing is catching on in Indian classical music (ICM) as well, although not with the same fervour, probably because of the age-profile of the audience involved. Nevertheless, there is a market for videos of full-length concerts that has only begun being tapped. And video bootlegs, even in ICM, do make the odd appearance – in my online meanderings the other day, I came across bootleg videos of full concerts of Hindustani artists Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande and Ganpati Bhat from a very recent music festival in Bangalore.

Which brings me to another post, this time by Prashant, on attempts of the Indian film industry to deal with online piracy. He points to which has done some great work in putting up films, serials, news clippings and yes, music concerts! (available here), free for online viewing, which are also available as a paid download. It has tied up with two music labels – Music Today and Alurkar Music – to put up concerts of two stellar music festivals – the India Today-India Gate festival, and the Sawai Gandharva festival at Pune. The selection includes some classic performances by Chaurasia with Zakir Hussain on the tabla, and Jasraj with Sanjeev Abhyankar on the vocals – all of them in their prime, from about 15-20 years ago.

Like with the films, this is a great move by Rajshri and the music labels to counter piracy in any small way possible.

Arguably, the rates for download are not attractive – a minimum of Rs 100 for a 1-1.5 hour concert. And yes, the idea of streaming video doesn’t get folks in India too excited, what with cables at sea (sic), excruciatingly slow connections, and unlimited download packages still not de rigueur as they should be.

However, they do tap into a foreign market for which access, especially to ICM, is extremely limited. Concert recordings are anyway hard to obtain, and most outside India rarely get to hear live performances. One might have to wait for years to listen to them, when artists are well past their prime, not unlike Iron Maiden and Deep Purple in India…

So, bottomline, it is good to know that even ICM, beleagured as it is with conservatism and orthodoxy, is moving with the times. Here too, piracy is being tackled with some innovative marketing.


About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top