India Music Week (N.Y.): Independent Artist Concern in the Indian Music Industry (Essay)
Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on October 7, 2013
Artistik is a legal education initiative for artists working in India. Founder Manojna is an entertainment, media and IPR legal consultant. She manages an online repository of legal information vital to artists and conducts legal workshops for creative artists in India.
… written by Manojna Yeluri (Artistik License)
While some claim that indie musicians in India have it easy, there’s no denying that a large number of issues remain unresolved and ignored. Whether it’s irregular payment schedules, insufficient venues, irresponsible creative-sharing or a lack of artist solidarity, independent musicians face tough times trying to make the most out of an industry that focuses on trends rather than conveying a holistic view on contemporary Indian music.
One of the perks of being an entertainment lawyer is getting to work with artists. Now artists like to identify themselves in different ways – some like to call themselves entertainers while others prefer the term activist. Some like to call their work experimental, while others dedicate themselves to performing classical pieces in an effort to conserve traditional art forms. There are also artists, who don’t like to be pigeonholed and labelled but all artists create and this is where I step in. I work with artists helping them protect their work, advising them on how to responsibly incorporate other’s creations while figuring out how to share their own.
Working with independent musicians in India allows me to examine issues that arise in the nascent stages of an artist’s career like sorting out authorship issues, protecting band names and negotiating recording contracts with indie labels and music platforms. Legal consulting for artists can offer a particularly insightful glimpse into the independent and session musician’s life here in India, and while there’s a fair share of good that comes with the job, the indie artist’s concerns in the Indian music industry remain largely unresolved or ignored.
This essay incorporates inputs from indie musicians in different Indian cities that were collected from a survey as well as from several formal/informal conversations over the past year. Combined with my work with Artistik License, it hopes to provide readers with a better (but not necessarily exhaustive) understanding of the issues facing independent musicians in India today.
Read fully essay with following PDF