The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

May 19, 2007

Amateur Musicmen

The other day, Kiran sent me a link to Mhow's musical website. As I said to her, a bit tongue-in-cheek, I didn't think geeks were musically inclined.

And yet, back in IISc, there were quite a few characters in the various departments who could play various instruments; others could sing, and still others spent so much of the their time playing with mixers and other electronica, they could setup an entire trance concert in the time it is taking me to type this out.

It is an interesting time to be an amateur musician these days. The big music publishers are reeling under large advertising budgets, falling record sales, and the difficulty of preventing piracy. Entry barriers to professional musical fame, therefore, are higher than ever. However, the availability of cheap digital recording equipment, broadband, and inexpensive web-hosting means that a bunch of schoolboys can perform their compositions, record them and upload them onto the Internet in rapid order, and spread the word around using their blogs, MySpace, and so on.

Some of these amateurs slowly become professionals as their fame spreads online. Indeed, instead of touring and hoping people would turn up, one can ask one's web-fans where they'd like to see one live, and arrive at the venue almost guaranteed to have a minimum turnout. Check out this story in the New York Times.

Of course, musicians have been putting their work on the Internet since its very beginning. Several years ago, the daughter of an old colleague of mine from Motorola published the music of her band Halifax Pier. Good stuff, it was too.

Meanwhile, back to Mhow. Aggrieved as he is by the traffic and incessant noise of horns in Bangalore, he has made this. And, if Mhow can do it, why not others of his graduating class from IIT-Bombay? Check out Viral Acharya.


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