With the lockdown effectively vaporizing the in-person concert business for a year, artistes had turned to live-streaming and online performances. Now, even though offline concerts are back, digital shows are still in vogue.
According to Pt Bickram Ghosh, online concerts are here to stay. “Currently, people are going for offline shows. But once live shows become normal again, a certain section will want to go back to digital because of the sheer cost effectiveness and accessibility. Besides, online shows have a good reach,” said Ghosh, who has done 15 online shows already and has curated 15 online concerts for ‘Play Good Music’ that are yet to be telecast. “We are getting to collaborate with musicians across countries,” he said.
Tabla virtuoso Subhajyoti Guha, who accompanied Vidushi Anupama Bhagwat at this year’s Dover Lane Music Conference, has done seven paid online concerts during the pandemic. “The online concerts brought in an audience who would perhaps never have turned up for a live show. On Wednesday, I had a tabla solo show at Gyan Manch. While this could only reach audiences in Kolkata, if beamed digitally, the show would have reached those in other countries too,” he said. On March 11, Guha recorded an online concert with sitarist Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan that will be beamed later. “Alongside live shows, I look forward to good digital shows with good sound quality that are ticketed and marketed well,” he added.
Organizers, too, want to continue with digital concerts. Sarod player Indrayuddh Majumder, who organized 36 online concerts for Swara Samrat Festival 2021, said, “During the pandemic, digital was the only alternative. For the next season, we plan to run online and offline versions in parallel.”
The digital platform is also giving exposure to young talents and a few have begun earning from such shows.
Going forward, artistes are looking at offering fans new online experiences that are absent in traditional concerts. While reinventing the presentation style of digital concerts, they are thinking of introducing unmediated intimacy between fans and artistes that accompanies live-streaming, recording acts in interesting locations and using technology to perform together in real time across time zones. In Kolkata, vocalist Soham Roychowdhury, who formed a group called U-Resonance and hosted a digital concert titled ‘Origins: The First Move’ for three acoustic pop acts on February 28, is planning to host a hybrid show in July. According to him, digital concerts offer a greater scope for a variety of artistes and introduce audiences to genres they might otherwise have not heard. “For our first show, we innovated and had live chats and comment box options for premium viewers. They even got edited copies of the show. Our next show will be on Indian fusion. Apart from live chats and comment boxes, we plan to introduce an interactive session between artistes and fans,” Roychowdhury said.
Source: Times of India