People from mainland India think that everyone from the Northeast is good at music. This generalisation may be an exaggeration but it’s a fact that there is no dearth of talented musicians in the region. It is also a fact that only a few from Northeast have made it big in the industry so far, which is a matter of concern as it indicates that either talent has been underutilised and ignored or the artistes are finding it difficult to make the breakthrough. While language has been one of the biggest barriers with most Indians favouring Hindi and other regional language songs, musicians from the region too should adapt to the rapidly changing music industry and the mode of selling records to make money. If India is not the right place to garner recognition, maybe its time to try beyond the borders with the help of the internet . But before that, one needs to win hearts at home – with nothing but talent.
Musicians from Nagaland have long been complaining about lack of support for local artistes from the public. They claim that music event organisers pay peanuts to local artistes while their counterparts from outside the state are paid handsomely. Some say that most musicians from the state are not earning enough to meet the song recording cost. This could be true as the market is small. On top of that, most people opt for free download of music files instead of buying it to support the artistes. To solve these visible issues faced by musicians, the government of Nagaland has introduced music policy to promote it into an industry. It envisages engaging the real stakeholders of the industry and undertaking new initiatives of promoting all aspects of the music including capacity building, mentoring, promotion of bands and musicians, training music teachers and giving local artistes the platform to perform at several major events both at home and abroad.
While this move of the government will give the much-needed help, artistes too should understand the dynamics of music industry and adapt to it. Vinyl and cassette tapes are history and the era of CDs ended as it didn’t stand a chance against smartphones and iPod. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of America, streaming is the highest revenue generator for musicians, much more than the money earned from CDs, digital downloads, and licensing deals put together. Talented musicians from Northeast should tap this big thing called “streaming” that brings artistes and their listeners ever closer together irrespective of where they live.