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INDIE MUSIC BLOG

#vlogs by Yanpvuo Kikon | founder indihut

UNDERGROUND MUSIC SCENE IN NAGALAND

INDIAN BEATBOX SCENE

Our quest to find the best beatboxers in Extreme Eastern India begins with our vlog session shot simply using a phone because we proudly function at zero budget since 2013.

So I went around my hometown Kohima looking out for beatboxers whilst people are going bonkers looking for pokemons. And the best part is that while I was searching for good beatboxers, I actually happen to be bumping into the best beatboxers. That is crazy and exciting, lets see where this journey leads me to but till now, I’m pretty much zonked by the talents that these young guys possess.

Episode 1- PASTAKA BIZKIT

Episode 2 – PUSH POM POM

Episode 3 – BANANA

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Basic Business Affairs

Published on Sep 2, 2016

By Nungshilemba (Allem Mer), Content Writer, indihut

It is easy to bully local enterprise because you know you can reach them; it is also easy for us to accuse them for favoritism because we are too lazy to follow certain simple guidelines or we understand very little about professional business conduct. Open accessibility to the company does not give anyone the right to trample on the working atmosphere of the company and give them easy access. Indihut does not have any high standard strict rules for the musicians to display their crafts, nor does it give anyone favorable slots for promotions.

While the enterprise is committed to promoting local musicians and upcoming talents, it will be beneficial for both the parties to oblige by the certain code of conduct to make the business affair at ease.

There has been cases of Indihut turning down the music submitted for downloads because it failed to reached certain standard in sound technology and the digital quality Indihut promises to offer its listeners. The fact being that while it is a local enterprise and yes the management is aware of the lack of thereof good studio here, the management will not apologize for maintaining as basic quality check, the key point is basic quality check.

Time and again, there has been problems regarding sources converting live session into audio and asking the website to drop it for downloads as well as promotions. Such polite refusal by Indihut team has never gone well with the clients but there is nothing much one can do about it. In order for the website to keep running and surviving in coming days, the protocol is to maintain certain standard decorum in audio quality and image representation; and give quality product to the best of our ability. It is highly recommended to those new artists who are not familiar with the process to get in touch with Indihut before handing out songs to make the transition easy.

Lastly, it is advisable to all concern artists to go through proper channel. To email properly regarding the business enquiry instead of making calls through a second person on the basis of who knows who. State properly your area of doubts, enquiry, business and other information you need to know in proper English; not like ‘hw can i upload ma musiz in indihut, plz let me knw’. Please give proper details about yourself and how to get in touch with you. If you are not familiar with business email, get in touch with someone who knows how to do it. Your talent will take you places but proper management will take you farther.

 

Artistic identity and fashion on command

Published on May 1, 2016

By Nungshilemba (Allem Mer), Content Writer, indihut

The death of David Bowie and most recently Prince reminded us one thing about the music world- a trademark identity look. One can only imagine how hard it is must be to stand out in a room full of equally talented musicians and gifted artist and to make you seen. The kind on antics, ideas, refreshing new sounds, fashion, style and trademark looks one need to come up with to stay relevant.

There is no denying that human beings are visual by nature, this is why we have fashion, beauty contest, constantly debate about body image and has a work out culture to name a few in lighter perspective. Fashion as an identity and part of musicians and their artistic expression most notably seen in the likes of David Bowie, Prince, Grace Jones, Cher, Michael Jackson and Madonna way before the naked antics of neo generation artist came to scene. To say their musical excellence and image appearance equally went head to head in maintaining their stardom and legacy is a legit truth. Time and again, journalist has discussed if fashion is over taking music and which is selling what? It has become an intertwined affair to actually have a concrete answer. Sometimes one could wonder if they are selling music or image in the form of clothes, perfumes, cosmetics and magazines by landing the cover page. The point here is how image whether we choose to love or hate it, is still in the game. Image representation is the driving force for a major music artist to land a campaign, publicity, public appearances. It has also become as lifestyle gossip for us to talk about them, to love or hate it. Obsession with image is widely agreed by most music critics started with the arrival of MTV in the 1980s when music video became a ‘ thing’, which in the past was safely restricted to singing and simple visual representation of the singer involved. Many blog and entertainment writers have openly said they are confused whether to put some (read as most) musicians in celebrity news or music section, it is hard as what people call it metaphorically; splitting a hair.

The right style for the specific genre is very important. Getting in touch with an image consultant, fashion designer, graphic designer and stylist can help a musician go far if this is the route they prefer. Closer home we have the brilliant management of Tetsoe Sisters, they got everything right- beautiful ethnic chic and attires to back up their genre and the songs they sing, reason why they are loved and has managed to grace a picture in all newspaper, magazine and websites wherever they performed. It didn’t take much time for them to be adored by fashion and music fraternity nationally and internationally because the image representation was executed perfectly (not saying they are musically not gifted though). Also we have Polar Lights and their arty graphic design which not only capture the aesthetic sense of the band but also portrays a graphic imagination of their music. Their new age sound is brilliant and so it their image representation.

Entertainment industry is not only cut throat but a slippery slope too, one can never tell what is in and what is out in absolute terms. While it all depends on the artist in question how they want to be projected. But there is increasing pressure on them to entice general mass with an edgy appearance, which is no longer limited to fashion but extended to sexuality, body image, video and the messages. There is too much stake for a musician now, and is getting as hard as time goes by in this age of technology and lifestyle websites dedicated to them. Unless you is as good as Norah Jones who only needs a piano and poem in the form of cool breezy jazz sound to sell out a venue, one should be prepared to face the shrewd reality of the music world. However this is only an observation and this post in no way asking any musician to join the du jour vanity wagon.

Selling Music in Digital Age

Published on Mar 24, 2016

By Nungshilemba (Allem Mer), Content Writer, indihut

Most of us knew what modern technology was, when it arrived but we didn’t know the kind of impact it will have on us. I think it is fair to assume that we were not aware about the amount of power, consequences and control it possess. Few notable people who saw the incoming technology learned, invested and did start up business, they are the mega successful entrepreneur now, and these people are like the modern day monarch who has all the money, resources, staffs and latest tech to take our world to next level for better or for worst. It is scary to imagine life being dictated by an artificial intelligence, cloud computing, apps and satellite remote sensing. Modern technology is like an addiction and it will not be rolling back, it will only be assuming more and more notable roles in our daily lives and we are realizing it gradually that it is impossible to spent an hour without some sort of exposure with the gadgets, entertainment, knowledge and activities it gives us. It has embedded into our system beyond control, whether this is good or bad, is a matter of personal panorama. But the reality of the matter is we can’t ignore the tech world and the changes it brings and it will only keep bringing. Who knows in the distant future, poverty will no longer be measure by nutritional intake, income and standard of living but it will be analyzed by the our accessibility to incoming latest technology.

Technology changes the business landscape and alteration brought it in music business because the amount of drastic changes it underwent can be understood by anyone without having to be an expert in business study. Things has changed from vinyl records (interestingly making a modest comeback again, all thanks to the purist), to cassettes, followed by CDs and now digital marketing and streaming. In just a span of three years, everything you thought you knew about music industry became somewhat a jinxed fling. Record labels are no longer the only source for musicians to sell or spread their music , not saying they are not relevant but musicians began to take advantage of the new age digital revolutions. Most independent artist became successful without any major label backing them because the new era of music selling in internet makes it easier to for them to connect with the audience, today we have social networks, online video like youtube and music streaming like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora in global level and website from national to local enterprises to sell music and watch your fan base grow. It’s true 90% of the musicians are not lucky to have a record deal which has a village and resources to market the brand name (aka known as manufactured pop stars) and control the entire entertainment network chains, but there is hope for the less fortunate musicians now because it is no longer a hassle to hand out your music, but for this you don’t only need to be a musician but also you need you to be smart business acumen and continuously on the look to make your music accessible through music oriented music websites to sell, stream and play. After all these websites are some of the most visited site that could rival pornhub.

There is a debate on whether internet killed the music business but I think it’s not true wholly, the point is record label no longer enjoy the monopoly like they use to, production of music for sale is no longer a commodity that can be monopolized by the company, nor do the musicians have to wait in line (in spite of being signed by the label) to sell their music. Today both musicians and the agency involved make use of the digital age and make it available to the music franchise network, which makes it easier and more control over their professions as well as easier for the record company to manage multiple artists together. If internet and digitalization of music industry has killed anything, it is the shrewd power of the record company and relaxed the rigidity of music business. Of course there are piracy issues from internet age too but I think that is all together another discussion.

The question about if it is possible to make a living as a musician without being signed to a major record label but sell music through franchise? Ron Pope, one of the biggest underground hit seems to agree that it is possible, who has promoted himself strictly through Myspace social networks and then moved on to iTunes and Spotify, his smart business move earn him $100,000+ a year which isn’t bad. Indi artist and upcoming musicians should not be afraid to promote and sell their music. More less known musicians from the public glare like Gabriel Douglas, Gabriel Mann, Yael Meyer all having more than decent income by taking advantage of the digital age. Of course it is not an easy ride in the beginning, all of them would say, but once they tie up with franchise to make their music available and steadily built up their fan base, pretty soon all starts to fall into places. If I’m not mistaken, well known youtube artist like Boyce Avenue, Daniela Andrade, Tyler Ward, Megan Nicole and even latest music protégé Charlie Puth all made a name for them the same route before even the big record label came knocking their way to sign them. It is a steady process, quite exhausting when you compared to the world of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry but practicality over emotions will take you far too.

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Shifting Poles in Musical Outlook

Published on Mar 12, 2016

By Nungshilemba (Allem Mer), Content Writer, indihut

There are many ways to study the transitioning world of today, and to consider music as one subject can be a very good concept. Not because music is fun, entertaining and therapeutic luxury most of us can afford now but it can also serve as a reflection of the society’s attitude towards careers, parents-children relations, conservative-liberal nexus, new age culture of entertainment consumerism, business, creative talents and public response. There are endless tags you can associate with music industry, musicians and music business if you look at in wider frame.

If you grew up in Nagaland, music as a career option until now was unheard of; it was more like a hobby, leisure activity and occasional social gathering glee. Just ask anyone over 25 years if they ever heard anyone around them while growing up who said he/she wants to become a musician in their prime time of ambition (not assuming they are any less ambitious now). For simple inference let’s go back to annual fresher’s day in school and college one attended; as we all had to say what we wish to become in life during introduction, how many musicians as against IAS officers, doctors, engineers, lawyers and church missionary? The tally could be 0-1 against 100. As redundant as it sounds, most of us are product of our parents’ limited exposure to world outside our hills. And we can’t blame them either, they are also a product of their time and it’s no fault of theirs to have wishes for their children to get a clerical job and not anywhere near creative outputs, this annoying trend is still continuing but we can see small changes, baby steps which is encouraging so far the situation is concerned.

Why is it that music as a career option never crossed in a child’s ambition here? The irony while Nagas are known for their musical tone even in their dialects, and all while singing and dancing in spite of being very much a part of our cultural ethos, what is the reservation we have against pursuing career in music? It is partly cultural and partly economical. We merry sing and dance but it is mostly a social affair limited to festivals, wedding and other functions. The fact that most parents understood music as an occasional ‘social affairs’ which we enjoy once or twice a year is one contributing factor as to why music as profession missed the bus in Nagaland. It’s natural phenomena that in the absence of proper management; entertainment doesn’t become a livelihood profession or an art but remains only a part time social affair. Now is it possible to imagine why the family will not give due support to the child’s musical talent, and as such the child grows up to understand that the musical talent he posses will not transcend into a job that will feed him someday.

We limited our understanding about the music industry only in terms of singing, forgetting that music industry is big global village, behind the singing we have record labels, managers, agents, song writers, producers, musicians, back up vocalist, audio mixers, image consultants, music video directors, video concept, videographers, choreographers, dancers, makeup artist, costume stylists, graphic designers, endorsement, public relations team, you name it. This is not to say everyone but speaking in general it is widely true.

We didn’t have and still we don’t have a proper platform, to address and educate public about  the career prospects in music industry, maybe now we can put our faith in Nagaland Music Task Force and its resources to do some seminar across the state in schools with parents. To add to the woes, one discouraging factor is we tend to measure the economic value about this industry from local perspectives. Yes, we lack a lot of amenities in Nagaland but this is not what the music industry looks like. Here in Nagaland it is in initial stage driving the industry towards more professionalism. Outside it is already multibillion dollar industry, there is money and job security as long you walk in with armed with talent, confidence and has the zeal to work hard and accept criticism because music industry is highly critical, it comes with the territory.

But on the good note, we Nagas are slowly opening up to the diversity in career options, more schools offers music class now, we have more young guns coming forward that they want to become musicians, more parents okay with their children pursing in creative fields and also the young generations supporting the local artist who are older than them. But most importantly the credits go to the senior musicians who stuck to their passions and continued carrying the musical genius without feeling defeated and zero assistance. History will remember them kindly. In Nagaland indihut is also keeping up with updated marketing, promotions and business strategy of music industry, safe to say we have started rolling out positive results, although not a million dollar worth franchise, it is making a good progress. Hopefully in 5-7 years; taking full advantage of the digital age, endorse more artists from the country and abroad and promote them globally. What we need now is the continuous support from the music lovers as well as our artist perseverance and innovative works to make it a success. A good team work benefits everyone equally.

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The Music Industry: Where are we headed?

Published on May 8, 2015

Written by Yanpvuo Kikon, Founder of indihut

I was reading the last edition of Forbes magazine and came across this article where Katy Perry was among the top 3 highest earning entertainers in the world with whopping earnings of 135 Million Dollars, equivalent to Eight Hundred Eighty Crore Rupees in Indian currency over the past 12 months. Well that is the kind of revenue enough to almost pay out our entire Nagaland State budget deficit! The advent of digital media which has set off a sort of predictable trend towards a direction in which musicians should start embracing and prepare themselves for a future where the digital revolution has managed to divert the course of our traditional music industry. The negative trend in global music sales where industrywide album sales has plummeted from 785 million to 257 million over the past 15 years is proof enough that this trend is set to continue tumbling downhill.

Music CD’s are on their way to the museum by now with the advent of smart phones where you don’t hear or see anyone around you inserting CD’s to listen to music anymore. Two artists handed me their music CD’s to have a listen and honestly the music CD’s were lying in my office table for over 3 months with their plastic covers intact. Last week, I saw the CD’s dumped in the bin, probably by the cleaner (I guess even the cleaner doesn’t own a CD player and probably listens to music on his phone mp3 player!). Digital music sales in almost all the most popular stores, starting from our own local online stores like indihut to global giants like iTunes, the trend of people buying music online worldwide is declining every year. So, the questions which most musicians and retailers always ask is Why aren’t people buying music? What is the future of the music industry? Will online sales of music albums and singles improve? Will artists never be able to earn money like we used to? Well, hello scroll back up and read how much Katy Perry earned again if you thought all musicians are going to end up in the streets.

If we go by the math and analyze the global trend, history has proven that when it comes to forecasting the market of any product in any industry, analysts are often closely accurate because of the obvious fact that statistics and trends help us in understanding what is unfolding ahead of us. Analyzing customer trends and correlating with change in technology can provide hints of which bus we need to catch in order to lead us to where the crowd is headed towards.

These global trends reveal that as the internet accessibility and speed increases, people need not download anything onto their hard drives and memory cards but instead access them online directly. This is where the concept of cloud computing comes into picture. With more and more people shifting from traditional media like the television, newspaper, magazine, radio etc to the internet for all source of knowledge, information and entertainment and 4G internet speeds enhancing the online experience; the hazy picture is getting clearer as we realise that streaming and cloud computing is going to soon take over the era of downloading. The time has dawned upon us, where we no longer need to store pictures, movies, music, applications, software in our hard drives and memory cards but will find it more convenient to access them directly from the cloud (Internet).

In order to prove this hypothesis, take our own case. Aren’t we ourselves watching more youtube videos recently rather than downloading these videos and watching them? Those with better internet speeds will agree that these days, you also tend to watch streaming movies online rather than download them. Aren’t we uploading our images on our facebook albums(Meaning, uploading it on the cloud) and accessing them online whenever we want to view them? These are all clear indications of where our choices and routines are unconsciously headed towards. Welcome to the era of cloud computing and online streaming.

And when it comes to the music industry in particular, something very interesting is brewing, and that is ‘Vinyl records’, not the kickass all girl band from Arunachal Pradesh but actual music records in vinyl, the black disc shaped things which you might find in your parents’ old collections. Yes, it is coming back and it is coming back faster than we imagined. In 2011, the Entertainment Retailers Association in the United Kingdom found that consumers were willing to pay on average £16.30 (€19.37/$25.81) for a single vinyl record, as opposed to £7.82 (€9.30/$12.38) for a CD and £6.80 (€8.09/$10.76)for a digital download. As per the Atlantic online business magazine, 9.2 Million vinyl LP’s were sold in 2014, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year, which in terms of growth is faster than the growth in video streaming! Well, that shows that although CD’s are as good as dead, while vinyl is back from the dead as one tangible force which is reckoning the digital revolution.

2014 seems to be a interesting caveat in the music industry trend as only 257 million albums were sold worldwide and only 2 CD’s went platinum in 2014(Taylor Swift and Frozen OST). Well, that sure is a clear sign for what we should expect in the years to come.

Musicians these days cannot expect to write songs, release them, sit back and wait for money to pour into their bank accounts. Some may disagree with me, but I believe that the real purpose of music is to entertain us and stir up our emotions; be it love, melancholy, anger; it even has the ability to make us stand to our feet and dance uncontrollably. Sweet irony about how the transformation in the music industry has empowered independent artists to rise above powerful labels; how artists are now indirectly forced to become real entertainers by going out on the streets, into the arenas, cafes, unleash their artistic creations and directly channelize it to the people surrounding them; to connect with their music live. Hence, there is no doubt that even when it comes to the remotest corner of India, in a place like Nagaland where there is abundance of very talented musicians and artists; the one who has earned the highest revenue through his artistic abilities has been those who have not relied on their album/single sales but using the online music platforms from indihut to iTunes to Youtube, simply as a launchpad, as a marketing tool to reach out to their fans and connect with them; who in turn will buy the tickets to their live shows and that is where the real revenue for the artist is generated – Live Shows! Tours and Live Shows has been the only, if not major contributing factor to the artist to survive and earn his livelihood through his art.

Music will never die because, as human beings music is engraved in our DNA’s. Our species consumed music through different means; live then the magnetic tape died and CD’s had even a shorter lifespan with online digital music buying and downloads almost sidelined by streaming and audience preference over live entertainment again. The vicious cycle has circled back to the age where entertainers and audiences would sit, stand or dance together under the same room, filled with the energy generated by the creations of these artists. Musicians need to adapt to these changing times and strategy in order to stay relevant and continue to thrive and succeed at this age of live tours, online streaming and vinyl’s. For how long? The bus has just started, get on board and we’ll see where the next stop leads us to.

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#MUSICREVIEW

Automation

‪#‎MUSICREVIEW‬

Level ‪#‎SUBLIME‬

Review of AUTOMATION’s single ‘Lucid Dreaming by
Yanpvuo Kikon, Founder of www.indihut.com

Chillstep/Ambient/Melodic Dubstep, a genre which no artist from Extreme Eastern India as far as I know, has ever achieved to produce something as creative and fresh as this original single by Automation. This anonymous duo who has researched and experimented with a genre which is still yet to go pop in the global music scene has churned out a magical ‘feel good’ single and I don’t remember the last time I drowned into a state of blissful chill by listening to a original track from this part of the country. The title of the song itself ‘Lucid Dreaming’ is what I often experience once in a while, when I realise inside my dream that I’m actually dreaming, when the fun beings as I start experimenting in a dimension where time and space doesn’t exist!

Just managed to listen to it using a good quality Beats headphones and wow it sounds awesome! The song kicks off with spacey synths gradually building up to a sweet traditional Naga tribal inspired keys loop. The sound that takes the cake is definitely them tasty LASERS blasting off supplementing the sweet melody filling up your atmosphere! The acoustic ambient breaking off is subtle and overall the song is definitely a new breeze of fresh mystical air set to change the course of musical history in our region.

Ever since I started listening to by artists like SizzleBird, MitiS, Tourist, Tom Day, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Adventure Club, Fake Static Noise, M83, Blackbird, Ark Patrol,Hopium etc I deep dived into the world of Chillstep and got sucked into this sweet black hole. And today a artist as good and creative as any of the other global chillstep artists to have emerged from our region, ‘Automation’ has stepped in and they have the liberty to have a lot of fun while making sounds by tinkering around with one of the most exciting genre of this decade.

Get it at >> http://indihut.com/automation/

Automation is an EDM duo based in Kohima, who choose to remain anonymous, and are set on teaching us the fundamental basics of ‘staying chilled’, and ‘zoning out’!!!

Their debut single ‘Lucid Dreaming’, is all about enabling a mental transition within the listener into a ethereal state of lucid dreams.