Indian pop music also known as Indi-pop, I-pop, or Hindi-pop, refers to pop music produced in India that is independent from movie soundtracks. Indi-Pop saw a boom in the 90’s as music on television was not restricted to Doordarshan, and music videos took up most of the airtime on Channel V and MTV. The 90’s saw a slew of artists, bands and songs which still find pride of place in many playlists today. These include Shweta Shetty, Euphoria, Alisha Chinai, Lucky Ali, Anaida, The Aryans, Band of Boys, Bombay Vikings, Viva, Aasma, Mehnaz, and Leslie Lewis to name a few. Not to forget Shaan, KK, Daler Mehndi and Mohit Chauhan who migrated to Bollywood as Indi-pop saw its decline in early 2000’s.
Many blame the film industry for the decline of Indi-Pop yet others say it is the overkill of subpar music with everyone releasing albums and of course the advent of the digital space which ultimately saw a complete lull for Indi-pop.
Today, Indi-Pop is seeing a revival with Punjabi music, music videos and artistes focusing on releasing singles instead of whole albums-keeping up with the digital onslaught and shortened attention span of the audiences. More than the music, record labels are focusing on videos as they act as selling points for the music. The idea to concentrate on singles is to maximise the attention each track receives and to increase its chances of being added to top charts, playlists and becoming viral, as the number of plays determines which is the most popular song at any given time.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise of Indi-Pop-music is no longer restricted to Bollywood and this is mainly due to the rising regional music culture and the underground music movement along with indie hip-hop which has taken the country’s music lovers by storm. Indi-Pop is also on the rise due to the fact that it has become a huge trend amongst urban India. This has also made way to a number of music festivals such as the Bacardi NH7 Weekender which started in 2010 and essentially is an annual music festival hosted in multiple cities across the country and hosts pop artists and bands such as Indian Ocean, Faridkot, Swarathma, Midival Punditz, Indian, Fiddler’s Green, Azamaan Hoyvoy, Dee En, and Easy Wanderlings. There are numerous smaller organizations as well which organise gigs like Boxout.fm and Sofar Sounds, which are being able to promote these events simply due to the growing popularity of Indi-Pop.
Coming to the brand value of Indi-Pop artists and bands, a lot of brands are looking out for independent artists instead of the clichéd Bollywood celebrity faces. Brands like Absolut, and Red Bull have a strong presence in the underground music scene as do Bira and Kati Patang who invest heavily into live music shows. Budweiser has tied up with hip-hop sensation DIVINE to emphasize on its promise to give a stage to emerging talent while redefining the local music narrative.
The social media presence and consumer engagement of today’s Indi-Pop stars add to their accessibility and increases their reach via digital streaming platforms which has become a major revenue source to the artists as well as the record label involved. This in turn leads to further fame both online and offline leading to live music gigs and even brand partnerships. This direct-to-fan model is a major reason for the success and growth of Indi-Pop.
The Indi-Pop industry has become self-sufficient in its own right due to a multitude of factors and the future looks bright. The success and popularity of the genre shows that Indi-Pop is here to stay.