Tag Archives: India

The Top 100 Hindi Film Songs Of 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, it is time to revisit the best songs of the year. This is the first draft of the year’s top 100 songs based on rankings on MySwar. We will finalize the rankings in a few weeks. This list excludes singles released recently for which the album will likely not be released in 2015. It also excludes multiple versions of songs (only the top rated version is considered). Please login on MySwar and rate your favorite songs to make your opinion count. For the complete list of film albums released in 2015, head here.

The top 100 Hindi film songs of 2015:

  1. Aaj Ibaadat (Bajirao Mastani)
  2. Dhadkanen Goonjti Dhadaam Dhadaam (Bombay Velvet)
  3. Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Tumse (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  4. Bas Darwaze Pe Ek Darbaan Hai (Bombay Velvet)
  5. Agar Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha)
  6. Gulaabo (Shaandaar)
  7. Judaai / Chadariya Jheeni Re Jheeni (Badlapur)
  8. Albela Sajan (Bajirao Mastani)
  9. Mohe Rang Do Laal (Bajirao Mastani)
  10. Sapna Jahan (Brothers)
  11. Moh Moh Ke Dhaage (Dum Laga Ke Haisha)
  12. Shaam Shaandaar (Shaandaar)
  13. Matargashti (Tamasha)
  14. Jee Karda (Badlapur)
  15. Aayat (Bajirao Mastani)
  16. Pinga (Bajirao Mastani)
  17. Aam Hindustani (Bombay Velvet)
  18. Mohabbat Buri Bimari (Bombay Velvet)
  19. Sylvia (Bombay Velvet)
  20. Saanware (Phantom)
  21. Bezuban (Piku)
  22. Deewani Mastani (Bajirao Mastani)
  23. Le Chal Mujhe (Reprise) (NH 10)
  24. Piku (Piku)
  25. Banno (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  26. Jeena Jeena (Badlapur)
  27. Meri Zid (Bangistan)
  28. Tu Koi Aur Hai (Tamasha)
  29. O Sathi Mere (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  30. Maula (Bangistan)
  31. Dum Ghutta Hai (Drishyam)
  32. Khoya Khoya (Hero)
  33. Main Jo (NH 10)
  34. Sooraj Dooba Hai Yaaron (Roy)
  35. Main Ghani Bawri (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  36. Main Tujhse Pyar Nahin Karta (Baby)
  37. Tu Jo Mila (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)
  38. Zindagi (Reprise) (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)
  39. Behroopia (Bombay Velvet)
  40. Naak Pe Gussa (Bombay Velvet)
  41. Janam Janam (Dilwale)
  42. O Tan Mein Sooiyan Sooiyan Si (Guddu Rangeela)
  43. Hamari Adhuri Kahani (Hamari Adhuri Kahani)
  44. Dekhe Meri Aankhon Mein Jo (Main Aur Charles)
  45. Journey Song (Piku)
  46. Raita Phail Gaya (Shaandaar)
  47. Chali Kahani (Tamasha)
  48. Old School Girl (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  49. Ab Tohe Jane Na Doongi (Bajirao Mastani)
  50. Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane (Bombay Velvet)
  51. The Bombay Velvet Theme (Bombay Velvet)
  52. Gerua (Dilwale)
  53. Carbon Copy (Drishyam)
  54. Prem’s Theme (Dum Laga Ke Haisha)
  55. Turram Khan (Hawaizaada)
  56. Chori Chori (Hunterrr)
  57. Ove Janiya (Katti Batti)
  58. Woh Toh Yahin Hai Lekin (Main Aur Charles)
  59. Dusokute (Margarita With A Straw)
  60. Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai (Masaan)
  61. Naina Tose Laage (Male) (Meeruthiya Gangsters)
  62. Chhil Gaye Naina (NH 10)
  63. Khoney De (NH 10)
  64. Teri Meri Baatein (Piku)
  65. Life’s A Bitch (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  66. Bachpan (Hunterrr)
  67. Ye Naa Gade (Hunterrr)
  68. Mat Ja Re (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  69. Tere Bin (Wazir)
  70. Subah Ka Aaghaaz (Once Upon A Time In Bihar)
  71. Sun Saathiya (ABCD: Any Body Can Dance 2)
  72. Hawaizaada Dil (Hawaizaada)
  73. Jab We Met (Hero)
  74. Sau Aasoon (Katti Batti)
  75. Piddly Si Baatein (Shamitabh)
  76. Khulne Lagi Zindagi (The Perfect Girl)
  77. Oh Jaaniya (Wedding Pullav)
  78. Lazfe Bayaan (Barkhaa)
  79. Tu Itni Khoobsurat Hai (Barkhaa)
  80. Baat Ek Hai (Guru Dakshina)
  81. Bezubaan Phir Se (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  82. Chunar (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  83. If You Hold My Hand (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  84. Hogi Kranti (Bangistan)
  85. Conspiracy (Bombay Velvet)
  86. Ka Kha Ga (Bombay Velvet)
  87. Tommy Gun (Bombay Velvet)
  88. Byomkesh In Love (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  89. Chase In Chinatown (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  90. Jaanam (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  91. Premika (Dilwale)
  92. Tukur Tukur (Dilwale)
  93. Hansi (Male) (Hamari Adhuri Kahani)
  94. Dil-E-Naadan (Hawaizaada)
  95. Maazaa My Lord (Hawaizaada)
  96. Hunterrr 303 (Hunterrr)
  97. Naina (Hunterrr)
  98. Lip To Lip (Katti Batti)
  99. Mar Jaayein (Lovesshuda)
  100. I Need A Man (Margarita With A Straw)

You can find the Top 100 Bollywood songs of the last few years here – 2012, 2013, 2014. For a journey back in time, here’s our list of popular songs by year or by decade.

[Updated Jan 4: Rankings updated to reflect additional user ratings.]

The Top 100 Hindi Film Songs Of 2014

It is that time of the year again. The snobs may look down on it, but “best of” lists are a simple and effective way to record and revisit great music over time. We like to think that the lists on MySwar are a little different from the rest because they are based on ratings from many people and therefore a little less subjective than lists drawn up by individuals. Also because we have a niche user base of music lovers, we believe the quality of ratings on MySwar is solid. Finally, since we have fairly long list of 100 songs, we don’t have to forcibly apply constraints to limit songs from certain films or artists. If a song is really good, it finds a place in the list. While we limit the number of songs in this post to 100, if you’re hungry for more, you can also find the complete list of best-rated songs in 2014 on MySwar. The truly gluttonous can go back to lists from previous years. For now, here are the top 100 Bollywood songs of 2014:

  1. Kinare (Queen)
  2. Jugni (Queen)
  3. Khul Kabhi Toh (Haider)
  4. Maahi Ve (Highway)
  5. Taanke Jhaanke (Queen)
  6. Mawali Qawwali (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  7. Badra Bahaar (Queen)
  8. London Thumakda (Queen)
  9. Jhelum (Haider)
  10. Bismil (Haider)
  11. Patakha Guddi (Female Version) (Highway)
  12. Patakha Guddi (Male Version) (Highway)
  13. Jee Karda (Badlapur)
  14. Tu (Bobby Jasoos)
  15. Hungama Ho Gaya (Remix) (Queen)
  16. I’m Sorry Tumse Pyaar Ho Gaya (The Hey Song) (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  17. Joganiyan (Tevar)
  18. Gulon Mein Rang Bhare (Haider)
  19. Kahaan Hoon Main (Highway)
  20. Harjaiyaan (Queen)
  21. Albeliya (Desi Kattey)
  22. Banjaara (Ek Villain)
  23. Sooha Saaha (Highway)
  24. Main Dhoondne Ko Zamaane Mein (Heartless)
  25. O Gujariya (Queen)
  26. Ab Main Kya Karoon (Amit Sahni Ki List)
  27. Galliyan (Unplugged) (Ek Villain)
  28. Heera (Highway)
  29. Tu Kuja (Highway)
  30. Shaamein (Khwaabb)
  31. Kill Dil (Kill Dil)
  32. Mast Magan (2 States)
  33. Bewakoofiyan (Bewakoofiyan)
  34. Citylights (Title Song) (Citylights)
  35. Galliyan (Ek Villain)
  36. Humdard (Ek Villain)
  37. Khamoshiyan (Khamoshiyan)
  38. Aayi Bahaar (Ankhon Dekhi)
  39. Meherbaan (Reprise) (Bang Bang)
  40. Tu (Reprise) (Bobby Jasoos)
  41. Muskurane (Romantic) (Citylights)
  42. Fanny Re (Finding Fanny)
  43. Aaj Ke Naam (Haider)
  44. Do Jahan (Haider)
  45. Paaji Tussy Such A Pussycat (Happy Ending)
  46. Manwa Laage (Happy New Year)
  47. Zehnaseeb (Hasee Toh Phasee)
  48. Samjhawan (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania)
  49. Bol Beliya (Kill Dil)
  50. Ala Hada (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  51. Beqasoor (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  52. Khalifa (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  53. Tu Shining (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  54. Khuda Naa Khaasta (One By Two)
  55. Sawaalon Mein (Samrat & Co.)
  56. Chaandaniya (2 States)
  57. Aaj Laagi Laagi Nai Dhoop (Ankhon Dekhi)
  58. Dheeme Re Re (Ankhon Dekhi)
  59. Kaise Sukh Soyein (Ankhon Dekhi)
  60. Yaad Saari Baari Baari (Ankhon Dekhi)
  61. Aye Jigida (Bewakoofiyaan)
  62. Gulchharrey (Bewakoofiyaan)
  63. Khamakhaan (Bewakoofiyaan)
  64. Sahib (Boothnath Returns)
  65. Ek Charraiya (Citylights)
  66. Muskurane (Unplugged) (Citylights)
  67. Tak Dhoom (Desi Kattey)
  68. Ghoor Ghoor Ke (Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami)
  69. Bebaak (Filmistaan)
  70. Bol (Filmistaan)
  71. Uljhi Uljhi (Filmistaan)
  72. Dheemi Dheemi Si (Gulaab Gang)
  73. Ishq Khuda (Heartless)
  74. Soniye (Heartless)
  75. Ashq Na Ho (Holiday)
  76. Jal De (Jal)
  77. Lakeerein (Kya Dilli Kya Lahore)
  78. Sun Ri Baavli (Lakshmi)
  79. Maaloom (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)
  80. Din Dooba Hai (Lingaa)
  81. India Re (Lingaa)
  82. Mona Gasolina (Lingaa)
  83. Sheher Mera (One By Two)
  84. Tum Chal Diye – Acoustic (Pizza)
  85. Ahista Ahista (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  86. Desi Romance (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  87. Yahaan Vahaan (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  88. Yahaan Vahaan (Reprise) (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  89. Sheeshe Ka Samundar (Reprise) (The Xpose)
  90. Pair Anaadi (Yeh Hai Bakrapur)
  91. Main Dhoondne Ko Zamaane Mein (Reprise) (Heartless)
  92. Bawla Sa Sapna (The Children Come To Sing) (Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
  93. Suno Na Sangemarmar (Youngistaan)
  94. Meherbaan (Bang Bang)
  95. Tera Reham (Darr @ The Mall)
  96. Awari (Ek Villain)
  97. Zaroorat (Ek Villain)
  98. Aao Na (Haider)
  99. Drama Queen (Hasee Toh Phasee)
  100. Raat Bhar (Heropanti)

The MySwar playlist of songs is available here and a YouTube playlist here. Enjoy!

[Jan 2, 2015: Minor updates to Top 100 list based on fresh ratings.]

[Jan 13, 205: Finalized list. Running/evolving list can be found on MySwar.]

Non-Film Albums Now Available On MySwar App

So far we had only Hindi film albums available on the MySwar app. Over the weekend, we rolled out an update that makes non-film albums also available. This means that the best works of artists like Jagjit Singh, Indian Ocean, Shubha Mudgal, Raghu Dixit, Swarathma and Vasuda Sharma are now available on our app. It also means that we get to see another dimension of popular film artists like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Mohammed Rafi and Talat Mahmood.

We hope you enjoy this update: Android, iOS.

IMG_1851

 

iTunes Quietly Launches Music And Films In India (Links Available On MySwar)

Digital India was abuzz yesterday with news of iTunes launching its music and films stores in India. I particularly liked the following posts covering the launch:

http://nh7.in/indiecision/2012/12/04/rip-and-run-itunes-india-store-is-finally-here

http://www.medianama.com/2012/12/223-apple-finally-extends-itunes-store-to-india/

While the buzz is mostly positive:

 

,there were some who were not very impressed, like in this comment thread on Medianama.

I think the iTunes launch is a great step forward for digital music in India and while it will have no impact on hard-core freeloaders, it will have huge appeal for people who want easy access to digital music.

iTunes links were already available on MySwar.in in US, UK, Canada. Starting yesterday, iTunes links are available in India as well. The shopping cart icons at the song level link to iTunes India and the album level to Flipkart. This is just a quick fix and we are working on improving this feature.

Musicians Don’t Matter In India?

Shubha Mudgal posted the following series of tweets yesterday.


Ms. Mudgal has been quite vocal about the issue of artists not getting credited properly. She’s right, of course. In a country dominated by film music, people seem to associate music a lot more with the actors on which the songs are filmed than on the artists who contribute to the song – the music directors, lyricists and singer. This was evident when a series of “Rajesh Khanna playlists” erupted on the internet following the actor’s recent demise. I stayed away from that bandwagon and so did some others, but we were probably a minority trying to overcompensate for the skewed focus of the majority:

Google search gives an indication of what the average Indian listeners, music labels and music websites focus on. “Mallika Sherawat songs” gives 3.7 million results, while “Shubha Mudgal songs” gives only 500K results. Given the popularity of film music, the strong association with actors is understandable but it’s really unfair to cut musicians out of the picture altogether.

While some tagging issues come from the labels’ desire to market the music, some originate purely due to clerical errors. Some recent examples:

  • Irshad Kamil was not included in the credits for Rockstar during its launch.
  • Raabta (Night In A Motel) (Agent Vinod, 2012) was incorrectly credited to Hamsika Iyer instead of Aditi Singh Sharma. Hamsika did give vocals to the Siyaah Raatein version though.
  • The duet version of Abhi Abhi (Jism 2, 2012) is wrongly credited to Shreya Ghoshal instead of Akriti Kakkar.

Because music is universal (partly because of it’s wide appeal, but also because it’s the easiest art form to consume), we assume that music is equally important to everyone. The truth, however, is that not everyone is as passionate about music as Ms. Mudgal is, or even as much as a true music lover is. This obviously does not solve the problem of musicians not getting their due credit, but maybe it reassures them that they do matter to the people who really matter – their fans.

Partners In Crime – Documentary Review

After my posts – Piracy is Mainstream and Why People Don’t Talk About Pirate Consumers – one of the readers of the blog recommended that I watch a documentary called Partners in Crime. I had heard about this documentary on Twitter but never got around to seeing it. I finally saw it last week and I am glad I did.

The documentary directed by Paromitra Vohra does a great job of asking a series of questions related to piracy but allows the viewers to draw their own conclusions. Some insights from the documentary:

  1. Many people don’t realize that piracy is illegal and they don’t believe they’re downloading for free because they pay for the internet connection and for membership to torrent sites (according to one interviewee – $10 for lifetime memberships for unlimited downloads). People also don’t view playing of music in public as illegal, since music is available for free in the first place.
  2. Some people feel that listening to music or watching movies is a social experience and sharing them only enhances the experience.
  3. Rare, concert recordings of masters are available in people’s private collections but cannot be released to public because of copyright issues. Record labels will not pay for these recordings and legal heirs of musicians are not willing to release these recordings for free.
  4. A lot of rare songs, specially non-film songs, are not archived or available easily to public.
  5. The business of pirated CDs and DVDs happens with the approval of the police. Cops need to get paid no matter what – it could be either to stop piracy or to allow it to happen.
  6. There is another way to look at roadside piracy – it provides livelihood to sellers and also gives cheap access to movies/music to a class of people who would not be able to afford them legally.
  7. It’s extremely difficult and/or expensive to legally license copyrighted work. Copyright owners are arrogant and unwilling to negotiate fair deals.
  8. Big companies copy/adapt folk songs to produce copyrighted songs. If they lifted the music in the first place, how can they own it? For example, how can Munni Badnam Hui be a copyrighted song when it is really just an adaptation of a folk song?
  9. Copyright owners are greedy and want supernormal profits. They stiff content creators by getting exclusive rights and paying content creators a pittance. As a result, content creators are either not motivated to produce original content or decide to self-publish.
  10. The anti-piracy crowd has it’s share of not-very-pleasant characters – a) The head of an NGO against piracy who talks about getting funding from CSR budgets of companies and compares piracy with illegal drug/gun trade. b) Companies that became big by flouting copyright rules in the first place, c) Big corporations who are capable of influencing governments to change laws in their favour. d) Bollywood film makers who have copied ideas from Hollywood.
  11. Intellectual Property Rights create barriers to content for people with disabilities. It’s very difficult to reproduce content in a format that can be accessed by people with disabilities.
  12. Copyright owners have no interest in catering to smaller, niche markets. This creates artificial shortage in supply, which in turn results in piracy.

Recommended.

Why People Don’t Talk About Pirate Consumers

I engaged in a long debate on Twitter yesterday with popular blogger, Karthik Srinivasan (entire conversation at the end of his post). To boil things down, I was asking why illegal downloaders don’t get called out for doing the wrong thing and his point was that it was not really going to make a difference. That argument didn’t sit well with me because ever since social media gave all of us a microphone, we haven’t really held back on anything just because nobody was listening. People rant about plagiarism (Heck, Karthik runs a blog dedicated to it!), traffic, politicians, air travel and noisy neighbours. Why are they wishy-washy about illegal downloading?

Yesterday’s Twitter debate didn’t answer that question for me, so I decided to write about the potential reasons for the deafening silence on this subject.

Publishers are not doing enough to solve service and content availability issues. I have written earlier about how difficult it is sometimes to get hold of content legally. It is hard to not empathize with people who depend on illegal sources when they can’t get it legally.

Piracy is seen as a victimless crime. People don’t see piracy as impacting individuals directly. In fact, some people feel that piracy works as a marketing tool and helps artists increase their fan-base. As for the content publishers, they’re not really losing any money and if they are, the greedy corporations deserve it.

Pirates have managed to spin themselves as being hip and anti-establishment. They have managed to project themselves as people who are helping solve the service and availability issues that exist in the market today. It’s another matter that they also distribute content that is available legally and easily. Nobody wants to call out the pirates unless it’s someone like Kim Dotcom who does not manage his PR as well as his peers have.

People don’t want to say things that others don’t want to listen to. If a large number of your followers, readers, etc. are illegal downloaders (which I believe is the case in India today), calling them out is not really going to help you win the social media popularity contest. In fact, being soft on piracy is probably going to win you brownie points. My guess is that I am not winning any with this and yesterday’s post.

People with a voice (bloggers, influencers, journalists, etc.) are engaging in piracy themselves. Not only are they not in a position to speak out against piracy, they, in fact, have to find justifications for their actions so they can retain their high moral ground. Nobody likes to feel guilty.

Why are you not calling out illegal downloaders?

beastoftraal
You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You http://t.co/SGy622uE “Realize piracy is a service problem”
2/20/12 10:40 AM
taparam
@beastoftraal Intellectual, theoretical & flawed. Most people I know who download stuff do it because they don’t want to pay for stuff.
2/20/12 10:51 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam Yes, I’m aware of that. Service is an issue that has not been tried adequately. Difference in timing of availability, in specific.
2/20/12 10:59 AM
taparam
@beastoftraal My problem is that the valid argument of service/availability gives a clean chit to a lot of freeloaders.
2/20/12 11:02 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam Unless we try, how do we know that freeloaders are freeloaders just for the heck of it? They will exist anyway, no?
2/20/12 11:03 AM
taparam
@beastoftraal People freeload even when there are no service/avl issues. Too many people taking easy/cool route of railing against “system”.
2/20/12 11:19 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam Have we given people enough paid options that are convenient to opt for?
2/20/12 11:22 AM
taparam
@beastoftraal Last week you got a recco to buy a cheaper, DOS based laptop because you can get a Windows CD “anywhere”. What was that about?
2/20/12 11:23 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam Buying Windows CD separately. I can order it along with the DOS-based laptop and can choose a cheaper version.
2/20/12 11:25 AM
taparam
@beastoftraal That’s you. Am positive the guy making the recco didn’t have a purchase in mind.
2/20/12 11:26 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam The only other option in that model was the same config with Win premium something. Base home version would do for me.
2/20/12 11:26 AM
beastoftraal
@taparam Why should that be a problem? If there was a Win-based cheaper option, assumption is, he’d have chosen that.
2/20/12 11:27 AM
beastoftraal
.@taparam Don’t you think we/RIAA/everybody is talking ONLY about freeloading pirates right now? 🙂 And not about service *at all*?
2/20/12 12:02 PM
taparam
@beastoftraal Can you point me to discussions on moral/ethical issues around piracy? Not focussing on Kim Dotcoms but on consumers.Genuine q
2/20/12 12:58 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam Haven’t come across any on moral/ethics of it – best dealt with churches, IMO. Pointless to go in that direction. If that be the…
2/20/12 1:26 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam …case, we should also have periodic articles on rape and theft, and how both are ethically wrong, leave alone legally.
2/20/12 1:27 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam This Techdirt piece tries to be more sane – dissecting numbers quoted by RIAA/industry http://t.co/QGgeIAhO
2/20/12 1:29 PM
taparam
@beastoftraal Disagree that morality should be left to religion. Society must decide. Solid examples of religion messing up morality.
2/20/12 2:11 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam Didn’t mean it that way; just meant that there’s nothing solid to put forward, as an argument, in the moral debate. That it’s 1/2
2/20/12 2:12 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam 2/2 obvious, but given the endless supply, people don;t see it as wrong. Question then is, if moral argument has any point at all.
2/20/12 2:13 PM
taparam
@beastoftraal Think the discussion is important. Problem in India is widespread. Many of my friends/relatives download. Feel bad.
2/20/12 2:27 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam When people buy pirated CDs on the roadside, of films that released the previous day, why should this be any badder?
2/20/12 2:29 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam There is no point in the ‘It is wrong, morally/legally. You could go to jail’ argument. Only Burma Bazaar pirates are arrested…
2/20/12 2:29 PM
beastoftraal
@taparam …’cos they do it in large scale. Individual downloaders may never feel anything wrong whatever media writes about morals here.
2/20/12 2:30 PM

 

Piracy Is Mainstream

I’ve been an anti-piracy advocate in my friend circle for many years now. Over time though, I realized that people like me were rare and specially in India, we became outcasts. Friends and relatives look at me like I am nuts when I refuse to lend them my iPod so they can copy songs from it. The burden of guilt was specially heavy when I refused to copy songs on a USB drive for my niece (I bought her CDs instead). It has now come to pass that I have to exercise caution while expressing my views on piracy and people who indulge in piracy don’t give a damn! How the heck did we get to this stage?

Take this exchange on Twitter  –

Guy 1 – “I notice it is without Windows and only with DOS. Possible reason for low price I suppose.”

Guy 2 – “Yes comes with DOS. You can get the windows CD anywhere. I bought this laptop 2 months ago. It’s amazing.”

Guy 2 is recommending a lower-priced laptop which does not have Windows on it because “you can get windows CD anywhere”. In other words, why pay for something when you can get a pirated copy for free. I found this conversation disturbing to say the least:

  1. Guy 2 is advocating piracy in public and doesn’t give a damn
  2. This exchange has a fairly wide audience. Guy 2 has 6000+ followers and Guy 1 has almost 7000 followers and my guess is that they share many followers (like me) who are following this exchange.

It’s important to point out that Guy 1 is asking an innocent question and from what I know of him (via his tweets and blog posts) someone who goes out of his way to get stuff legally.

This kind of exchange is hardly an exception. Conversations on socials networks range from discreet (sanitized references to piracy like “download”, “link please”, “linkesh”, “pdf version”) to “naughty” (nudges and winks indicated through an assortment of smileys) to outright blatant (railing against the ban of pirate sites).

As I have said in a previous post, one of the root causes of piracy is the poor availability of content from legal sources. While I don’t support that argument, I do understand it. The other root cause is simply people not wanting to pay for stuff. Many of these people rationalize their “downloading” ways by citing arguments that sound intellectual but are basically flawed – “Why should I pay for bad quality content?”, “Unfair pricing”, “Big companies are greedy”, “Sharing is good for content creators”, etc).

However, the biggest emerging cause for piracy seems to be the fact that people don’t even think of unpaid downloads as piracy. It has become mainstream. How can something be wrong if everyone is doing it? This is probably the single biggest problem the music industry faces today.

India Losing Music Genres Due To Bollywood?

The title of this post is a direct quote from an interview with Shubha Mudgal. Many months ago, I made a similar observation is a post titled Is Bollywood Overdose Killing India Music?.

There is no denying the fact that Bollywood music’s overwhelming popularity suppresses non-film music. But isn’t Bollywood itself a melting pot of many genres? How then could we lose Indian genres to Bollywood?

To answer this question, I tried to find out how Bollywood has used non-filmi genres over the years and understand if there is a decline in the usage of these genres. With Thej’s help, I put together this chart from MySwar data:

x-axis: Genres, y-axis: Number of songs

Here is my interpretation of this data:

  • Sugam sangeet is a big part of Bollywood. Sugam (or Geet or light classical music) has always been a big part of Bollywood and continues to be. As long as this continues, Bollywood will continue to promote Indian classical music forms (albeit indirectly).
  • But is threatened by the Western music juggernaut. Western musical forms have always influenced Bollywood but the growth of this influence of the 2000s has been mind-boggling. The 2000s represent the first decade in which Pop music influenced a greater number of Bollywood songs that Sugam music did. In fact Western musical forms (Electronic, Hip-hop, Pop, Rock, Western Classical) influenced almost 50% of the songs made in Bollywood in the 2000s!
  • Indian genres can’t beat Bollywood but they can join Bollywood. Folk music has always been a relatively insignificant influence on Bollywood music. However, over the last decade Bhangra and other Punjabi folk music has taken Bollywood by storm. My take is that Bollywood adopted Punjabi folk music with gusto when the likes of Daler Mehndi popularized the genre by producing a series of successful albums.

My conclusion from this analysis is that things indeed don’t look very good for non-filmi Indian genres. But the analysis also points that the solution to this problem lies outside the film industry. The rise of Punjabi folk music and Western music in Bollywood is not incidental. Bollywood films are commercial ventures and they produce music they think people want to listen to and right now they think people like Bhangra, Pop, Electronic, Hip-hop and Rock. Indian musical genres must find ways of making themselves popular independently before Bollywood embraces them.

MySwar Beta Announcement – Reactions And How We Are Responding

I announced the MySwar beta a few days ago on this blog, on our Twitter account, our Facebook page, directly to a few people who I view as early adopters and music geeks and also a forum called RMIM. All of us at Mavrix also shared the announcement with friends and family.

While I haven’t actively promoted MySwar yet, the responses I have received so far have given me some inkling of how MySwar will be received at launch. I also feel that the initial response has helped me prepare better for the launch.

Here’s a summary of the initial reaction and my assessment of how I should address them at launch.

We hate the idea. This response completely blind-sided me. Music is one of those things that evoke extreme reactions and I should have anticipated some of these responses. But it’s one thing to watch people flame others and completely another to be at the receiving end. You can read the gory details in this thread but to summarize – I was called stupid, a liar and also a “pig” among other things. After my initial attempts to reason with these people, I realize that I was engaging in a pointless exercise.

Ignore. While this constituency is very vocal, it’s also fringe. They’re best ignored because they’re not the kind of customers I want anyway. To take these reactions in stride, it’s essential to develop a thick skin.

 

Sounds interesting but can you deliver? Many people were skeptical because they felt that the scope of MySwar was very big/complex/difficult. I am sure my ambitious analogy – “digitized Geet Kosh on steroids” – also contributed to the skepticism. Some people wondered if I should have avoided the Geet Kosh reference. [For people who haven’t heard of the Hindi Film Geet Kosh – it’s like the Bible for Hindi film music geeks. Uh oh, will the people who revere the Bible come after me now?!] I stand behind my decision to use the Geet Kosh reference – I view the analogy as a tribute and I see nothing wrong in setting a high bar for MySwar. In fact, I take the skepticism positively. It tells me that people appreciate that the effort behind MySwar is not trivial.

Deliver. Delivering what we’re promising is the only response. We’re putting our heads down and focusing on wrapping up the work we’ve done in the past few months. Sure, we’ll make mistakes but I believe our passion and effort will shine through in what we deliver.

 

Sounds great! Can’t wait to get our hands on it. This response obviously came from friends and family. I was pleasantly surprised that it also came from some complete strangers.

Sincerely thank them. Forget about other people’s cynicism, I myself have been racked by periods of doubt several times over the last few months. So when people offer encouragement and support, I lap it up happily. My own conviction has helped but Mavrix couldn’t have made it this far without the love it has received from some very kind people.