LIVE needs a NEW definition


The concept of playing live for a virtual audience has finally arrived in India. Webcerts, as these concerts are called, have within a very short space of time become an instant rage amongst the country’s digital audience, primarily because of its ability to bring to life the magic of live performances right in front of your desktop or lappy!

The first webcert, which was conceived and organized by popular web portal Artist Aloud a couple of months back, featured Shibani Kashyap as the main act and who was preceded by an opening act of Nakash Sargam. The event was streamed live on the music portal’s website, targeting a global online community of music lovers all over the country and the world.

As a concept, webcerts are truly unique. Though live broadcasting or streaming of performances over the net is nothing new, India has till now never seen a complete concert being streamed live into the internet. Besides enabling the performers to reach a much wider range of fans spread over a big area, webcerts have become an instant hit among urban audiences because of the minimum of hassles involved. So if you ever wanted to watch your favourite artiste perform live and did not have the money or time to buy a ticket or brave the journey to the venue, do not worry for there is a much more easier alternative at hand. With webcerts, all you need is a computer and a broadband internet connection!

Soumini Paul of Artist Aloud feels that webcerts are well on its way to becoming the rage in the country. “Live performances have become a regular occurrence with local performances achieving easier popularity at the regional level. The WebCert is just an extension in the sense that it gives the consumer the opportunity to experience great performances even without being physically present in front of the artist. Today’s consumer wants entertainment to come to him rather than him having to go to it.”

But despite the flexibility of time and space offered by webcerts, lack of infrastructural support might prove to be a major constraint. One can take the instance of Northeast India which, despite having a highly vibrant music industry, lacks the required infrastructure as the internet is yet to fully penetrate into the rural areas. Soumini agrees, “Our biggest hurdle is definitely infrastructural support. However, having said that, our aim is to provide a seamless viewing experience for those who have access to a PC and a good Internet connection,” says Paul.

But senior Guwahati-based drummer Ambar Das feels that connectivity shouldn’t be such a big issue as there are “many netizens in the Northeast” which can make for a sizeable audience. At the same time he lays stress on the initial impressions, “This concept can be viable, but only if the first impressions are good and good artists and bands are showcased.” Since the first webcert with Shibani Kashyap, bands like Parikrama have also had their own exclusive digital concerts, playing live in front of thousands of net-goers all over the country.

Techno stuff aside, whether these digital performances can manage to strike the emotional chord the same way a live performance can remains a big question mark. According to Oliver Rai, the programme officer of Shilpgram in Guwahati where live performances are held frequently, it is time the regional musicians moved ahead. As he says, “The Northeast is musically advanced. In our experience we believe webcerts will work well, especially because in Northeast India both musicians and music lovers are evolved. There is a lot of talent in the Northeast that needs to be tapped. Concepts like WebCert would help these artists present themselves not only within India but globally and help them build a fan base.” In a region where musicians have long faced discrimination, there is no end to the possibilities.

Ambar, who has now shifted to Mumbai due to the paucity of avenues in the Northeast for musicians, adds in a similar vein, “If this cocept works out, the possible benefits for musicians and bands are endless; right from procuring gigs in proper venues to landing record deals.”

With the independent music industry in the Northeast yet to receive the much needed impetus, webcerts might very well be the answer musicians here are looking for!

SNAPSHOTS

Technical apparatus required
– A PC/Laptop and a good internet connection

Cost involved

For the organizers- The cost involved includes bandwidth cost, sound, light, production and camera crew and of course artist fee.
For the consumer there is no cost.

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Posted on November 6, 2010, in Concerts/ Reviews, Day-to-Day, Musicians/ Bands and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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