Are non-film music albums dying out?

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New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Acclaimed singers like Sonu Nigam, Shaan, KK and even Asha Bhonsle have come out with independent music albums that have been popular with audiences. But these non-film albums are now on the decline and many blame Bollywood for the downward trend.

Some allege that artists and albums are not promoted well, while others say Bollywood music has completely overshadowed independent music.

"Albums are dead. It doesn't make sense to waste nine good songs on a box of plastic when people will only listen to what TV offers them. I think I should do films now," said Rabbi Shergill, whose song "Bulla ki jaana" topped popular charts.

Some of the other non-film songs that did great business over the past years include "Tanha dil" (Shaan), "Ab ke saawan" (Shubha Mudgal), "Dhoom" (Euphoria), "Tu" (Sonu Nigam) and "Bheegi bheegi raaton mein" (Adnan Sami). But such albums have now taken a backseat.

"The main reason for the diminishing presence of non-film albums is that our country is very Bollywood-centric," said Sachin Gupta, the in-house composer of Tips Industries Ltd.

This trend has accelerated the pace of musicians and even lyricists heading towards the Hindi filmdom and expressing their creativity through movie songs.

"It isn't that I don't want to do a non-film album. I love doing albums because I get more creative freedom and there are no constraints or limitations of the storyline," said lyricist Prasoon Joshi, who has penned the lines for songs like "Dooba dooba" (Silk Route) and "Man ke manjeere" (Shubha Mudgal).

"But the problem is that the market for private albums is shrinking. People now are more inclined towards film music. So that's why I now try and find my expression in Bollywood songs," he added.

Along with the popularity of film music, singers cite inadequate publicity as a major reason for the failure of non-film albums in the Indian market.

"Independent or non-film albums are not promoted the way they should be. It's sad that channels don't even give them enough airplay," said pop artist Shibani Kashyap, who became popular with her song "Ho gai hai mohabbat".

"Even music companies today feel that investing in a non-film album is a losing proposition and not commercially viable because most music channels play Bollywood numbers.

"It was very disappointing to see that even an album by legends Asha Bhonsle and Ghulam Ali saw very little airplay and there was hardly any promotion visible on TV," she added.

So what can remedy the situation?

"I have done 17 albums last year and I'll keep doing that because you never know what clicks with the audience. If we stop churning out albums then obviously the segment will die. So we need to keep trying to revive it," said Sachin Gupta.

"Along with implementing sufficient promotional tools for the albums, I feel there should be a channel dedicated to only non-film albums. We need dedicated space to revive them," suggested Shibani.

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