Business of Music in India

…exploring the future…

Close up with… Tapas Relia

Music Composer

Tapas Relia

“Kya aap close up karte hain…” still rings a tune in our heads – even after a few years its been off air!! Now that’s what a composer should be appreciated for.

Meet TAPAS RELIA – music composer/producer (also well remembered for his score & songs for the animation movie ‘Hanuman’).

Tapas is currently finishing film projects for director Nagesh Kukunoor (Hyderabad Blues, Dor, etc.)

Here, he shares with us his experiences and thoughts on various issues related to… what else, but music! Read on.

Q1. With easy access to music software, how have you seen the music quality changing?

The onslaught of easily available, and easy to learn software has certainly changed the music scene to a great degree. While some of it has changed for the better, a lot has changed for the worse.

Better: Your imagination is your limit, there is a sound available for every thought of yours. You no longer have to have tons & racks of gear to achieve a certain effect. With an arsenal of plugins and softwares, your demo recordings can turn into an international chartbuster right from your bedroom! You donʼt have to depend on anybody. Today, there are more ʻOne-Man-Bandsʼ than ever before!

Worse: Time & Money have become scarce. Producers no longer give you enough time to deliver the next big hit. Background scores of 2+ hour films are being churned out in 15 to 20 days flat, (thanks to software) eliminating the need of many live instruments, resulting in live players not having money for food.

Its becoming tough for composers/arrangers to justify their costs. In turn, they end up taking on more projects (obviously for money) then they can handle, resulting in average to below average quality being released at an alarming pace.

Q2. Are musicians/composers with “pirated” software breaking the market of established guys like you? If yes, how do you see this coming under any control.

Not really. Thanks to awareness, there are not many (maybe none) established Composers in mainstream using pirated softwares. The ones who use downloaded material are mostly new-comers with little or no experience. Who Iʼm sure would slowly end up buying everything they use.

And generally speaking, companies are not very comfortable working with in-experienced/new composers without a proper infrastructure that is required to handle this kind of work. Some Film agreements have started having clauses that clearly state that any material the composer uses for the soundtrack, has to be copyright free and legally obtained. We have to sign on the dotted line, and thereby absolving the company/producer of any legal charges that might come up due to copyright infringement. Finally.. its our ass on the line!

Q3. Now we have the “Rebeat” software, that gives worldwide – not just region specific – access to music tracks for a release!

Rebeat is new, its revolutionary! And whenever something revolutionary comes along the way, it completely changes everything around. And as always, some for good and some for worse. Quality is certainly an issue here, with no restrictions in place, anybody, anywhere, anyhow can now ʻofferʼ to sell their stuff, however un-interesting and ʻnaiveʼ it may be.

b) Is this harming the quality of songs being released for sale? If yes, is the market mature enough to trash bad songs?

The saddest part is that in this ʻMelaʼ of sorts, truly genuine artists are loosing out. The chances of an average music lover ʻrandomlyʼ coming across a good track are now frighteningly low. I can browse the iTunes store for hours and not come across a single appreciable track.

How much music can one listen to? People have libraries that donʼt fit into a 160GB iPod! How can you make a ʻmemorableʼ track in such a scenario? True music lovers, including me, are increasingly going back to classics all the time for that ʻlistening satisfactionʼ!

Q4. In this digital era that is only growing day by day with powerful tools and techniques,what do you see the future of music to be?

Honestly, I predict a time when ʻSinglesʼ will become the only thing surviving. Albums will be extinct. Budgets will be ridiculously low, and every household will have a record label. CDʼs will vanish and Thumb-Drives with a 1 TB+ capacity will emerge! Not to mention, studios will find it extremely difficult to pull-on. (Thanks to Bedroom Setups) And yes… Earphones will sell more than Stereos!

Q5. Somebody just asked me this: “Buying a pirated CD of an ʻinspired workʼ of Anu Malik and Pritam is ethical or not?”

Its amazing what lengths people go-to just to justify something. Of-course its not!! What about the other singers/writers/musicians/technicians/studios involved in the album? You are directly depriving them of their dues. Please… this is not the same as saying ʻWhy should I pay for stolen stuff, when you got it for free in the first place!ʼ Remember there are many people involved in a song.

Always buy your Music!


Know more about Tapas Relia and listen to his tracks on:

2 Responses to “ Close up with… Tapas Relia ”

  1. Ravi I Yaar! Says:

    Hey great interview. An intelligent one! And I agree with what he predicts for the future. If not the 1Tb pendrive revolution – I am atleast leading the bedroom studio revolution! Cheers

  2. Rajiv Says:

    Real neat Interview !
    Very comprehensive.
    I certainly do hope good Music doesn’t get lost though and genuinely good artists are able to come out of the prevalent mediocrity around and Shine !