A musician’s path towards the final goal of being able to reach out to a mass audience with quality, original music is one that is full of trials and tribulations. For those that make the assumption that most of the work is done once musicians have composed, recorded, mixed and mastered their songs, the amount of significant additional effort involved in getting the music to gain mass-level popularity comes about as a rude shock.
Once a band is ready with a demo, the next thing that needs to be done is to distribute this work and help promote the music they’ve created. This task of creating an album, addressing the issues related to song copyright, publicity, sales and marketing of their product is something most musicians/bands are unaware of, and hence unable to address.
Many a musician has been known to have given up on their ventures due to the lack of support to perform the aforesaid requisite activities, that require a lot of time and money to achieve – two vital resources that are in short supply for an up-and-coming set of musicians. This is where a record label makes its presence felt, by addressing these very needs.
Most of the mainstream record labels such as T-Series, TIPS, HMV, and Sa Re Ga Ma release film music, or align themselves with artists that will generate mass appeal, and consequently provide them with a higher sales volume. However, niche genres and musicians that have a smaller audience are normally not taken into consideration by these record labels, and this void that exists is being filled up by small start-up labels that have taken the bold plunge towards promoting such music.
DogmaTone Records (http://www.dogmatone.com) is a Bangalore based record label that is trying to bridge this gap and help nurture and promote musical talent through their efforts. DogmaTone is the brainchild of three friends – Ramprakash L, Sunil Anand and Varun Rajagopal . It came about as a result of this trio’s love for music, and their endeavour to bring to the fore and showcase many an artist who might have otherwise been relegated to oblivion due to a lack of adequate exposure.
Sunil Anand, 26, is into IT sales and marketing by day, but is also a die hard rock fan, and is known among his friends for being a storehouse of rock music related trivia.
Ramprakash L, 33, who is originally from Chennai but has made Bangalore his home for the past seven years, is a chain management consultant for a leading technology company in Bangalore, but has also been previously involved as a band manager for a now defunct rock band. Being aware of the challenges involved in the rock music arena has increased his sensitivity towards this niche and nascent avenue.
Varun Rajagopalan, 27, a resident of our city for fifteen years, is involved in content management and web design for a leading portal, and was a musician in a rock band before he commenced work in his chosen area.
This trio joined hands in 2006 to come out with a record label, whose inception was targeted at helping in the promotion of Indian rock music. The eligibility criteria for considering a band under their record label umbrella is that the band should play rock music, should have their own original compositions and should be highly driven and passionate about the music they create.
Headquartered in Bangalore, DogmaTone records also has branch offices in Pune and New Delhi. As a registered record label, DogmaTone undertakes the responsibility of not only releasing the music, but also of promoting and marketing it, once they sign a deal with an artist. Subsequent promotions, they say, would also include conducting live performances by the bands, distribution of the album online as well as in music stores across the country, media promotions in the form of print and television coverage and so on.
DogmaTone’s maiden venture is titled – ‘The First Mutiny: Dogmas of Indian Rock’, which is a compilation album of lesser-known rock bands, such as Cassini’s Division, Exodus and Pralay among others, that this label has chosen to promote. This album is available in music stores in Karnataka, and is also available online on musicyogi.com.
Following the release of this album in 2007, Sunil, Ram and Varun are considering setting up a sound (pun intended) distribution network that will enable their albums to be sold at retail music outlets all over the country. In addition, attempts are underway to have tie-ups with overseas labels such that Indian rock music can be promoted in other countries as well.
The next release from DogmaTone is either slated to be a sequel to ‘The First Mutiny’, or might also be a complete album release with a single band. DogmaTone are also toying with the idea of combining rock music with cinema, and composing music in movies with the help of these bands.
Such a venture would cater to a niche audience, and DogmaTone is hoping that the accessibility, combined with a growing appreciation for rock music will ensure that Indian rock as a genre gets its own place under the sun.
As their punchline suggests, ‘Somewhere, Music is a belief…’, and it is up to aspiring musicians to take the initiative towards getting their music out to the public.⊕