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New froth for indie music
NIDHI GUPTA  24th Jun 2012

Mux Mool playing at the debut of Heineken Green Room in Delhi

f computers have revolutionised the way music is created, the Internet has changed for good all ways of communicating one's talent to the world at large. Yet, there is much rallying by the powers that be over control and theft across the World Wide Web, which has hitherto been seen as the most democratic of spaces created.

But for Mux Mool, the Brooklyn-based electronic music producer and DJ, this scuffle is something that only big budget music associations or brands want to fight out ­— those who have a lot of money invested into their art. And as much as bands like Metallica might proclaim that they will be looking out for the independents, it is just not happening.

Mux Mool, who has ricocheted off the walls of fame across social media websites since his first electro-hip hop tune 'Lost and Found' was released in 2006, is on his first international tour to India, thanks to Heineken. The global beer brand has curated a space — the Green Room — for discovering new music from across the world and introduced it to India last week.

His concert in Delhi, to promote his latest release 'Planet High School', was preceded by an exclusive chat session about how the internet has or can change the music industry. He talked of how his own music and the arts in general have found a dynamic platform.

When asked if social media has killed the star DJ, he quipped that it has and hasn't at the same time. "Social media has taken away power from the mighty and distributed it equitably among the rest of us, So while DJs used to be untouchable since they were on a pedestal until five years ago, now kids learn to play music within six months on their computers and are able to make thousands of dollars off it," he says. "But DJs like Tiesto are still stars," he adds.

For the pro-Torrentz, pro-MP3, pro internet everything artist, music is and always should be free. "I can't judge if Torrent is right or wrong — but I know it has definitely been right for me," he laughed. At the same time, he said he found it annoying that the same companies (such as AOL) that created and spread knowledge about these 'piracy' sites, have now turned around and started suing people for using them.

How, then, does he expect to make money from his art? "Being a musician has a lot to do with flexibility; while selling it has been around for a few decades, music itself is a centuries-old form of expression. So I have to find alternative ways of making money out of my music than through just putting a price label on a download or CD," he explains.

The Green Room, initiated in Singapore a couple of years ago, is the latest in a long line of brand-supported music-based nights to enter the Indian scene. These tentatively annual or bi-annual sessions have been built to bring an artist and his/her audience closer through interaction and performance. Their USP, they claim, is to present unusual music in unusual venues. "We'd like to hold a concert inside the Olympic-sized swimming pool at the Talkatora Stadium one day, for instance," says Samar Singh Sheikhawat, senior VP of marketing for United Breweries. In tandem with Heineken's 'open your world' positioning, this space is to watch out for.

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