is a soothing aspect of almost everyone’s life. It can be anything one needs at
any point in time. A safe haven, a serene escape or a blazing motivator; these
are just a few of the things music can be to a person. Discovering music new to
one is often one of the greater joys a person can feel at a particular moment.
Due to the busy life most of us lead, the magic of discovering music is lost to
many. To help you find new music that can speak to your soul, here’s a few
recent musicians/bands that might have flown under your radar.
Eida can no longer be considered underrated. They are a local band, consisting of a few university students with a great collective (and individual) sense of humour; evident by the name. Their music, in simple terms, is akin to modern dream-pop and retro wave with influences from 1975, Gorillaz and even The Strokes.
But from a more curious perspective, Eida’s music is much more. This group of talented musicians are not afraid to experiment and wouldn’t limit themselves to any specific genre. Their tracks invoke a very melancholic mood, and it is well worth giving them a try.
Tracks: Shondha Hole
Another local group. I found these guys off a random YouTube autoplay. Their music closely resembles fusion, in that they use a curious combination of instruments. But again, you shouldn’t fit things in a box. Very simplistic tone, vocal performance and the sheer emotion make them worth checking out.
Be the Cowboy (Yes, the entire album)
An American singer-songwriter, Mitski emphasizes creativity and experimentation in her work. Be The Cowboy is her 5th and latest album; she self-released the first two. This album received critical acclaim upon release and sets itself apart from contemporary pop music and music in general. The artist has designed the album with very short tracks, but each track invokes emotion and tries to get a point across. I suggest taking some time with this album, it is truly spectacular.
Suggested track: Krishnopokkho, Bhondo
Not much introduction is needed for local Rock band Oblique, after the success of Aloron last year. They have been around since 2007 and are known for their use of unconventional, thought inducing and emotional lyrics. Rumour is that they are about to release a new single. So go ahead and check out their work.
Track: Need a little time, Sunday Roast
The Australian singer-songwriter has a very loyal following. Her lyrics are embedded with witty humour and delivered with a dry, deadpan singing style. The combination is usually hilarious, emotional and curious at the same time. The best way to describe the emotion her music invokes would be; it encourages you to get to know the singer better. It enforces the need to delve deeper into her work, and that is possibly the best thing any music can do for its creator. Try out her recent album “Tell me how you really feel”, and please do.
Most of the time the reason for detachment to enjoying music is a rut.
All you might need is a little help with getting out of the said rut and finding the joy in music again. So take these musicians as a start to discovering music and musicians again, and let us know about the less known musicians you enjoy.
Disney has set its sights at the streaming industry for a while. Talks of the company starting a streaming service have been going around since before 2017. Finally, it has been stated by Disney that they will launch their service on 12 November 2019. It has been named Disney+ and it’s in a direct collision course with all the existing streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and most importantly Netflix.
Difficult scenario for Disney
Netflix is by far the biggest streaming service in the world right now. It has around 139 million paid subscribers worldwide. For comparison, Amazon Prime Video has around 20 million and Hulu has less than 1 million. Even the closest competitor falls short by more than 100 million users. In this environment, Disney has decided to disrupt the market and take over Netflix’s reign with Disney+.
That is not an easy feat to accomplish. There need to be concrete plans and attractive offers for customers to make the jump from one product to another. Disney knows this and has already taken steps. Its streaming service will allow users to sign up for only $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. When compared to the prices offered by Netflix of $7.99 a month, it’s a whole dollar less. Clearly, Disney+ wins in the when it comes to the price plans provided.
Price is not the only consideration for the audience though. Being cheaper does nothing if there’s nothing to be gained in return for the money. If there are no shows or movies that people would actually want to watch on the platform, there will be no reason to switch. Netflix gives its users access to around over 5,500 titles that include both TV shows and movies. Disney needs to start with at least somewhat comparable catalogue to stand a chance.
A handful of brilliant shows
The people at Disney also realizes this, and seemingly, they are ready to step up to the challenge. Disney+ will have all the classic Disney movies like Bambi and The Lion King, the Star Wars movies, and Marvel’s and Fox’s original movies and shows like The Simpsons. They also plan to have at least a dozen or so Disney originals up on the platform in the first year of its operation. All of these will be exclusive to Disney+.
That means Netflix might lose the rights to show Marvel movie or Fox shows on its site and have to concede them to the mouse.
On top of all this, Disney has resolved to weather through losses up until 2024. They expect that the service will not be profitable until 2024 and they are ready to stick with it until then. That kind of commitment can only be made by Disney and it’s hard to imagine that any other company will be able to go toe to toe with that level of dedication.
The announcement of Disney+ has been a meteor to the media industry. The ripples of the impact can only be felt as all the players are shifting in their seats. The aggressive pricing plan and the enviable library of content that the service is poised to launch with will change the landscape of streaming service industry for certain.
It has been more than a full decade since Spotify revolutionized the music streaming industry, through their responsive app and it’s intuitive and intelligent A.I. Ever since, there have been no shortages of attempted replication of their success. Most of these have failed for one reason or another. We’ve had a couple of that right here in Bangladesh with Grameenphone and Robi attempting to launch their own music streaming apps. It’s safe to say they didn’t exactly catch the imagination of the intended audience as much as they had hoped. So, the first impression of the average person of Imagine Radio is probably”Oh, another Spotify copycat.” But is it actually?
How Imagine Radio works
Firstly, the average Bangladeshi listener isn’t really familiar with the concept of Royalty fees or purchasing songs. Therefore the artists don’t receive the returns they deserve on the effort put into each song. In addition, it’s difficult for new bands to arrange record deals. Imagine Radio aims to give the artists a platform to distribute their songs directly to the audience. They boast a large selection, more than 10 million tracks of both local and international music, and plan to expand on the collection in the near future. Local artists will be paid a royalty fee for their songs on the app, which will be somewhat popularity oriented. The more popular a song is on the app, the larger the amount of royalty paid.
It will have unique features for musicians like per stream royalty, dedicated dashboards, audience analytics and marketing services. All of these services will be free. For the customers, Imagine radio will have custom made playlists targeted at specific moods, time periods and even the weather. It will also have a live aspect to it, as a selection of music will be played throughout the day on the app, sort of like a radio show. Many prominent musicians and bands like Nemesis, Feedback, Bappa Mozumder and Elita Karim have endorsed the app. And the general audience waits with bated breath for the app to reach the high potential it promises.
Does the model work in Bangladesh?
The point might be made that Mobile operators of our country tried a similar thing with GP Music and Robi/Airtel Yonder. And those weren’t the biggest hits. So is there really a demand for such an app in Bangladesh? If so, how can Imagine Radio hope to fill that demand where many others couldn’t?
There is certainly a
demand for such a service in Bangladesh, as Spotify isn’t available here unless
you own a premium account you made in another country. Music lovers clamor for
an all-in-one music service like Spotify, and it is difficult to access it
here. I spoke to an executive in Imagine Radio’s creative team, and he was of
the belief that Grameenphone and Robi targeted too average a market to target
their product at. They tried to generalize the market, which made for fewer
opportunities for personal profiling. Imagine Radio targets a niche, urban
social market. They mainly target the behavioral segment of the urban youth. In
addition, they aim to have highly customizable profiles for each individual. No
two people will have the exact same experience with the app, as it is oriented
to make your experience as suited for you as possible. It is also to be
mentioned that GP Music and Yonder tried to make the music platform very
contained and partitioned. You needed a Grameenphone SIM to have access to GP
Music and its contents, the same for Robi. The people at Imagine Radio hold the
belief that music should be free. They want to spread music universally,
without constraints. These things set them apart from their predecessors.
How is Imagine Radio any different?
It becomes important to separate your product from the one yours is often compared with. The fact remains that some people in Bangladesh still do use Spotify, with some form of workaround in play. Imagine Radio attempts to differentiate itself from Spotify in two key ways. Spotify doesn’t really evaluate Bangladesh as a potential market, hence it not being available here. Imagine Radio wants to make Bangladesh its primary target, with the added goals of distributing local music over the world and bringing international music here. In addition, opposed to Spotify’s AI generated playlist creation, the people at Imagine Radio believe something as subjective and emotional as music needs a human touch. As such, most of their available playlists are custom made by music enthusiasts and experts, adding a more personal touch to the product they offer. This also adds opportunites for targeting very specific and nuanced needs.
For example, they have a custom-made playlist for when one is stuck in traffic, as we tend to do that quite a lot. This is not to say that Imagine Radio execs do not acknowledge the need for an AI and a functional algorithm. In fact, they plan to implement an AI which will have twice as many information points as Spotify’s 6-8 to target specific moods, times, weather and other nuances. This also adds layers of content curation to their live aspect. The bottom line is Imagine Radio offers an intensely personal experience through their app, where you can listen to music curated to fit your every mood; be it uplifting music on the weekends or sad on a Sunday morning.
The ultimate goal
As stated by a representative, Imagine Radio is intended to be a cause driven project with two specific goals in mind in order to help Bangladeshi music. They want to spread Bangla music universally, and they want to create a platform for music and for musicians. It’s safe to assume a person from a foreign country won’t exactly go looking for Bangla music, so Imagine Radio brings the music to them. As mentioned before, they have adopted a very fair and rewarding royalty model for local artists. This serves to encourage the production of good music in Bangladesh greatly, as it is a convenient way to distribute music legally. Artists may choose to release new singles or albums through Imagine Radio as well. For International music, they use a third party distributor to stream quality music legally.
Imagine Radio adopts a Freemium model, according to the International standard unit. The free version has all the features of the app, while a premium version is set to be released over the next three quarters which will be free of ads and will contain other premium features. As of right now, their primary source of income is ad revenue.
In addition to the many music features and personalized experiences, Imagine Radio has a formidable line-up of podcasts and specials lined up; 14-15 of them in fact. They have held a Freddie Mercury special, hosting the late great Queen front’s best performances, his inspirations and parts of his story. They have a similar program called Legacy of Rock coming soon. It will be a 90-minute program with a host, with 10 minutes of the host explaining the story and background of the track to be played and music to fill the rest of the time slot. They look to adopt a “song and the story behind it” formula for some of these specials, which sounds very interesting to me. In conclusion, Imagine Radio holds an inconceivable amount of promise. And we look forward to it reaching the great heights it strives for.