We recently did a feature on Julian Assange, Founder of Wikileaks, where we argued that he is a man who deserved to be honoured. By leaking several incriminating classified documents obtained through a private in the US army, he exposed atrocities committed by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. He did the world a service by bringing this information to the public, but the US government does not see it that way. They want to bring criminal proceedings against him and prosecute him and send him to death row or interned in a high security prison for the rest of his life.
We are compelled to argue that he deserved to be praised and supported and not slapped with criminal charges for hacking and mired in allegations of rape. The actions against Assange pose a grave threat to freedom of the press and free speech. Facing extradition to Sweden and amidst fears of political persecution, he was pushed to breach bail and seek asylum in the Ecuador Embassy in London.
Later the UN and Inter-American Court of Human Rights had ruled upholding his human rights. Despite the support of many eminent personalities, journalists, academics and millions of people globally, the US is set to book Assange under the Espionage Act. Last month Ecuador revoked his asylum and Assange was arrested by the UK police and is at present incarcerated in a British jail.
In today’s society the value system that evolved over the years hasn’t changed much. The distinction between right and wrong has remained broadly the same, only becoming progressively more inclusive. Unfortunately there is no probity in the people who wield power and position and they have scant regard for justice, fair play and honesty. As a result, it has eroded all of society’s moral, democratic and human values.
We wonder why someone from our Industry has did not write a song about the unjust hounding of Assange by the forces of power.
Can not music bring about change? We believe it can.
Historically, poetry, song and literature have often been used as a means to propagate new ideas, social reform and to protest against injustice and oppression. They have triggered revolutions, helped overthrow many a despot and been instrumental in bringing about much needed change. Many of these poets, writers, thinkers and revolutionaries have gone on to become heroes, for their contribution to the social, political and cultural evolution of our civilization.
Some of the great protest songs that come to mind, include, the gospel based We Shall Overcome, Bob Dylan’s Masters of War and Times They are a Changing, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Edwin Starr’s War. Some were born out of the oppression, persecution and injustice suffered by the people under the ruling classes, while others have been triggered by specific events or ideas such as, Hurricane by Bob Dylan, Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Free Nelson Mandela by The Specials, Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, or Alright by Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.
In an ideal world, where lawmakers, administrators and industry, the people in power, are responsible, clean, transparent and non-corrupt and everything is open to public scrutiny, there is nothing to expose, everything is out in the open. In an ideal world you don’t need the likes of Julian Assange, or W Mark Felt, Woodword and Bernstein, or Serpico, or Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, etc.
But the real world is a far cry from the ideal. Most Governments, private and public institutions are often recklessly irresponsible, thrive on corruption, indulge in heinous criminal deeds and are necessarily opaque, because they have a lot to hide.
It is in this scenario that people like Assange or any of the others mentioned above become relevant. Through his efforts, Julian Assange, Founder of Wikileaks, the organization he founded to expose war crimes, corruption and human rights abuses and aided by former intelligence analyst, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, published several secret documents that incriminated those in power.
With the result he has since been persecuted by those who feel threatened by what he had exposed. Isn’t what they did justified, when you consider the greater good. Don’t citizens have a right to know what is happening? Don’t governments themselves use the reason of greater good to justify many of their actions when it is convenient? You could say that technically the means used by Assange may have been illegal, but as a journalist wasn’t it his duty to expose the wrong doings?
No man or woman is infallible. So Julian Assange has his shortcomings but his journalistic endeavours cannot be called criminal. He believed in protecting freedom of speech, and the right to free expression and set about doing what he had to do.
Facing US extradition proceedings, he surrendered to the British police in 2010 but broke bail and sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador, where he remained for seven years, before he was jailed last month when Ecuador withdrew his asylum.
So why has no one thought of writing a song protesting the treatment meted out to Julian Assange. There have been movies and documentaries made about him but alas, no one has thought to write a song about this man who fought for human rights, freedom of expression, transparency and free flow of information.
Where are the great protest singers like Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Kendrick Lamar, or Morrissey? Had they been alive, maybe Phil Ochs or Pete Seeger or Lennon would have written one. With escalating global conflicts, intolerance, increased muzzling of the press and restrictions on the free flow of information on the net, wouldn’t it have been a timely reflection of our times?
Don’t you think he deserves a Song?
It was way back in 1998 that we established, RagatoRock, India's first all genre music magazine. After aspectacular run of almost three years,the print edition was discontinued in favour of an online version. The online version quickly established itself as the leading online music magazine for everything in music.Through the years, we had our share of good times and down times but we have learnt and adapted and are still here unlike so many of our contemporaries and raring to go. The passion that started it all is still burning bright and today we are ready to once again reinvent ourselves with the same fire and undiminished passion.
All who can hear, Do not Listen
The Guitar is the Voice of the Soul in the hands of a True Artist
Music Industry revenues have seen a gradual increase for the last three consecutive years, rising 8.1 % in 2017 with total revenues at US$ 17.3 billion globally, according to the Global Music Report 2018 of Ifpi (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). However this upturn is mostly on the back of the phenomenal growth of music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and others, which grew 41.1 % globally.
Digital revenue grew 19.1 % and accounted for 54 % of total global revenues. Revenue from physical media (CDs and Vinyl) sales and digital downloads have both continued to decline, with physical media sales registering lower decline at 5.4 % compared to digital downloads which declined 20.5 %.
In India the music industry beat expectations by registering a 27 % growth in revenues to 725.6 crore in 2017 from 570.7 crore in 2016, again driven by the growth in streaming services which grew 37.26 % and accounted for 91 % of total Indian recorded music industry revenues for the year.
In addition to that positive outcome there are a few more reasons to cheer about besides the growth in digital music. There is tremendous prospect for association of music and branding; and in the area of live music and music festivals. Also the establishment of two new music conferences, All About Music now in its second edition and the recently concluded Music Inc, says a lot about the revival and consolidation taking place within the industry.
Underlying this whole growth story is the revolution created by the ubiquitous mobile phone. The tremendous increase in mobile penetration and sharp drop in data charges has led to a huge increase in consumption of music and videos that is proving to be a boon for the music business. However, piracy continues to be a major concern as most people in the country access music and videos illegally.
As stakeholders, innovators and music makers come together to explore the way forward, we are cautiously positive that this resurgence will grow in strength in the coming years and the over a decade and a half long decline is behind us for good.
Music Einstein's E=mc is when Mind & Talent take you to heights of Interstellar Scales
Music by a Band is either Magic or Madness
Music is for all Seasons
Music is Healing for your Body & Soul
To be in the Sound business you have to be of an Unsound Mind
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.