Music in the times of COVID-19: We look at the biggest trends and changes for the year 2020

The music industry saw several changes last year, innovating and staying afloat all along.   

author_img Suchitra Behara Published :  25th December 2020 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  25th December 2020 12:00 AM

Ankur Tewari from The Ghalat Family Photo Courtesy: Prarthna Singh

The pandemic and the lockdown brought about several shifts in the music industry. While it put a pause on physical concerts, videos were shot differently with a new look and artistes began to embrace social media with gusto.  

The new normal

Perhaps the biggest change that the music industry witnessed is the rise of online and digital concerts. Bands like Ankur & The Ghalat Family performed live every week on their Instagram handles. Ankur Tewari spills beans on his experience with the pandemic, "It was very weird and strange to move from live shows to online gigs. It all happened so suddenly and just the idea of adapting to everything online was quite a task. It has taken a while for us to get comfortable with this new normal. But, this still feels bizzare." Local bands from Hyderabad like Jammers turned to online shows too. “With the lockdown, the live music scene was completely shut. We were lucky enough that we had the equipment to record our music and stream it on Instagram and YouTube. The whole experience was so new to us and did seem fun in the beginning. But, the band is glad that the live gigs are coming back,” shares Krishna Tejasvi, the vocalist of Jammers. 

Band Jammers

Year of parody

While several musicians came out with songs of hope and bravery, it is the parody music that stole the show in 2020. Musician, Yashraj Mukhate, made Hindi TV actors his muse to create fine melodies. He rose to fame with his Rasode mein kaun tha? remix - a comical tune with dialogues from the television show, Saath Nibhana Saathiya. A rather hilarious take on Indian soap operas, Yashraj became an instant hit. Stand up comedians like Munawar Faruqui, Sagar Punjabi, and Shirish Boga also created a parody song by recreating Jeena Jeena from Badlapur The Chowkidar Song. Sagar, a standup comedian by profession talks of his love for parody music. He explains “Parody helps us reach more people. Mixing it with music gives the comedy a refreshing take. With the pandemic and everyone staying home, people have enjoyed this more than ever.” 

Sagar Punjabi

Pop music meets Indie artists 

As the world remained under lockdown, Indian musicians swayed the social media with virtual international collaborations. For Gaurav Gambhir, a beatboxer from Mumbai, he says that it has been his biggest moment when he got an opportunity to perform with two-time Grammy winner LL Cool J for his Instagram live sessions. The beatboxer shared his story with us, “I have been his fanboy ever since I was ten years old. In the month of May, I happened to send him a request on his Instagram live performance. It was almost unbelievable when he allowed me to join him. I got a chance to beatbox for him and he loved it. I continued to be a part of three other live streams of his. Performing in front of your childhood inspiration has to be something, right?” Besides Gaurav artists like Shalmali and rapper Ikka Singh joined forces with K-Pop star Wengie for a single, Thing You Want. The single is a part of her EP Collabs Vol. 1 (Int’l Ver) and is described as K-Pop Meets Bollywood. It is a fusion of K-Pop, Punjabi Bhangra, and EDM. So, you can say 2020 has been the year for epic musical moments for our local talent. 

Gaurav Gambhir

Music makeover

Music videos this year have had makeovers too. From local singers to internationally-acclaimed bands, everyone had to resort to their homes to film their music videos. Hyderabad musician Rohan Shetty, with his music project, Shor, released a single, Sifarish, that had a creative video. “We were living in bizarre times. Sifarish was ready for a release but we did not know how to release it without a video. The video song that you see is actually a one-shot lyrical video. As we knew, we would not get to play around much with the video, we shot this in our apartment’s compound. We thought the mundane activity of folding clothes compliments the lyrics well,” shares the musician about his pandemic experiences. K-pop bands like BTS also released a song, Life Goes On, where the band filmed the song from the comfort of their homes. 

A still from Sifarish featuring Rohan Shetty

New age marketing

Memes have now become the biggest marketing tools. Why should the music industry stay away from this? Spotify — a music streaming platform, created brilliant meme templates for advertising about their wide range of playlists.     

A Spotify ad