Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

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Post  ravinat on Mon May 20, 2019 6:26 pm

I have been observing Raja for the past 2 years and the story is not good. He has been college hopping and feeding people with past nostalgia. He has had no releases of significance in the past 2 years.This presents some important questions about Raja and his present state and where he wants to go next.


  1. Firstly, there are no threats on the basis of domination, and other considerations to unseat him. He has no seat in the first place. Most of his old detractors have either disappeared (GA, BR, VM) or dead (KB). Of course some of his great supporters are also dead (Mahendran, Balu Mahendra)
  2. The industry wants to praise him sky high but nobody wants to touch him with any serious projects. Most of the so called die hard fans of him (Balki, Dhanush) have no projects for him. Most of the others do a project with him (Suseendran, Gautam Menon) and move on
  3. His focus is primarily on protecting and monetizing his old work of the 80s and 90s. He has realized that it is the only thing that can be monetized. All efforts to showcase his work past 90s have not succeeded
  4. The last days of MSV was also spent on some TV shows and people asking him about his work in the 60s and early 70s. I cannot help draw a parallel
  5. Raja is not a serious contender to do any Western films as he needs to do some big compromises to get assignments
  6. The Hollywood studios (Sony, Viacom, Fox) have established in India, but do not seem to promote (they care only about the box office) a musician such as him. They are content with some sub-standard Bollywood composers. I am sure Raja and his inner circle would have never taken notice of this development


It appears like a very slow road ahead as he may start doing any of the following, with no new projects.


  1. Stir up some nostalgia of Malayalees or Telugus by shows and monetize the 80s and 90s
  2. Do some more college hopping in other states (thanks to the countless number of colleges in South India) 


It is pretty gloomy as I look at it. He is unable to give up his orchestra and move on to retirement, nor is he able to get any new projects. Worse is, there is a lot of work that is unreleased and there is no effort to get these out in public domain.

Unfortunate state for a genius of his stature.

Thoughts?

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Post  app_engine on Tue May 21, 2019 4:04 am

ravinat sir,

You've reflected exactly what's going on in the minds of 1000's of old-timer IRFs. 

I'm not a fan of his college-visit businesses at all, even though I acknowledge some positives in the exercise, like his connecting directly with a whole new gen - both musically and on the motivational front - and who knows, he is in a way building another huge force which will keep trailblazing his music for decades. (I've seen some of the youtubes where children of much younger generation vigorously practicing and playing IR songs, thereby extending its timeless reach).

While once in a while tours / stage events are definitely great, I feel there's some overdose on that front as well. (There's going to be another with KJY-SPB in 10 days and I'm not sure if BSO is going to be there...from the promos it sounds like "நலிந்த கலைஞர்களுக்கு உதவ" and hence he may try to minimize costs - using local musicians only...and that way a major special aspect of such stage events may also be going away in course of time, based on economics).

So, people like me - who want him to enjoy some more time in the studio with his creativity (and not stand 4 hours on stage)...there has to be some moneybags willing to invest in good music. (I'm 200% sure if 'sabAsh nAidu' progressed, we would have got another NEPV - now it's gone). IR's creativity is no less even today and with the right kind of project one can get some terrific albums now and for another few years easily!

There are a couple of projects - Mysskin film and Vijay Antony film - which may get released and may get promoted better than the others that happened in the last couple of years...

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Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue May 21, 2019 8:07 am

First we need to understand where the industry is heading music wise. The industry is more going into the 'songs are not required in a movie' mode. Check out any of the 'newer' films. Super Delux or Vikram Vedha for example. The max they may have is a 'kuthu song' or a title song. Otherwise they don't need songs and the audience does not feel that as a shortcoming. I watched some other movies like 'Ettu Thotakal' and one more mystery movie. Neither of them needed songs. So the newer directors are more confident of themselves and their making and in their ability to keep the audience engaged that they eschew songs altogether.

The only films that still require songs are the 'mass hero' films. Rajni, Vijay and Ajit films. Now, Raja will not work with Rajni and Vijay / Ajit do not want Raja.

If you observe, though he is still popular, Rahman also faces a major problem. Only movies he is doing are the Vijay and they are not being appreciated. Other smaller directors cant afford him or don't want him to overshadow them. So he is very respectfully kept at a distance. Unlike Raja, whom people like Myskin and Manikandan approach for an odd film, Rahman is not approached. Infact the bigger directors like Shankar have moved away from him to Anirudh and Rajni is also now with Anirudh.

So the directors who could use songs effectively in their movies have vanished. The new good directors do not want songs and the mass heroes do not want Raja. So there is no way we are going to see the resurgence of Raja or Rahman for that matter.

So the only option for Raja are the private albums. Now, he does them for Ramanasram but their reach is limited and ofcourse the whole exercise is not about demonstrating his musical prowess. So if we are looking for grand projects, it will only happen if someone is willing to sponsor it. Given the current state, that is not a possibility

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Post  ravinat on Tue May 21, 2019 5:13 pm

Thanks App and Suresh for your responses. I am in agreement with your views. There is one thing that Suresh mentioned that requires a bit more deeper understanding. Directors getting comfortable creating movies without music.



  1. I am not too worried about songs in films as much as I care about background music. While background music is not widely understood by the commoner, I do not want the industry to take this lightly. For example, I saw this Hindi film 'Andha Dhun' which is a half decent film. The songs were by Amit Trivedi and somebody else did the background score. Guess what, I saw them lift Beethoven into the background score. This is what happens when music is taken lightly
  2. I am of the view that songs in films is a huge original contribution by Indian film industry. everything else came from the West along with the technology of light and sound. I am always for supporting music in films as that was our contribution. I even went on to lament about lack of 'competition songs' in films, as that promotes creativity of a composer. I was talking about special platforms being removed. It appears that the platform itself is getting removed
  3. The companies such as Viacom, Sony or Fox do not care about any Indian tradition. They want to make up for their losses in Los Angeles, in India. If that means pushing western methods of film making (Indians fall for these stupid things big time) and cutting down the cost of song creation, they will go for it. We need to keep a close eye on their agenda


I also felt that AR has the same challenges today. However, he is a flexible composer who knows how Hollywood works. Raja neither has the flexibility nor the inclination.

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Post  Raaga_Suresh on Wed May 22, 2019 1:55 am

Ravi,

It is indeed true that the younger directors do not have a great ear for music as far as BGM. I saw '96' and I felt there was too much music. Infact '96' and 'Super Deluxe' make good use of Raja songs. The trend as such is to 'buy' some samples and put them as BGM is what I read in one article in Hindu. Not many seem to understand the close link between the film and the BGM.

It is also true that songs have been a great contribution by the Indian Film Industry. Even the 'art' directors like Ghatak, Ray, Aravindan and Adoor have not shied away from using songs when required. Ghatak was a master in that. It is indeed sad that when a master like Raja is around people want to make movies without songs. Raja's two songs from'Merku Thodarchi Malai' were outstanding. That Haricharan song captured the whole spirit of the movie in 3 minutes.

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Post  Raaga_Suresh on Wed May 22, 2019 1:58 am

Ravi,

Digression. The half decent part of 'Andha Dhun' was a French short film Smile  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyN7E6VYfbA

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Post  crimson king on Wed May 22, 2019 6:57 pm

From my vantage point, being aware of what prodigiously talented prog rock musicians of the 70s had to go through once their commercial success tapered off, I am neither surprised by these developments nor particularly disappointed by them.  It was clear for a few years now that Tamil in particular was getting very difficult to crack for him irrespective of whatever quality he delivered. I mean, people can compare NEPV or Megha unfavourably to his old works and keep cribbing but seriously how many soundtracks of other composers from the same years were as good as these? So he was already in a no win situation as far as new film projects go.  Even so, he is still doing a handful of films every year.  Let's be realistic here. For a 75 year old composer, his output is simply prolific.  That he should be still doing even these many films at all is a wonder.  The bigger change is mostly he is only called on to give background score in no-songs films.  Or the songs are short and purely situational like Amma Kannakku where he has no elbow room whatsoever.  In light of these developments, he is adapting the best he can.  But is he alone?

Let me tell you that any singer past his/her ahem child prodigy stage (excuse the sarcasm) is today banking heavily on touring.  There are way too many singers now and just not enough songs.  Further, the songs are so overlaid in grooves and loops that it is very difficult for singers to stand out.  So their shelf life has shrunk like anything.  Singers like Rafi or Kishore had a three decade or more shelf life and would have remained popular had they not died relatively early.  For the Mangeshkar sisters, it was even longer.  But those days are gone.  I know Shreya Ghoshal has been on a frenetic touring spree for the last three-four years.  But it's not just her.  All of a sudden, Shanmuganandha Hall is once again a sought after venue for filmi wallahs.  Back in the day, when Mumbai didn't have the huge MMRDA grounds venue at BKC, Shanmuganandha, with its fairly large seating capacity and central location was where many golden era stalwarts held their concerts including, most famously, Shankar Jaikishan.  Obviously, with the advent of outdoor venues with five digit seating capacity, it became more of a classical/ghazal artist venue.  But in just the last three months or so, Shreya, SPB and Sunidhi have ALL performed here.  This is at least the second Shanmuganandha show for SPB that I am aware of in the last few years and Shreya seems to perform every year here.  

What am I saying?  Ilayaraja's plight is just one symptom of the larger problem.  Music itself is on life support.  There was no real music industry until the advent of recordings that could be sold for a price.  With the ahem demonetisation of the music industry, it is sinking slowly but surely.  A very small clutch of international stars like Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber (and less said about their musical caliber, the better) are holding up music sales for now but I bet their sales would be 5x of what they actually are given how thoroughly exposed they are to the public.  Everybody, even kids, know about them and yet Swift's latest, Reputation, sold just 4.5 million copies.  Jennifer Lopez's debut On the 6 alone sold 8 million in 1999.  The live scene is propped up by legacy classic rock bands.  Same old Black Sabbath, same old Rolling Stones, same old AC DC, lately even GNR it appears, touring and touring.  And if only out of habit, baby boomers are supporting them while they can afford it.  When baby boomers and the bands they grew up with all die out, the music industry is effed big time.  We may reach a point then where even just procuring instruments gets very difficult.  Not saying for sure, but it's possible.  It is very, very difficult for musicians who aren't already big stars to make any money at all out of music.  I mean, anything above a slightly hefty pocket money. I have a friend who gave up a job in a top consulting firm to fulfill his dream of writing and playing music.  After giving it over 10 years and crowdfunding his own album, he is staring at a profession switch when this thing runs it course.

Ever since the download era began, music has lost its earlier pride of place in pop culture.  If music is not inculcated as a habit for upcoming generations, its survival is bleak.  If the very thing that IR devoted his life to is in danger, his current plight is the least of our problems.

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Post  jaiganesh on Wed May 22, 2019 8:40 pm

Raaja as the man himself has said, will stop if Music stops happening to him.
So far it hasnt happened. If it stops, then we will have to accept it and be grateful to whatever has happened so far.

Having said that some interesting projects are indeed shaping up.. Maayon and Thamizharasan definitely seem to be different kind of movies.

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Post  ravinat on Wed May 22, 2019 10:07 pm

crimson king wrote:From my vantage point, being aware of what prodigiously talented prog rock musicians of the 70s had to go through once their commercial success tapered off, I am neither surprised by these developments nor particularly disappointed by them.  It was clear for a few years now that Tamil in particular was getting very difficult to crack for him irrespective of whatever quality he delivered. I mean, people can compare NEPV or Megha unfavourably to his old works and keep cribbing but seriously how many soundtracks of other composers from the same years were as good as these? So he was already in a no win situation as far as new film projects go.  Even so, he is still doing a handful of films every year.  Let's be realistic here. For a 75 year old composer, his output is simply prolific.  That he should be still doing even these many films at all is a wonder.  The bigger change is mostly he is only called on to give background score in no-songs films.  Or the songs are short and purely situational like Amma Kannakku where he has no elbow room whatsoever.  In light of these developments, he is adapting the best he can.  But is he alone?

Let me tell you that any singer past his/her ahem child prodigy stage (excuse the sarcasm) is today banking heavily on touring.  There are way too many singers now and just not enough songs.  Further, the songs are so overlaid in grooves and loops that it is very difficult for singers to stand out.  So their shelf life has shrunk like anything.  Singers like Rafi or Kishore had a three decade or more shelf life and would have remained popular had they not died relatively early.  For the Mangeshkar sisters, it was even longer.  But those days are gone.  I know Shreya Ghoshal has been on a frenetic touring spree for the last three-four years.  But it's not just her.  All of a sudden, Shanmuganandha Hall is once again a sought after venue for filmi wallahs.  Back in the day, when Mumbai didn't have the huge MMRDA grounds venue at BKC, Shanmuganandha, with its fairly large seating capacity and central location was where many golden era stalwarts held their concerts including, most famously, Shankar Jaikishan.  Obviously, with the advent of outdoor venues with five digit seating capacity, it became more of a classical/ghazal artist venue.  But in just the last three months or so, Shreya, SPB and Sunidhi have ALL performed here.  This is at least the second Shanmuganandha show for SPB that I am aware of in the last few years and Shreya seems to perform every year here.  

What am I saying?  Ilayaraja's plight is just one symptom of the larger problem.  Music itself is on life support.  There was no real music industry until the advent of recordings that could be sold for a price.  With the ahem demonetisation of the music industry, it is sinking slowly but surely.  A very small clutch of international stars like Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber (and less said about their musical caliber, the better) are holding up music sales for now but I bet their sales would be 5x of what they actually are given how thoroughly exposed they are to the public.  Everybody, even kids, know about them and yet Swift's latest, Reputation, sold just 4.5 million copies.  Jennifer Lopez's debut On the 6 alone sold 8 million in 1999.  The live scene is propped up by legacy classic rock bands.  Same old Black Sabbath, same old Rolling Stones, same old AC DC, lately even GNR it appears, touring and touring.  And if only out of habit, baby boomers are supporting them while they can afford it.  When baby boomers and the bands they grew up with all die out, the music industry is effed big time.  We may reach a point then where even just procuring instruments gets very difficult.  Not saying for sure, but it's possible.  It is very, very difficult for musicians who aren't already big stars to make any money at all out of music.  I mean, anything above a slightly hefty pocket money. I have a friend who gave up a job in a top consulting firm to fulfill his dream of writing and playing music.  After giving it over 10 years and crowdfunding his own album, he is staring at a profession switch when this thing runs it course.

Ever since the download era began, music has lost its earlier pride of place in pop culture.  If music is not inculcated as a habit for upcoming generations, its survival is bleak.  If the very thing that IR devoted his life to is in danger, his current plight is the least of our problems.

Very well put CK. I want to add to this the plight of upcoming singers through the TV competition circuit. Most of them end up in some concert or the other and not in any original music albums. It gets bleak by the hour. I recently wrote a small review of the film, 'Sarvam Thaala Mayam' in FB, where the director (Rajeev Menon) shows the main character of the movie succeeding by winning a reality TV show. That is the height of achievement a new singer can ever expect today. 

I also think that lyricists will have an equally hard time as there will be fewer songs that get created in the coming years. I am glad that we all lived during the time when some really good original music was getting created and we all spent our energies with some of the best music creators. Future generations will not be as lucky. 

Unfortunately, I am not optimistic as Jai is about the prospects of films that Raaja is working on. 

BTW, I strongly condemn any comment about our great Canadian icon, Beiber  Very Happy He is so frozen in his technique, that even California's warming does not help  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Post  irfan123 on Thu May 23, 2019 12:35 am

I am hoping for these.. sabaash naidu, marudhanayagam, psycho, tamizharasan. 

 Life style changes, things change, generation changes, globalization of every way of life, every corporate wants to squeeze bit of revenue in any part of remote area of planet (ie talking of sony etc music companies) calling fancy word "disruption" as way of life. kill something which is working good in name of improvization and recycle same after decades..

 Food: people once consider going to hotel as luxury go with family. Famous hotels rely on repeat customers.. now..welcome to uber and cafes' malls fancy eateries..traditional hotels are gone in cities
 Movie: only if it is lieMAX, DTS, 3D , bigger sound screaming in all speaker, mass hero..people go to theaters to get the kick..no one cares about BGM ..worst case may be written few lines in magazines in review
 Music: Tea shops with LP records and big horn speakers, limited amount of time alloted in radio or tv like vannachudar, oliyum oliyum...now we have 24 hrs songs in repeat mode everywhere..more then enough to handle
 ghost town: like towns and business places in US route 66 which once was prosperous when I-40 came whole thing changed . even though old road can be revived for nostalgic reasons in parallel. very few want. 
 "No one wants to enjoy the ride rather they want to go fast missing what is around"

what raja can do is something like this which is partially already doing.. 
I beleive june 2nd concert has something new like "BGM demo" 
he can continue with tours performing BGM tracks and release private albums just instrumentation.

As everything in life changes after certain period, certain generation and how corporate and public get brain washed
raja becomes collateral damage in this change of things.

john carpenter was famous in 70s 80s for when BGM is considered core in that period generation. Now all hollywood cares is graphics gimmicks, rocking seats, 3d revenue, lieMAX

https://theofficialjohncarpenter.com/

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Post  app_engine on Thu May 23, 2019 5:19 am

Great posts / observations!

Please continue Smile

Meanwhile, just my 2 cents on ARR (since Sureshji brought him into this discussion)...

Except for brief periods in 90's, he cannot be called a "numbers-man" or someone "prolific". 

That way, he is more or less in the mould of western pop musicians - who typically make <100 hits in their lifetime / career and still made it big in the world and also big bucks.

So, bringing him in any discussion about IR - while adds some spice and salt - cannot add substance in the real deal. Actually, he even kept sabbatical for a couple of years because music was not apparently "flowing" thru him Laughing  (Including a massive failure at common wealth games and such mega projects, with big bucks getting paid)...

OTOH, IR is like gangA kAveri where music flows non-stop...which is why people like me are pained to see him do stage shows and college shows...we got to tap to the non-stop springs...

I really yearn for another NEPV-like grand soundtrack!

Actually, I'm planning to play the whole NEPV album, on speakers, to my Indy teammates at workplace this Friday Smile

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Post  Kr on Thu May 23, 2019 6:07 am

However, I still love even his latest compositions.  I love the two songs in Merku Thodarchi Malai.  I love the songs in Muthuramalingam, Enga Amma Rani.  Swapnam is just a fantastic album.

He has given us so much.  In fact, I have been discovering some of his old albums.  The one that has mesmerized me over the past month has been "Geethanjali" - tamil devotional album - not the tamil or telugu movie with the same name.

What an album.....there is a composition "Sarvamum Nee" - just ultimate.

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Post  crimson king on Thu May 23, 2019 5:55 pm

ravinat wrote:
crimson king wrote:From my vantage point, being aware of what prodigiously talented prog rock musicians of the 70s had to go through once their commercial success tapered off, I am neither surprised by these developments nor particularly disappointed by them.  It was clear for a few years now that Tamil in particular was getting very difficult to crack for him irrespective of whatever quality he delivered. I mean, people can compare NEPV or Megha unfavourably to his old works and keep cribbing but seriously how many soundtracks of other composers from the same years were as good as these? So he was already in a no win situation as far as new film projects go.  Even so, he is still doing a handful of films every year.  Let's be realistic here. For a 75 year old composer, his output is simply prolific.  That he should be still doing even these many films at all is a wonder.  The bigger change is mostly he is only called on to give background score in no-songs films.  Or the songs are short and purely situational like Amma Kannakku where he has no elbow room whatsoever.  In light of these developments, he is adapting the best he can.  But is he alone?

Let me tell you that any singer past his/her ahem child prodigy stage (excuse the sarcasm) is today banking heavily on touring.  There are way too many singers now and just not enough songs.  Further, the songs are so overlaid in grooves and loops that it is very difficult for singers to stand out.  So their shelf life has shrunk like anything.  Singers like Rafi or Kishore had a three decade or more shelf life and would have remained popular had they not died relatively early.  For the Mangeshkar sisters, it was even longer.  But those days are gone.  I know Shreya Ghoshal has been on a frenetic touring spree for the last three-four years.  But it's not just her.  All of a sudden, Shanmuganandha Hall is once again a sought after venue for filmi wallahs.  Back in the day, when Mumbai didn't have the huge MMRDA grounds venue at BKC, Shanmuganandha, with its fairly large seating capacity and central location was where many golden era stalwarts held their concerts including, most famously, Shankar Jaikishan.  Obviously, with the advent of outdoor venues with five digit seating capacity, it became more of a classical/ghazal artist venue.  But in just the last three months or so, Shreya, SPB and Sunidhi have ALL performed here.  This is at least the second Shanmuganandha show for SPB that I am aware of in the last few years and Shreya seems to perform every year here.  

What am I saying?  Ilayaraja's plight is just one symptom of the larger problem.  Music itself is on life support.  There was no real music industry until the advent of recordings that could be sold for a price.  With the ahem demonetisation of the music industry, it is sinking slowly but surely.  A very small clutch of international stars like Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber (and less said about their musical caliber, the better) are holding up music sales for now but I bet their sales would be 5x of what they actually are given how thoroughly exposed they are to the public.  Everybody, even kids, know about them and yet Swift's latest, Reputation, sold just 4.5 million copies.  Jennifer Lopez's debut On the 6 alone sold 8 million in 1999.  The live scene is propped up by legacy classic rock bands.  Same old Black Sabbath, same old Rolling Stones, same old AC DC, lately even GNR it appears, touring and touring.  And if only out of habit, baby boomers are supporting them while they can afford it.  When baby boomers and the bands they grew up with all die out, the music industry is effed big time.  We may reach a point then where even just procuring instruments gets very difficult.  Not saying for sure, but it's possible.  It is very, very difficult for musicians who aren't already big stars to make any money at all out of music.  I mean, anything above a slightly hefty pocket money. I have a friend who gave up a job in a top consulting firm to fulfill his dream of writing and playing music.  After giving it over 10 years and crowdfunding his own album, he is staring at a profession switch when this thing runs it course.

Ever since the download era began, music has lost its earlier pride of place in pop culture.  If music is not inculcated as a habit for upcoming generations, its survival is bleak.  If the very thing that IR devoted his life to is in danger, his current plight is the least of our problems.

Very well put CK. I want to add to this the plight of upcoming singers through the TV competition circuit. Most of them end up in some concert or the other and not in any original music albums. It gets bleak by the hour. I recently wrote a small review of the film, 'Sarvam Thaala Mayam' in FB, where the director (Rajeev Menon) shows the main character of the movie succeeding by winning a reality TV show. That is the height of achievement a new singer can ever expect today. 

I also think that lyricists will have an equally hard time as there will be fewer songs that get created in the coming years. I am glad that we all lived during the time when some really good original music was getting created and we all spent our energies with some of the best music creators. Future generations will not be as lucky. 

Unfortunately, I am not optimistic as Jai is about the prospects of films that Raaja is working on. 

BTW, I strongly condemn any comment about our great Canadian icon, Beiber  Very Happy He is so frozen in his technique, that even California's warming does not help  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Very true.  Nothing much happens to the singer's career after reality shows.  Actually it is getting worse.  The 2016 or so instalment of Indian Idol had mostly past reality show participants as contestants.  Couple of them had already done some playback.  The talent of this ensemble of contestants was undeniable but what's their career trajectory, if any, after that?  Agreed too about lyricists, they are probably in deeper trouble than composers.  
Lol @ Bieber.  The best rock and pop export from Canada will always be Rush.  What a contrast!  Three of the most uncharismatic and nerdy dudes got together to sell millions of albums with technical, progressive music.  As irfan summed up also in his lovely post, it's a way of life coming to an end.

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Post  ravinat on Thu May 23, 2019 10:57 pm

I am sorry if I had created a spiral of negativity by starting this topic. However, we cannot ignore the developments that are happening in the industry and how everyone in the industry is trying to cope with change. I could not be content with nostalgia and saw the MDs struggling - not just the small guys like Gibran or Iman, but also the relatively big guys like Vidyasagar (he has more than Tamil in his work). While composers like Rahman have nicely expended their base to multiple movie businesses, others are not lucky. Either they have to retire or do some concerts to keep the fires burning. 

Raja did not build his base outside South India and in the coming years, it will hurt him. He can only squeeze so much from South Indians by way of concerts. As a technology observer, I see the last 30 years in the industry as this way:

1.  Wave 1 of the 90s was more of automation driven by electronics and software
2. Wave 2 of the 200x was more of mass customization - what I mean is the use of technology to create an impression of customization in a clever way. This makes group of listeners think that the music is being created specially for them though they are created using garden variety tools
3. Wave 3 in the 201x is mass standardization. You can see that a number of Bolly/Kollywood productions are no different from Western counterparts. The digital medium is driving towards standardization

Wave 4 is the most worrisome and this is where all cultural aspects can be compromised. Outsource tasks such as background scores, mixing, second unit work, and even possibly dubbing. I know this will appear like a stretch. The standard terminology such as 'the world is a digital playground' will be used to justify this cultural invasion. (this has already happened in the gaming world). When that happens, we should all go home.

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Fan interaction

Post  jaiganesh on Fri May 24, 2019 1:51 am

Maybe fan interaction and live concerts are the draw for raja when it comes to moolah. The man in his prime time never cared for money,now has to put up with crazy greedy show organizers for a healthy revenue through live shows. And that also is possible only because of rich NRI population all over the world. Unlike other musicians or bands, he can still produce a Swapnam as money is not his only motivational factor. What we need is another creative producer with the same zeal and aesthetics like Krithika or a passionate filmmaker like Lenin bharathi. I am sure that there is a Pa.Ranjith or Mari Selvaraj movie with Raaja round the corner.. it is only a matter of time..

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Post  raagakann on Fri May 24, 2019 2:39 pm

IR has been consistently scoring 3 or 4 Tamil films in the past 10 years or so.  There has hardly been any change in the stance of the current music fans in respect to accepting his music (in the past ten years) .  His die-hard fans always await his release and celebrate his ever refreshing music.  At the same time, the current crop of music fans hardly take notice of his music.  This has been the fate of good music or Raaja's music for the past many years.  Though initially we were sad about this, we (Raaja's die-hard fans) slowly accepted this bitter truth.  The current people are not going to accept his brand of music.  Fine.  We were happy that at least he is still giving quality music (though quantity is very less).  And we were celebrating his music as we were doing in the 80s and 90s... let it be NEPV, Thaarai Thappatai, Oanayum Aatukuttiyum, Rudramadevi, Pazhasi Raja, etc (till the recent Merku Thodarchi Malai).  There has been no change in his approach in accepting new projects.  If he is convinced with the subject, he accepts the project (with no interest in scoring music for big heroes or directors).  He will continue to be the same (except for the fact that he is doing a lot number of concerts these days..!)

However the worrying factor is - Projects in other languages (Malayalam, Kannada & Telugu) have totally dried up.  We have to entirely depend on the 1 or 2 movies he scores for Tamil.  The other worrying factor is the number of Tamil films for which he scores music getting shelved half way or not getting released.

He will sure continue scoring music (Rasigargal Virumbhum varayil virundhu padaipaen...).  He will never plan as to what he needs to do in the coming years (He has never done any such planning in the past either).  If we are lucky.... We will still get few more stunning albums and his trademark BGMs in the future... Let's hope for the best...

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  ravinat on Sat May 25, 2019 4:52 pm

I have a proposal for Raja to move through the next 10 years successfully.

Pre-requisite: 1) Abandon film music completely. 2) Get professional help and fire your sons from business decisions

Now, let's come to the actual proposal.

Setup steps


  • Invest a hundred thousand dollars (it will become more apparent as I describe more) into a new venture to produce quality music
  • Target your audience world wide who are internet savvy - fortunately, Raja has a lot of those folks
  • Hire a strong visual media company to do video work and a marketing company to promote Raja's venture
  • Setup a YouTube channel and invite subscriptions from listeners


Production steps


  • Have a weekly cadence of producing at least 3 good songs every week (he may be capable of more, but that does not matter)
  • Have videos shot and post production done on the videos of top quality
  • The cadence should be as follows : Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Devotional - In a month of 4 weeks, you have 2 of each category created or at least 24 in each category every year, which is good momentum for original music
  • Keep the quality top notch. Have blogs, YT channels review content every week to promote the work
  • The $100K will payback int he first year after expenses as YT is based on subscription and advertising
  • Every year, release the top 20 songs through digital channels for sales


Merits


  • You have cut out studios, middle men, production houses
  • You have your musicians, lyricists employed
  • You can try instrumental pieces when your channel is successful, as you can afford a lukewarm response when your channel is doing well
  • You have within your control the entire concept to completion
  • Start with simple, clean video production and once the channel is profitable, expand shooting budgets
  • No need for any freebies as Raja does all the time for his long time associates


Demerits


  • There is investment involved instead of just being a musician who gets signed and get paid
  • You need to wait for YouTube to pay royalties
  • There is inherent business risk as the uptake for such a channel cannot be taken for granted
  • You need leadership to make sound business decisions (something very hard for musicians)
  • You need some real guts to announce your film music retirement. Even for a million dollars, you should not go back to films

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  crimson king on Sun May 26, 2019 7:16 pm

ravinat wrote:I have a proposal for Raja to move through the next 10 years successfully.

Pre-requisite: 1) Abandon film music completely. 2) Get professional help and fire your sons from business decisions

Now, let's come to the actual proposal.

Setup steps


  • Invest a hundred thousand dollars (it will become more apparent as I describe more) into a new venture to produce quality music
  • Target your audience world wide who are internet savvy - fortunately, Raja has a lot of those folks
  • Hire a strong visual media company to do video work and a marketing company to promote Raja's venture
  • Setup a YouTube channel and invite subscriptions from listeners


Production steps


  • Have a weekly cadence of producing at least 3 good songs every week (he may be capable of more, but that does not matter)
  • Have videos shot and post production done on the videos of top quality
  • The cadence should be as follows : Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Devotional - In a month of 4 weeks, you have 2 of each category created or at least 24 in each category every year, which is good momentum for original music
  • Keep the quality top notch. Have blogs, YT channels review content every week to promote the work
  • The $100K will payback int he first year after expenses as YT is based on subscription and advertising
  • Every year, release the top 20 songs through digital channels for sales


Merits


  • You have cut out studios, middle men, production houses
  • You have your musicians, lyricists employed
  • You can try instrumental pieces when your channel is successful, as you can afford a lukewarm response when your channel is doing well
  • You have within your control the entire concept to completion
  • Start with simple, clean video production and once the channel is profitable, expand shooting budgets
  • No need for any freebies as Raja does all the time for his long time associates


Demerits


  • There is investment involved instead of just being a musician who gets signed and get paid
  • You need to wait for YouTube to pay royalties
  • There is inherent business risk as the uptake for such a channel cannot be taken for granted
  • You need leadership to make sound business decisions (something very hard for musicians)
  • You need some real guts to announce your film music retirement. Even for a million dollars, you should not go back to films


The problem is indeed monetisation of Youtube videos.  The payout is simply measly against videos with even billions of hits. He will necessarily have to offer it on Itunes and streaming and the payout will still be not enough to justify a $100000 investment.  What he could do though is do what bands do - ride on the popularity in terms of no. of eyeballs of these songs to tour and perform them.  He can do it in terms of musical talent but I really doubt he has the vision business wise to do something like this.  Rahman does but he's coasting at the moment and his creativity seems to have run dry.

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  ravinat on Mon May 27, 2019 6:25 pm

CK,

   Monetization of YT is not a big deal at all for a person such as Raja. Do you know that one of the biggest revenue generators in YT is T-Series, the record company? Indian channels are getting the biggest bang for the buck with YT channels. When T-Series can make lots of money, why not Raja?

  Monetization with YT is sluggish and this is something one should plan for. However, this is a digital medium where advertising drives everything. Most channels who do Raja's music compilations are making money on YT. Those are the nostalgia channels. I think Raja can easily make money if he comes out with fresh good music. If shooting videos is difficult (if he wants to start the channel on a shoestring budget), simply release the audio with some standard imagery to begin with. You cannot sustain that as the worldwide audience to music has moved from 'listening' to 'watching'. Once your channel takes off, you can shoot videos and release those tracks again.

  As the old saying goes, "if you keep doing the same thing, do not expect the results to be any different".

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  jaiganesh on Thu May 30, 2019 10:26 pm

https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ilaiyaraaja-on-his-spat-with-sp-balasubrahmanyam/article27288083.ece?fbclid=IwAR0IQ_zkZvtpnw4X-slxTshD8pWwZzokXW0a56_87pgtKWseVnmsAjEHNTE

So the music college is real. Good news..

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:17 am

Sorry I know I haven't been very active here, but needed to say I find this whole discussion totally surreal. The man's 76 and everyone but a small fraction of his fans accepts that his best is behind him and he is at the twilight of his career. Based on his increasingly bizzare rants and painfully embarrassing interactions with college kids and... I would even go so far as to say disgraceful  behavior in the recent Chennai concert, I think it is best for him if he retires gracefully. For whatever reason he comes across as very bitter these days and I'm afraid the public won't indulge him forever. The  video below has convinced me that the best course for him would be to retire gracefuly and keep public concerts, interactions and interviews at a minimum. Basically be more like like Yesudas and MSV in their twilight. Shaming a poor security guard, lecturing the audience  "en isayial thaane vaazhndhu kondu irukkireergal" and therefore they should bear with thirst is the straw that broke this camel's back. 

https://twitter.com/itzjackmails/status/1135280250361929730?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1135280250361929730%7Ctwgr%5E393039363b636f6e74726f6c&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinkvilla.com%2Fentertainment%2Fsouth%2Filaiyaraaja-gets-angry-security-personnel-during-concert-video-goes-viral-454048

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Post  app_engine on Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:38 pm

fring151,

Like I said, he is best when at studio.

Actually when he was at market peak, he totally avoided interviews / stages etc. which was very helpful.

True he is 76 but personally I think he still has some great music to give - like, another NEPV.

Just lamenting here that he doesn't get such opportunities.

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Post  SenthilVinu on Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:29 pm

I echo the thoughts and frustrations posted here. I think this is the worst the music industry has been in the history of Tamil/Indian cinema. I have a strange feeling that he has made "peace" with the industry. All the PR tours and mini-concerts scare me a lot. There is no doubt he can score some great music if he gets the right opportunity! Nothing wrong in being greedy for his new music.

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Raja's present state (2019) and next steps Empty Re: Raja's present state (2019) and next steps

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:32 pm

app_engine wrote:fring151,

Like I said, he is best when at studio.

Actually when he was at market peak, he totally avoided interviews / stages etc. which was very helpful.

True he is 76 but personally I think he still has some great music to give - like, another NEPV.

Just lamenting here that he doesn't get such opportunities.

When Raja works in his studio, his music is entertainment; when he is out of the studio, he is entertainment.


Once he realizes this, everything will be fine.

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