With a population of 1.3 billion in just a single country, it is no surprise that this culture’s music has so much influence all around the world. Both these Eastern songs have an influence on the Western world, but so does the West on the East. It is basically a constant exchange of information, skill, and creativity between these “fronts”.
However, this was not the case in the past. Before the Internet, phones and all of this technology that makes searching and sharing information easier, India’s music industry was not as huge and widespread as today. You would think that it would have an impact without such technology because it had a population of over a billion even in the ’90s, but it actually wasn’t.
If you lived in the West throughout the ’80s and ’90s then you are probably well aware that finding a cassette or CD of an Indian musician was simply impossible.
Fortunately, with easy access to the Internet and various song streaming websites and applications such as Spotify, YouTube Music, and iTunes, accessing the Indian music industry is easy as one, two and three.
What’s even more interesting is that this country actually surpassed the United States in the smartphone market which places it as second place right after China. This market is estimated to have an even bigger rise during the years 2020 and 2021. While this might not be the most accurate metric, but we believe that this sudden rise in the market, will contribute to Indian music and its influence on a global level.
In other words, more people will start listening to songs in Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam languages on streaming services on Spotify or YouTube music which will increase the chances of it being recommended to someone from the West. More Indian playlists will be created, more artists will start being added to these platforms and so on.
Another huge reason why songs from this country are so easily spread to neighboring cultures and even as far as Western Europe and the Americas. It is no secret that Bollywood is the most prolific film industry in the entire world, even more than Hollywood.
Although, keep in mind that Hollywood still holds the number one position for most viewers and the highest amount of gross box office. In fact, in 2017, Hollywood managed to rack up a box office of more than 11 billion US dollars while Bollywood reached $2.3 billion. It is definitely an impressive number, but still not enough to surpass the Cinema of the United States, but it is certainly following that path. We might actually see a change of popularity in this industry in about ten or twenty years.
Why is the presence of these movies so important for the music? Well, if you have ever watched any movie from India or Bollywood then you probably already know just how much love they have for creating unique compositions, scores, and album for films. Most motion pictures that come out of this country are filled with songs, dance and lip-synching which is why it is so popular with the natives. If you are interested in listening to Bollywood scores, you should definitely check out masstamilan.
These are usually considered to be Indian pop songs, but their inspiration usually comes from traditional or classical music.
The influence of Bollywood is so strong these days that it is now implemented in the culture of the people in this country. Wherever you go, you will see posters, clothing and sometimes even food products that are related to films coming out of this industry.
If you have had no previous experience watching a motion picture from Bollywood, your first thought when watching one would be that the picture is a musical. While it might be true for Western culture, the idea of singing and dancing in a movie is a feature that you would rarely see left out.
To put it simply, the soundtracks and dancing are what makes these movies so unique and attractive to audiences outside of the Eastern world.
Now that we have gone through some of the reasons why their music is so influential and widespread, we are going to go through some artists that have earned recognition all over the world and especially in the United States.
You might say that Ravi Shankar, single-handedly brought the Indian classical sound in the United States which then spread all around the planet. This master of the sitar instrument was well known for his Hindustani classical compositions. Many musicians from all around the world claim that they have been influenced by Ravi Shankar. This could mean that even the pop songs that we listen to today in 2020, could have been influenced by the Indian classical sound.
After 64 of creating songs and composing, in 1999 Ravi Shankar earned the ward of highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna. The Bharat Ratna is usually awarded to people who have been recognized for exceptional performance or service to the country. And Ravi definitely deserves this recognition.
In the 1960s, Ravi decided that he would go on tour in Western countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and finally in the United States. He even met with George Harrison who was the lead guitarist of The Beatles at the time. George claims that Ravi Shankar had an immense influence on his way of thinking and his understanding of music which is one of the reasons why you could hear a lot of sounds from Indian classical music in their songs.
Zakir Hussain was a prominent Tabla player who has toured in Europe and the United States. After his tours, he quickly gained recognition throughout the world. A lot of American artists at the time took a lot of interest in his way of playing instruments and collaborated with him. You could see collaborations with artists such as John McLaughlin, Pat Martino and many more.