New Delhi: Remember the last time you walked into a music store to buy a pop music album? The era of the 1990s may have seen an upsurge in private albums by singers like Baba Sehgal, Anamika, Shaan and Jasbir Jassi, but their charm and popularity seem to have faded over the years.
A few artists blame the audience`s preference for the change while others point fingers at music companies, saying these are hesitant to invest in such albums.
"First we need to address the question whether the audience wants such music or not. The singers do come up with albums, but there are no sales," music composer-lyricist Prasoon Joshi told IANS.
Joshi has been a lyricist for several Indipop albums like Shubha Mudgal`s "Ab ke Saawan" and even Silk Route`s "Dooba Dooba". He says the fault lies equally with the audience and artists.
"I think some of the fault is from our (music fraternity`s) side also, as artists are not coming up with such albums. Singers are readily getting film songs and they are probably satisfied with that.
"However, some of the responsibility lies with audience as well because they have not been demanding such albums. The effort has to be made from both sides," he added.
Most of today`s well-known singers of Bollywood -- Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan started their careers by singing in private albums. Their songs were a rage.
Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi is also one of those who won several hearts with his foot-tapping, non-film compositions. He rose to instant fame with his debut album "Bolo Ta Ra Ra Ra", and Mehndi continued his success story through Bollywood.
"One can easily make a film in the budget of Rs.3 crore and they do fairly well at the box-office. Surprisingly, composing a music album also costs the same...but Indian music companies are not ready to invest so much money in an album. They don`t want to do anything except for Bollywood music," rued Mehndi, who had also given successful albums like "Dardi Rab Rab" and "Tunak Tunak".
Mehndi, whose younger brother Mika graduated from pop music to Bollywood, says most music channels and radio stations also now give preference to film songs.
"Music channels used to promote non-film music vigorously. But they are increasingly playing Bollywood music now. They tell us:`If you want us to play your music, you have to give us money`. The same is the case with radio stations. They also ask for money and, as a result, all the known, pop artists started taking a backseat," he said.
Singer-composer Anu Malik, who has also created albums like "Dekho baarish ho rahi hai", "Tera Chehra" and "Dhua dhua", says marketing an album plays a key role in making it a success.
"Music has changed with time. There was an era when private albums were very popular, but music today has changed. With new technology, different kinds of music is being made. I think a lot depends on how you market your music...so that people stay hooked to it," said Malik.
Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy and filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor miss private albums and say they would be happy to see them back in the racks.
"I really miss private albums. It was a medium through which artists expressed themselves. I want them to be back," said Krishnamurthy.
Kukunoor said: "Private albums are being neglected and they have completely disappeared. It is high time the culture came back as it would be really great for the Indian music industry."