When I was about 13, I wasn’t particularly into music (at least not in the way that I am now). Almost all of the music that constituted my world was the Smashing Pumpkins and despite the fact that it sounded great, I didn’t really unders...
When I was about 13, I wasn’t particularly into music (at least not in the way that I am now). Almost all of the music that constituted my world was the Smashing Pumpkins and despite the fact that it sounded great, I didn’t really understand the rage. Enter FM radio stations. The radio, before the internet, showed me why this music mattered. I heard about Elvis and Buddy Holly and the rebellious nature of rock ‘n roll. I began to understand how musical eras progressed and the artists that made this progression happen. I gained a perspective about the music being played and with it, my desire to understand it grew. If it weren’t for radio, my relationship with music would have stayed casual. Even with all the other sort-of-awful-non-interesting music they played along with the good stuff, radio still made for an important part of my musical education. It also gave me a tolerability quotient; I can at least understand why popular music (of the not-so-good kind) is popular and that alone is a boon in understanding why other styles of music that are, in my opinion, better, aren’t as popular. Listening to radio anywhere should give you a decent idea of what most people in the area you’re in find entertaining.
This is why traditional radio is relevant, claims Kiran Sreedhar, Head of Programming at Radio Indigo, Bangalore’s only 24-hour radio station that programs international music (find out what FM radio stations in the country are doing to stay relevant to the hashtag generation in Mixed Signals). “You could listen to the same songs on your iPod or another device or on the internet, but with radio, there is a human element that cannot be replaced. Internet radio is great too, but when you are listening to something that is being streamed from Australia in Bangalore, you won’t know what is happening in Bangalore. The time, the geographical references and everything else will differ greatly,” he adds. If you’re someone who listens to radio just for music though, a nostalgic sense of geographical context and relevance doesn’t really count for much if your station of choice only plays dated hits from the ’80s and the ’90s (seriously, even Toto’s doesn’t play ‘Karma Chameleon’ any more). Enter internet radio.
The story of indie internet radio in India can be traced back to Gaurav Vaz (bassist of Bangalore’s The Raghu Dixit Project). Vaz was in a band called Phenom when he came across an internet radio station run by a friend and decided to establish his own. He wanted to create a platform for independent music which, until that time, was only available to fans through live performances. After getting together with Shreyas Srinivasan, a Bangalore-based engineer (later the co-founder of NH7.in), Vaz started RadioVeRVe, one of the country’s first online radio stations. The station would play music at bit-rates as low as 64kbps, but it would give people music that they wouldn’t be able to hear anywhere else. Initially, it wasn’t even a music streaming service. It was an internet radio station modeled around a real radio station. After building a modest library of music, the duo and some friends would sit down and record radio shows, featuring interviews with artists and short biographical snippets about the artists featured on the radio. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that RadioVeRVe was what laid down the most successful model for internet radio in India. It was pure music, streaming endlessly in a clatter of Bollywood and outdated commercial music-playing FM stations.
Stream The Raghu Dixit Project’s music below on NH7.in’s own radio player.
[trackplayer 137, 138]
The relative success of RadioVeRVe laid the foundations of internet radio in India. From fueling the rise of discovery platforms like NH7.in, to creating a model for newer stations like BC Radio and Tune Patrol, it gave rise to a very particular type of platform that
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