Challenging opportunities: When Indian regional music gets online
First Monday

Challenging opportunities: When Indian regional music gets online by Florence Nowak

Along with better connectivity, massive free music downloading and streaming have reached the Himalayan ranges of the Garhwal region (North India) in the 2000s. It has been a game changer for the creation, circulation and consumption practices of Garhwali music, a repertoire sung in the local dialect. MP3s and MP4s are gradually replacing DVDs and CDs on the market, and the economic scenario is comparable to that of national creative industries: a more scattered distribution of content and profits, a tougher competition for visibility. Yet Garhwali music also faces specific challenges due to its topography, high percentage of emigrants and labeling as “regional music”; these challenges can be analyzed ethnographically from the point of view of artists and audiences. Indeed, Garhwali music’s diffusion lies increasingly in the hands of the listeners on one hand, who upload content, circulate it off-line, act as trend setters and make it a matter of collective cultural heritage; and in the hands of bigger third-party players on the other hand, who, like label T-Series, are engaged in a battle against piracy. In such online distribution channels, visibility is the key value and the law is not always the reference for authority or authorship. The situation is dire for most local artists and producers, but strategies are being experimented to take advantage of this new environment.


A shift of power towards distribution
Competing for visibility
Overlapping regimes of authority
Global and local in the making




Grazing cows in a village of two hundred souls at the foot of the Indian Himalayan range can be a tad boring for a 22-year old. The rain doesn’t help. But the feature phone does: it has a collection of 50 popular songs in the local Garhwali dialect, all named on the lines of “Track 01” or “Superhitgarhwali_091099”. Ashish explains in Hindi: “I took them from the computer, from some website, and then I put them on my phone. Sometimes [my father] listens to them too.” [1] Garhwali, a dialect of the Pahari (West Himalayan) linguistic group, is still widely understood and spoken but used as a main language by an ever decreasing part of the region’s eight million inhabitants [2] (Government of India, 2011). The administrative division that is now called Garhwal makes for half of the hill state of Uttarakhand, adjacent to Tibet and Nepal. It is commonly retrospectively interpreted as a time-old coherent cultural unit, although historically its borders were quite fluctuant (Joshi, 1990). Uttarakhand itself only became a state in 2001 — carved out from the larger state of Uttar Pradesh after a forty-year long struggle. Zooming in, Garhwal can be divided in roughly three layers: the urbanized Gangetic plains to the South (with the state capital Dehradun and famous Rishikesh and Haridwar); the mid-altitude hills above them (connected to transport infrastructures); and the higher alpine ranges at the Northern border, where many villages are almost self-sufficient. Ashish lives in the Gangetic plains during the week, where he works part-time to fund his studies; he comes back to the mountains to help his parents with their subsistence crops for the weekend, bringing back a supply of fresh fruit, sweets and downloaded music.

Ashish has access to a landline connection in the plains and can get online on his phone through EDGE when the mobile network works well enough in the hills. Most people in Garhwal have several SIM cards on the same phone to make sure they get at least one workable network when they are up, and, as the cost of feature phones has dropped since 2010, more and more of them use it for the Internet. Although computers are still very rare in the rural areas where electricity supply is unstable [3], they have become a standard entertainment and work platform in the region’s middle towns like Srinagar, Chamba or Pauri. Wired line Internet is provided in the valley districts of Dehradun and Haridwar by standard Indian operators like Sify, and FTTH connectivity is available in mid-range hill districts through providers like BSNL. The following diagrams from the 2011 national Census in Uttarakhand show that none of the surveyed households even possessed a computer in 2001, but one-fifth of the urban and one tenth of the rural households owned one 10 years later.


Computer owners according to 2011 Census
Note: Larger version of image available here.


In parallel, telephone equipment has increased tremendously in Uttarakhand just as it has all over the country. Cheaper prepaid schemes and aggressive marketing have proven efficient; all the more so as temporary migration is the norm for Garhwali men and youth, who therefore need to remain in constant touch with their relatives. English-speaking students in Delhi or abroad thus use the Internet to Skype with their parents in Garhwal, and working men employed in the plains make sure to call home daily. With an estimated 42 percent of Garhwali families counting at least one out-migrated member [4], the need for connectivity is high.


Telephone owners according to 2011 Census
Note: Larger version of image available here.


This growing access to connected multimedia devices has affected the Garhwali popular music industry, notably its production, distribution and reception practices. The Garhwali industry of recorded popular music has been developing since the 1950s (Fiol, 2008), with a golden age in the 1990s along with the popularization of video compact discs (VCDs) and digital versatile discs (DVDs). Around the 2000s, it has then taken a similar path to that of European and North American creative industries: it was forced to gradually adapt to the digital economy of mass mediated music. What happened to European and American music majors is well-known, yet the consequences and operational modes of that change in Garhwal are somewhat different. They are specific to the interaction of regional markets with the global circulation of ideas and products.

In India, the focus has only recently started to shift from the Mumbai Bollywood film and music industry, to other big regional scenes like Kollywood or Tollywood, finally to sub-regional industries like that of Garhwal. This study draws on two field trips conducted from July to December 2013 and March to April 2014 [5], both in Garhwal and in Delhi. Participant observation was conducted in production studios in Dehradun, Srinagar and Delhi, in concerts and musical or ritual events, as well as in rural areas with the help of NGO Himcon. About a hundred interviews were recorded with studio staff, artists, listeners, distributors and scholars in urban, suburban and rural contexts. In 2012, I had first conducted a Master’s thesis in French with Emmanuelle Olivier to determine whether the audience for online Garhwali music clips could be analyzed as a “community”. Intrigued by the recurrent debates of users about the “Garhwaliness” of these music clips, I started a Ph.D. with the intention to study the Garhwali music production and reception system in Garhwal itself, moving away from the Internet issue. However it rapidly caught up with my work: be it in big urban centers of the plains, in small mountain towns or in villages and hamlets, the downloaded MP3s and MP4s were omnipresent. As Ratnakar Tripathy has shown in Bihar with a case study of Bhojpuri music (2012), subregional industries occupy a central place in the cultural landscape of India. As their listeners often relocate and their products often circulate online, such industries also pertain to issues of migration and globalization, eventually acting — or rather being partially used — as referents for a “vernacular identity” (Tripathy, 2012).

So how does massive free online access to music inform a creative industry that thrives on being local? What are the individual and collective strategies developed to accompany the digitalization of a regional repertoire? Digital music formats and their online circulation affect local music scenes as much as national industries. Much work has been done on the digitalization of music from the point of view of economics, science of communication and sociology. Anthropology can bring a complementary focus through the direct observation of creation, circulation and consumption practices. Particularly for cases of regional music industries where the factor of locality is important, field work allows us to conduct ethnographic observation in the long run and stay closest to the current evolution of the situation. The point of a bottom-up approach is to start our reflection from the actors’ own practices and infer patterns therefrom, rather than to deduce their behavior from a systematic model at the risk of artificially forcing the data to match the theory. Online practices inform the production, the distribution and the reception of regional music in ways that are specific to each particular environment; to understand these effects, case studies are therefore crucial.

In order to keep in focus the creation, the circulation and the reception of Garhwali music, our question can be tackled from four different points of view that imply actors from the whole communication chain. The itinerary of songs and clips online first depends on distribution practices, secondly on the producers and artists’ own implication. Thirdly, it seems to follow certain explicit or implicit norms; and finally, to be partially appropriated as a cultural heritage issue.



A shift of power towards distribution

Firstly, the easy uploading of Garhwali music on the Internet has endowed the listeners with more diffusion capacity, turning them into a major actor in the distribution infrastructure.

The unauthorized market of pirated cassettes, CDs, VCDs and DVDs is as old as the industry itself, like in the rest of India (Manuel, 1993). It functions roughly on the same model as the authorized market, with a chain of suppliers and retailers; but unlike the official circuit it also gets further diffracted by copies of copies for private use or reselling purposes. Today very few shops keep selling physical music media in Garhwal. In official outlets that buy annual licenses [6] from the labels they offer, scarcely any Garhwali music remains in the boxes. The biggest catalogue I saw was in Dehradun: about 30 titles lying in a corner beneath walls and walls of Western and Hindi film music from the Bollywood industry. Quite strategically so, the owner was intending on stopping music sales entirely to convert into a sound equipment shop: if people provide their own content, sell them media to play it! Other smaller shops were keeping Garhwali titles for a regular audience, one they consistently said was not particularly older than before but certainly more choosy. When sales numbers dip, the shopkeepers can hardly compensate with a price raise: like any other product in India, CDs and DVDs are sold at a fixed maximum retail price (MRP). One extra advantage with pirate copies is that they are subject to no such limitation. Music retailers also pay between INR 6,000 and 10,000 (US$100 to 160) a year to buy retailing licenses from the labels; however, they did not complain about the price of these licenses but rather put the blame on increases in rent and the electricity bill, saying these were driving them out of business. Dehradun has indeed become a state capital with the creation of the Uttarakhand state in 2000, and it can now hardly contain the inflow of workers and services that followed.

Yet unauthorized retailers who sell pirated copies on the street seem to have even more suffered from the digital turn than sedentary shops. On as short a period as 2009 to 2014, they have gone from hard-to-avoid to hard-to-find. Only two of them still work in the main market of Dehradun, while others have settled on the outskirts of the city. They are better off in the smaller cities like Srinagar or Chamba, where they remain a stable provider and often a local landmark. The manager of label Himalayan Films estimates that the cost of transporting DVDs to the hills considerably reduces the profit margin, which already hardly covers the production, printing and promotion costs since a VCD currently sells for INR 20 to 40 (less than one dollar). The official retailers being thus less and less provided by the labels themselves, unofficial retailers have become the norm in the more remote parts of the hills. To sum up, the distribution of physical media has dropped overall since the 2000s, both through legal and illegal networks.

Symmetrically, the online circulation of music files (mainly MP3 and MP4) has multiplied. As soon as a new album is released, it is made available on various Web sites by listeners. The intensity of this activity greatly varies: some put up a particular videoclip once or twice on general platforms like Facebook, some are well-known regular providers who act as semi-professional distributors, for example, on YouTube, and some have even dedicated whole Web sites to their collection of Garhwali music, like GTube ( Most videoclips are directly accessible in streaming, and often embedded in other pages from a YouTube video. But MP3 songs can also be downloaded from Indian and Pakistani Web sites, although finding the right file requires a little more research.

Either out of fear of being caught for copyright infringement or through sheer negligence, most illegal content providers name their files with generic appellations like “Garhwali Hit 2012”, “Garhwali geet” (music) or even “Unknown08”. It is therefore difficult for any user to clearly identify what he or she is downloading, and most of their consumption is in fact not chosen a priori but decided on the spot: they rely on secondary information and metadata to make a choice, like playlists recommended by the Web site, user comments, the date of upload, the quality and weight of the file or links given by other sites. Even on YouTube it is not always possible to make out the title of the song or the name of the artist, and one then also has to rely on secondary information. The whole distribution system is therefore based on recommendation; it thus gives more importance to trend setters and opinion leaders. Some users and some Web sites have taken up this role very effectively and have in fact become sources of primary information on Garhwali music as a whole. For example the Facebook pages dedicated to Garhwali music like “I love garhwali songs” or “Garhwali Music” update their targeted audience about every new song that comes up, provide song lyrics and sometimes translations, as well as first-hand information about shooting locations, singers and actors’ biographies or award ceremonies.

Music videos and MP3s also attract listeners towards more generalist Web sites about Uttarakhand and hence act as relay points to access a much broader cultural content. The Web site Apna Uttarakhand ( for example is a major reference on everything Garhwali: it features reviews of literature and music, news and special reports, articles on the region’s history and dialect. It also hosts a forum called Mera Pahad (“my mountain”, on which the music section is very developed. Registered users exchange video links, song lyrics, comparative analyses of their meaning or context, anecdotes on singers; but also start debates on broader issues like the “Decreasing Standard of Uttarakhand Music — उत्तराखंडी गानों का गिरता स्तर” [7].

Besides, more and more legal options are available to watch or download Garhwali music online. The main provider is the national label T-Series, which buys back selected songs from the catalogue of locally recorded artists. Independent studios based in Dehradun, Srinagar, Chamba or Delhi act as talent scouts, identifying potential stars, recording them and marketing them on the local market first, then eventually reselling the exploitation rights of their best artists to T-Series. The label Himalayan Films created by Garhwali music’s most emblematic singer Narendra Singh Negi intends to provide an alternative to this system, re-rooting both the production and distribution locally in order to keep the money inflows within Garhwal. These two labels are so far the only ones offering online purchase. However in both cases it is a mail delivery service of physical media, targeting mainly Garhwali migrants settled elsewhere in India. T-Series does offer paying MP3 downloading, but only for a limited Bollywood and Hindustani Classical repertoire. T-Series in fact provides free access to its Garhwali catalogue itself: on its YouTube channel “tseriesregional” it puts up all the videoclips that are also circulated on TV music channels, plus some exclusive content. Giving away streamed clips of the lesser known artists online is indeed all to the good for T-Series: this mode of diffusion costs practically nothing, and it helps test or develop the singer’s fan base before further deals are made on future albums.

Garhwali music eventually follows a wide variety of circulation routes on the Web. From the moment an album is released, it is consumable simultaneously through the original physical media, or unauthorized copies of it, on TV music channels, on the radio, through streaming on generalist Web sites or on specialized platforms, on feature phones and MP3 players after downloading or copying.

One important effect of such multichannel and unregulated distribution is that third-party actors eventually get more market power. The most common chain of communication that theoretically applies to music industries is this schema:




But in our case, at each step of this process, other ramifications complicate the songs’ circulation. For example Garhwali singers are frequently asked by the label to distribute part of the hard copies themselves, and they can also decide to put some content online; or the editor can choose to hand over his catalogue to both legit and unauthorized distributors, whose clients will in turn further broadcast the song; or consumers may develop a regular activity of copying CDs, passing on USBs and uploading files. This makes for parallel and looping circulation paths, where promotion, placement and retailing are scattered. Ultimately the popularity of the work is considerably augmented, both among the general audience and among a specialized audience that is highly involved in its consumption. In theory, following the above schema, this popularity should benefit all the actors of the chain who have contracted with each other to ensure exclusivity: the value trickles down the chain from deal to deal. But with the actual disheveled diffusion circuit, exclusivity goes down the drain since the product is leaking at each link and the distributed added value shrinks in consequence. But all these listeners eagerly consuming popular music on parallel platforms also represent a business opportunity — not for the industry itself, but for third-party actors. Many companies capitalize on the listeners rather than on the product: feature phone retailers, uploading platforms, advertisers. The more scattered music distribution becomes, the less profit for each music industry actor, but the more audience for other products like ringtones.

This shift of power defines the current relations of local Garhwali studios with bigger labels: regional producers sell the diffusion rights of their best albums [8] to national company T-Series, who does not always print VCDs of the album anymore but systematically puts it up on its YouTube channel “tseriesregional” and on television. The value of a Garhwali album to T-Series does not so much lie in its potential sale price than in its capacity to attract regular listeners. Since at least 2007, Garhwali music clips that are broadcasted on TV channels have started to include advertising banners that follow the credits on the screen. Although they are still infrequent, they could become a lucrative practice. Their effect is multiplied by private copies, since a significant part of online music clips are taken directly from TV broadcasts and uploaded as they are. Many other actors capitalize on this pool of consumers: those who sell advertisement space (like YouTube), and those who advertise on it (like pretty much anybody). This system is enhanced by a network of keywords that widens the audience: “Garhwali” is linked to “pahāḍī” (“from the mountain”, which can relate to anything Himalayan), “regional music” (which can connect to successful industries like Punjabi bhangrā), or “jāgar” (a form of religious music common to other places like Nepal). Singers are acutely aware of the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and gaining visibility online has become a priority for many debut artists.



Competing for visibility

On the Internet, places under the sun have to be fought for. One of the paradoxes of download practices for creative industries is that they made production more tempting but less rewarding. Producing a Garhwali song is practically not profitable anymore, yet much easier and cheaper; and it is in part non-profitable because it has become much more accessible. By multiplying the input sources and output circuits, the Internet has operated a kind of unexpected liberalization of the regional market in the early 2000s. This triggered a growth crisis, because more opportunities also meant tougher competition. Professional labels producing Garhwali music have decreased since 2010, including Rama Cassettes, one of the top three actors, shut down in 2012. Mostly one dominant Garhwali company stays in the race: Himalayan Films, owned by popular singer Narendra Singh Negi who has become a major actor of the regional public space. Even this label is now struggling, and has cut down its yearly production to a few albums. In addition, several independent studios continue to produce their own content to order. They work either for debut singers who auto-produce their first eight tracks, or for labels like Himalayan Films and T-Series, or for their own personal projects which can potentially be sold later on. As Amit Kapoor, music director of the Lokdhwani studio in Dehradun puts it, they work as a “service”. They make “gīt not saṁgīt” (nice and popular but not esthetically thrilling music) on demand for regular clients, in fact very much like the hereditary itinerant musicians who used to be hired for religious or festive performances. Since albums are now used more for publicity than for sale, the end product of recording studios has become just another advertisement tool. It enhances the singers’ rating for concerts and national contracts, but it is not an end in itself. All these small studios are hence facing increasing financial pressure, both because they produce less quantity and because they accept smaller fees. The evolution of the Sur Sagar studio in Srinagar illustrates it physically: from a separate building, it moved to several well-equipped spaces in the music director’s house, and eventually to one single soundproof room. Yet it continues to hire a regular team of musicians, and it diversified its activity with filmmaking and concert organization.

The bigger players have been heavily impacted by illegal online circulation and have tried to oppose this trend. Narendra Singh Negi explains:

“companies say: “if our CD does not sell, then why should we make CDs?’ Today if any company launches a CD on the market, it gets copied. Number one. Second thing is, people upload it on the net, and then everybody downloads it. Now the company is not making any money on this. The company’s CD reached the market, but it does not sell. Who will go to the market, who will buy it? Number three, the cable TV operators keep showing [the music video] from dawn till dusk. There is no copyright, there is no author either. (...) In our Himalayan Films company office here, we have written a letter to 13 distributors. Saying that whatever these people, the cable operators, are broadcasting without authorization, they [the distributors] should stop it. They did not buy the rights to broadcast these, these are our CDs, and they cannot show these albums like this for free. But none of the 13 distributors has taken any action.” [9]

The most popular singers also see this evolution as damaging. Kishan Mahipal, who produced several superhits like “Ghughuti” (2011, the name of an emblematic bird from Garhwal) and considerably renewed the melodic and instrumental inputs of the industry, foresees more difficulties ahead. According to him, the Internet provides an elaborate diffusion network but also cuts through the most important intermediary in the industry — the producer. He says:

“What will happen here? The companies will shut down. And this has become the [market’s] condition in Uttarakhand now. Among 20 [national] companies, there is Garhwali music only in one — T-Series. It’s a Bollywood company. Our Himalayan Films company here is working in difficult conditions. Why? Because you must watch singers on YouTube. Nobody buys [from] the company. If the singer becomes famous, then what is in for him? He will receive calls for stage performances in France, Dubai, the U.S. But the company that gives him a platform [in the first place], if that platform disappears, then what? Nobody is ready to buy CDs anymore. They say, ‘please upload your new song. We want to listen to it for free’.” [10]

Free consumption has become the standard for listeners and has proven fruitful for some singers at least temporarily. Yet the abundance of input sources and the width of the diffusion network means that only big distribution players can market a coherent offer. The Internet has made for more scattered production, but more concentrated distribution.

But alongside these established actors, others have entered the market thanks to the Internet and changed the game: these are smaller studios, semi-professionals and amateurs.

Ravi Rauthan is a singer aiming at renewing the Garhwali repertoire and bringing in fusion elements in his music. He uses YouTube because “Internet can reach anywhere for a cheap price”. However he does not intend on becoming fully professional, and is instead preparing for the national eligibility test (NET) to become a teacher. He is indeed acutely aware that increased visibility does not mean increased income:

“When there is no [previous] audition in the market, then nobody buys the CD. (...) All sorts of singers are coming in order to gain popularity, but there is no way to earn with this. Even when my father had shot a [music video] project, I had told him that he couldn’t make money from it, that he could only do it out of personal passion. Because what happens is, making a Garhwali album takes about between 150,000 and 200,000 rupees [US$2,500 to 3,300]. Then people go to T-Series (...) and [T-Series] buys it for 50,000 rupees [US$850]. (...) Then [T-Series] launch it in their own way. They might [promote] it or they might not. No one will know anyway because no one is watching.” [11]

It is thus accessible for anyone with sufficient funds to produce their own work out of passion, but in the knowledge that it will eventually get drowned in unpaid and low-audience diffusion. As Ravi Rauthan puts it, “it’s not stealing, it’s business”: T-Series is not recovering more than INR 50,000 profit on physical sales either, since most of the diffusion is made on their YouTube channel. There is an overwhelming offer from debut singers, and very little demand on the labels’ side.

Some singers on the contrary have bet everything on the possibilities offered online. Young singer Shashwa Jai Pandit’s first sentence to me, when contacted for an interview, was: “My guru is YouTube.” In this he was repeating the opening quote of an article on him by Neha Pant in the Hindustan Times Dehradun. He participated in the season 6 of Indian Idol and made it to the top 30. He is now capitalizing on this popularity:

“I don’t have a producer who can invest on me. But I have YouTube fans. [And] if you have 50 000 rupees, you can make an album.” To him “Internet is the revolution” and can allow Garhwali music to become “global”. He has developed a careful marketing strategy for his career, and builds his image around this entrepreneurship spirit: “I’m an observer. (...) I’m into the music to make an identity. (...) You need to have your own identity [12].” [13]

With his fashionable outfit and his sense of language elements, Shashwa Jai Pandit seems to consider that “the medium is the message” (Mc Luhan, 1964) and that diffusion comes before production. He has indeed not yet produced a full album of original compositions, but always carries a USB loaded with karaoke songs in his pocket so that he can perform anywhere, anytime.



Overlapping regimes of authority

If one traces back the whole chain of diffusion of Garhwali music online, yet bigger players start to appear. From amateurs and semi-professionals to independent studios, to local labels like Himalayan Films, to national labels like T-Series, to third-party advertisement platforms like YouTube ... One finally reaches the issue of copyright law on a global scale. Here different systems seem to cohabitate to define who possesses legal or moral authority over the distribution of music.

In the early 2000s, when illegal mp3s and mp4s started competing with the flourishing sales of Garhwali DVDs and CDs, most of the producers opposed them passively. But since 2010, it has become clear that the chain of income was broken at the crucial point of transferring exclusive exploitation rights. Even leaving out illegal MP3 and MP4 downloads, Garhwali singers could indeed become immensely rich if they won one rupee on each legit view of their songs. Yet they never sign contracts on a royalty payment basis — only fixed amounts. Although that practice has been clearly deemed illegal both in texts and in jurisprudence, it is liberally used from the act of creation, to that of production, all the way to reproduction and sale. What about Indian copyright law? “Oh, there is no such thing.” [14] A knowledgeable Garhwali music fan who uploads regular videoclips on YouTube stated: “The copyright issue is not even in the Bollywood [industry] in India. This is not our business.” [15] Musicians and singers sign fixed-payment contracts with the recording studios, who then sign fixed-payment contracts with labels, who then sign fixed-payment contracts with distributors. The legal chain is thus repeatedly interrupted, when the aim of this “Russian dolls’ system of exploitation rights transfers was precisely to maintain the author’s authority throughout. With this system challenged repeatedly, the de facto ‘authorship’ of one song is not only determined by legal copyright but also by other perceived ‘regimes of authority’ (Olivier, 2012). Like in the Roman Republic, potestas (judiciary authority belonging to a public body) is one thing but it can be supplemented by auctoritas (legitimate authority belonging to one person, the auctor).

On the level of lawful authorship, the legal system is rather flexible towards digital music sharing. The Indian Copyright Act (CA) of 1957 indeed states since 2008 that infringements can only be attacked by the copyright beneficiaries themselves. The charge of control thus lies on the beneficiaries, who have to gather to monitor content more efficiently. The CA defines copyright as the “exclusive right [of the author] to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts in respect of a work or any substantial part thereof, namely” [16] among other uses: interpreting or making the work public (as in any upload), recording it and storing it in any form (like an MP3), adapting it (e.g., in a cover), reproducing and distributing it (in pirated CDs for example) or transmitting it by any digital means (including USBs or the Internet). The CA however accommodates exceptions listed in the law as ‘fair dealing’, a notion less flexible than that of fair use since it cannot be extended by the judges. Fair dealing has concerned videos too since 2012 and thus authorizes for example their use for private consumption or for reviews and informative articles. What’s more, Internet service providers (ISPs) and virtual private network (VPN) providers have been given a ‘safe harbour’ since 2008, as their temporary or accidental storage of a copyrighted work is tolerated. By extension this also protects the user: “transient or incidental storage of a work or performance for the purpose of providing electronic links, access or integration” is tolerated if “such links, access or integration has not been expressly prohibited by the right holder”. However the protection falls if “the person responsible is aware or has reasonable grounds for believing that such storage is of an infringing copy” [17].

Even when the law provides a strict frame of protection, copyright holders do not always use it. A good example is the status of unauthorized covers, which are expressly forbidden since the 2012 Amendment. The song “Why This Kolaveri Di” issued on YouTube by singer Dhanush in 2011 was covered several thousands of times all over India, including at least 20 covers in Garhwali by various actors (DJs, Rotary Club students, debut singers ...). All are technically illegal [18]. According to the law, their authors should establish a contract with Sony Music Entertainment (owner of the exploitation rights), pay an advance on the sales, and produce a minimum of 50,000 copies of the cover — unless they obtain a derogation from the Copyright Board to lower that threshold, on the ground that Garhwali is not widely spoken. Such conditions are close to impossible for independent studios in Garhwal. But since viral marketing was part of Sony’s strategy, none of the covers have been attacked.

However, the strongest protection of copyright has not come from the law. The battle has been led by the Indian Music Industry (IMI) lobby, an association of 142 phonographic editors. While the Garhwali music industry producers have not opposed infringements with legal action so far, the national distributors have organized a true war on piracy. Prevention spots in cinemas, banners on YouTube, press conferences — the communication campaign alone cost an alleged two million rupees (according to specialized webzine MediaNama). T-Series, the label that buys back most of the Garhwali repertoire and broadcasts it on its own YouTube channel tseriesregional, has also taken repeated legal action. It did not hesitate to directly sue YouTube in 2007, and the case was settled off-court only in 2011. It then pressed charges against the search engine Guruji (Web site shut) that redirected towards infringing content [19]. The Web site’s CEO along with three collaborators got arrested in 2010. T-Series indeed lodged two complaints: one for CA infringement, and one for the prejudice caused, which allows penal prosecution. The same strategy led to the arrest of TV channel GNN Show 9 Infotainment’s director and the seizure of all his equipment in 2011. T-Series hence appears as one of the strongest-willed detractors of illegal music sharing. Each time it prosecuted foreign companies however, the case was dismissed (against MySpace in 2009, Ibido in 2010).

As regards non-legal authority regimes, norms of conduct are less tangibly fixed but nonetheless present. Uploaders of Garhwali music, especially because it is a regional industry to which much emotional loyalty is attached, tend to follow a sort of implicit moral code.

Their legitimacy as trend-setters is acquired through the number of files uploaded, but also judged by the quality and sourcing of their descriptions and by their respect of the artists. It is indeed considered “fair” to upload videos a month or two after their official release, so as to give legal providers a chance to make some profit before circulating the work for free. Similarly, the definition of the video is supposed to remain better in the original than the pirated copy. Thirdly, secondary information about the song (date, artist’s name, genre, region, meaning) should be truthful. Although the surveyed singers and producers see no difference between different uploading practices and condemn them altogether, viewers do punctually call uploaders back to order [20]:

“why have you given wrong info on this song
that this is a new song
I used to listen to this very song in my childhood
please write new only for new songs ............” [21]

“hi dagya sunil, dude you upload videos on youtube that’s fine but because of this the CDs that need to sell in the market can’t sell and the money that is spent making them can’t be recovered, because of which singers then get De-motivated to work ... And they put in less budget so that the quality of the video does not improve. If you want garhwal cinema to make good Videos/Songs like Punjabi or any state’s cinema then” [next comment] “----------- please don’t upload entire songs with original quality on youtube.” [22]

There is thus a sense of responsibility among the online listeners’ community, albeit very little copyright awareness. Like most YouTube users in the world who have recently taken to candidly signaling the content they put up is not “theirs” in videos, Garhwali listeners also mistake copyright rules for an ownership system similar to that of physical goods. On a Blogspot blog called Garhwali Tube ( that displays 70 videoclips, the owner has put up a warning aimed at absolving himself from legal pursuits:

“D I S C L A I M E R
This is to inform that neither nor hosts any of the songs linked from this blog. All the videos in this blog is embedded from the Youtube. This blog contains the links to songs that are freely available on internet. The songs are Copyrights of their respective owners. So check you States’s/Nation’s/Region’s copyright policy before downloading. The songs are for preview purposess only.”

Yet the meaning of these abundant legal references is technically not relevant to the case; it is quite unclear whether the user wants to alert viewers who would be tempted to download the streaming video, or to reject legal responsibility on the first platform where videos were put up without authorization, or to signal that he is not the only one infringing and the videos have therefore practically become common goods. But what is most striking here is his use of the term “copyright” as an attribute of “songs”, what’s more as somebody’s property. “Copyright” here appears as an object that is not really identified, but should be treated with deference because it belongs to someone else. This reification of intellectual property rights is probably one of the major consequences of the massive illegal circulation of works. Copyright law has been the object of many mystifications, sanctifications and distortions during the debates that started in the early 2000s, and some misconceptions seem persistent. The representation and reproduction of works have multiplied out of control, circulation is polymorph, multiformat and temporary, and it is impossible for Internet users to grasp all the previous and future uses that were or will be made of a song they share. Understandably so, they often reason that copyright rules cannot apply to the uses of music since theses uses are too hard to grasp. They deduce that copyright refers instead to content, and that it works just like property right. Intellectual property is assimilated to physical property; content is assimilated to its format; the message to the medium. Many Garhwali listeners tend to assume that rules apply to a commercial good rather than to its uses, and therefore put up copyrighted content with a sincere warning that the work does not “belong” to them. They seem unaware of the fact that putting it up without permission is in itself illegal.



Global and local in the making

I would like to draw attention to one last consequence of mass digital music circulation for the Garhwali industry. Just as the sense of belonging is intensified when one leaves home, the “sense of place” (Stokes, 2004; Feld and Basso, 1996) linked to music is exacerbated in its circulation [23].

The Garhwali population, as mentioned earlier, counts many out-migrants. Mobility within and outside the state of Uttarakhand is high, as urban plains and valleys offer more employment and education opportunities than the rural hills. Depending on the studies, the proportion of Uttarakhand inhabitants permanently resettling outside the state varies from seven to 24 percent [24] and invariably counts a large majority of men. Whether they live in Delhi, in more distant Indian centers like Bombay or abroad, these migrants do not have access to physical music media. They could find at best a few evergreen VCDs of the biggest stars in Garhwali neighborhoods, but these are mainly pirated copies and they are getting harder and harder to find. For the migrants, Garhwali music comes first and foremost from the Internet. Comments of viewers on YouTube reveal this need:

“thanks for uploading the song. it is our real culture and we love it very very much much much....” [25]

[Answering to someone who criticized an unauthorized upload:] “brother Sanjay I live in Canada tell me where should I get Garhwali songs from ... . you say ‘don’t put it on you tube’ but see where I’m from see I like Garhwali songs and here there are no Garhwali cds available....................” [26]

The digitalization of Garhwali music allowed it to go global. Migrants in India or abroad used to exchange cassettes in hand (Manuel, 2000); but they can now access any song within a few weeks of its release for free. This adds to the already intense cultural activity of Garhwali migrants. In Delhi for example, several non-profit associations like the Uttarakhand Milan Network Society contribute to promoting their “home culture”. They organize concerts in the city where they invite big names of Garhwali music like Narendra Singh Negi, Gajender Rana, Kishan Mahipal or Pritam Bharatwan. They also invite semi-professional or professional dance companies, as well as poets, politicians and other prominent figures of Garhwal’s public life like environmentalists. Even abroad, Garhwalis sometimes take the initiative to fund a small tour of their favorite artists. Singer Vinod Bijalwan thus performed in Italy, singer Rajnikant Senwal played in Dubai and even conducted a two-week music and dance workshop in Poland. The latter sees potential in such overseas markets, and created a professional Facebook page where he has over 5,000 friends to stay in touch with his online audience.

The potential is indeed high. In a study of the circulation of Garhwali clips on the Internet (Nowak, 2013), within a sample of over 700 single users’ comments on YouTube it was found that about one-third came from abroad. Their comments expressed two quite clear-cut levels of discourse: sheer nostalgia on the one hand, and ideological debates on the other hand. When homesick, people comment on the clips with great fondness:

“thanks for uploading the song. it is our real culture and we love it very very much much much....” [27]

“Wow What a Song.... memories of Garhwal again wake up...” [28]

“ really feels good while watching our culture...!!!!” [29]

But when the video does not match their expectations, heated debates can occur. The audience established abroad indeed questions the representativeness of these videoclips. The circulation of Garhwali music and depictions around the world makes them involuntary ambassadors of culturalism, as many viewers interpret them as symbols of “a culture”. For these viewers, the question at stake is hence what should or should not be shown as Garhwali culture on the World Wide Web.

“I am a garwhali too and I love the way you have aded our culture to you tube” [30]

“brothers and sisters, the authentic truth of my Garhwal is in these songs ... . thank you jain brother for uploading this music” [31]

“Really this is not our culture related. Don’t allow that type song download on youtube & other social site. because spoil our cultural” [32]

“insulting our culture.” [33]

[In mixed Hindi and English:] “what the F**k is this ?? Neither this melody nor this outfit are from our garhwal ... if you want to listen to things like that there’s plenty of bollywood or hollywood ... seriously I’m starting to feel ashamed to call myself Garhwali ... why do you do such cheap work you people ... honestly this is bloody bullshit” [34]

Throughout the comments, several issues come back regularly: Garhwali dialect, women’s status, environment. But the most recurrent one is the question of cultural heritage. Two camps seem to crystallize around the notions of “Modernity vs. Tradition”, which are promptly mixed up with “Western/Indian vs. Garhwali” or “Urban vs. Rural”. From a purely musical point of view however, Garhwali songs rather form a continuum (Olivier, 2012) of stylistic features and references. The creation process in studios implies great flexibility in the artistic choices. On the contrary, online discourses on that music show adamant opinion clashes; during reception and circulation, the songs literally get “tagged” by a non-local audience. Their “garhwaliness” is questioned and judged outside of Garhwal, where it is no longer a given. Their “localness” is most eagerly expected abroad, because that is where it matters most. The construction of culturalist discourses online is not the point of this paper, but suffice it to say that the Internet gives it scope to sometimes develop into more extreme forms than off-line.

Finally, digital Garhwali music gains several second lives through off-line uses. The youth in particular exchange songs intensely on their feature phones and USBs. After one MP3 has been downloaded, it is likely to be passed on to the relatives, to the immediate circle of friends who will pass it on to their friends, or even to shopkeepers and drivers who are always interested in renewing their playlists. If meta-information was already scarce at the point of downloading, it has practically disappeared after two or three of these relays: in the upper regions of Garhwal where first-hand downloading is rare, when asked who was the singer or the song they were listening to, many people admitted they had no idea. Massive free digital access to music also affected the youth’s musical tastes and their listening practices. Even in cybercafés when occasionally a Garhwali videoclip was played, the user could not justify his choice in terms of taste. He had been guided to this clip by keywords, redirecting links and side-bar suggestions. This practice nullifies the approach of most music producers: artists and music directors are struggling to innovate and enhance, to make their music more dancy or more emotional or more suited to whatever they believe their target audience’s taste is — but most of the audience does not really notice. On being asked who their favorite artist was, people invariably named the two or three most popular singers. It is only after much inquiry about their musical tastes that some stylistic preferences began to emerge, such as “I don’t like the vocoder-type songs”. Listening to downloaded music also alters one’s consumption patterns. For example, a girl called Sandhya shared with me that she was a big Garhwali fan. She downloads music regularly and has over a hundred songs at any given point in her phone. But her collection, like that of most youth I met in Garhwal, is very eclectic: she likes Garhwali, Bollywood, international pop, other regional music from India, progressive rock as well as Hindustani classical. In the 13-hour bus drive we spent together, she listened to four Garhwali songs. She had chosen them not because they are smooth, not because she likes the singer’s voice, not because the instrumentation is original; when she downloaded them, all she knew was that they were “Garhwali”. When she used to listen to her cassette collection of Narendra Singh Negi, she knew exactly what song she felt like listening to at any moment, because there was a limited number of them and she knew them all by heart.

In conclusion, since the advent of Napster 15 years ago, the issue of massive online music consumption has spread like fire in the remotest environments. It is very much a game changer for a small regional industry like that of Garhwali popular music, where it raises specific questions that depend on the local context. With a similar case study approach, the Globamus project [35] has researched several such situations in Mali (Emmanuelle Olivier), Colombia (Juan Paulhiac) or Burkina Faso (Élina Djebbari). More generally speaking, several levels of actions, corresponding to several sets of interactions, have been brought to light in recent popular music research. Firstly, the mobility of digital music implies that it circulates intensely both online and off-line: content that is put up on the Internet can be re-used in a concert, for example, and videos of that concert can in turn serve as advertising on the Web. That is one aspect of the champeta market in Columbia that Juan Paulhiac put forward (Olivier, 2012). Secondly, the songs themselves circulate within the same regional industry. Stefan Fiol (2011) has looked more in depth at how the Garhwali repertoire moves from “folk” to “popular” music back and forth according to its use and context. Thirdly, for populations who access digitization in the first place, music can get more accessible geographically, financially and esthetically [36] as the channels of transmission are multiplied. This makes for increased stylistic influence between different genres, to the point where the term “fusion” seems irrelevant and the term “genre” more permeable than ever. Thus the reception of music influences the creation process back, as in bhangra (Goreau-Ponceaud, 2009), sega bollywood (Servan-Schreiber, 2010) or Indian-African fusion (Nowak and Servan-Schreiber, 2013). These increased interactions finally take place within a continuous historical and geographical evolution of music media. Cases like Garhwal can thus be connected to other Indian regional industries (Booth and Shope, 2014; Tripathy, 2012) as well as to many other musical moments in India (Dorin, 2010). On the whole, one common conclusion can be drawn tentatively from these four sets of interaction — off-line/online, folk/pop, intra-genres, intra-media. The changes brought about through the Internet seem to be seamlessly blended in with preexisting local practices on all levels. There is a constant interaction between music creators, listeners and diffusion intermediaries, who tend to cumulate roles; the most various inspiration sources are integrated in what can be termed a “continuum” between innovation and imitation, rather than a patchwork of loans; and the borders tend to get blurred between amateurs and professionals, or self-taught, hereditary and trained musicians. Yet this flexibility also generates tensions, notably in the form of a renewed surge of “regional cultural identity” that draws on folk revivalism. This particular issue was discussed at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music conference in Osnabrück University in October 2014: regional popular music indeed contains an internal paradox, as it is both supposed to remain anchored in a specific local referential and to spread out in an eclectic environment through mass media. It seems that thinking in terms of cultural diversity led to a dead end: the famous culture wars (Kulturkämpfe), or competitions between cultural units. To think ourselves out of this dangerous slump, we often now prefer to put the focus on the ways people (not cultures) strategically adapt to, interact with and integrate changes. In the context of Garhwali music, the Internet did intensify the opposition between the Ancient (defenders of folk tradition) and the Modern (promoters of fusion music), but I believe only as a secondary side effect of a profusion of other adaptation strategies. People eventually debate issues of culturalism, heritage and identity, but they first deal with more direct problems of musicality, learning, social recognition, profitability, distribution, transmission, entertainment, relocation among others. There is tremendous potential in the ethnographic study of how the Internet affects local music scenes, both on the field and on the Web. Let us wish that such a research area can help all players reach a better status, and first and foremost the musicians themselves. As debut Garhwali singer Shashwa Jai Pandit put it, “the industry is dying indeed, but music never stops. The question is: what to do now?” [37] End of article


About the author

Florence Nowak is a Ph.D. candidate at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Her thesis is directed by Catherine Servan-Schreiber and focuses on the changes brought about by digitalization in the regional music industry of Garhwal (North India). Her work has been funded by the Center for Social Sciences and Humanities in Delhi and the Martine Aublet Foundation in Paris. She previously wrote a Master’s thesis in music at EHESS and completed a Master’s in cultural policies at Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’études politiques de Paris). She plays with Indian, French and Indo-French bands as well as baroque ensembles.
E-mail: florence [dot] nowak [at] ehess [dot] fr



1. Personal interview, 17 July 2013, Kimsar. “मैंने computer से लिया है, किसी website से, फिर फ़ोन पे डाल दिया। ‘बिष्ट जी’ भी सुनता है कभी कभी।”.

2. The 2011 governmental linguistic survey of India did not differentiate Garhwali from Hindi in 2001, and the 2011 figures are not yet available. The UNESCO classifies Garhwali as a vulnerable language with an estimated 292,000 speakers.

3. Some non-governmental associations, like Himcon, are providing free cyber cafés and computer literacy education in the hills, but privately owned devices are a luxury.

4. Mamgain, 2004, p. 172.

5. My warm thanks go to my sponsors for these expeditions: the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities in Delhi, and the Martine Aublet foundation. They have provided me with excellent research conditions, useful resources and support.

6. Music retailers in India must take authorization from labels to sell their catalogue. They do so in the form of yearly renewable global licenses whose price is fixed by each label.

7. Started by user M.S. Mehta on 19 November 2007, with a poll asking for the community’s opinion.

8. As a matter of fact, they do “sell” the album here rather than contract on its reproduction rights. The sum they pay is fixed, and they do not get any percentage of the final sales. Although theoretically illegal, this system is prevalent in most of India’s regional music industries.

9. Personal interview of Narendra Singh Negi, 18 July 2013, Dehradun. “company कहती है कि जब मेरी CD नहीं बिकेगी, तो मैं CD क्यों बनाऊँ? और आज अगर कोई Company एक CD market में launch करता है, तो उसकी copy हो जाती है। Number एक। और दो जो है लोग उसे upload कर देते हैं net पर, उसके बाद सारे लोग जो हैं उसे download करते हैं। अब पैसा इसका company को तो नहीं जेया रहा। Company की CD market में पड़ी हुई हैं, वो बिक नहीं रही। बाजार कौन जाएगा, क्यों खरीदेगा? Number three, ये जो Cable TV हैं, operator — ये सुबह से शाम तक इसको दिखते रहते हैं। कोई copyright नहीं है, कोई author भी नहीं है। (…) हमारे यहाँ Himalayan Films company का office है, हमने 13 distributors को letter लिखे हैं। की आप येह unauthorized जो ये लोग दिखा रहे हैं, cable operators, इनको रोकिए। इन्होने कोई rights नहीं लिए हैं इनको दिखाने के लिए, ये हमारा CD है, और इस album को ऐसे नहीं दिखा सकते, free में। लेकिन 13 distributors ने इस पर कोई action नहीं लिया।”.

10. Personal interview of Kishan Mahipal, 18 July 2013, Dehradun. “यहाँ क्या होगा? Company बंद हो जाएगी। और यही हालत Uttarakhand में हुई है। 20 company में से एक company में — T-Series में — गढ़वाल की music है। Bollywood की company है। हमारे यहाँ जो Himalayan company है वो नुकसान में काम कर रही है। क्यों? क्योंकि singer को YouTube में देखना है। Company कौन खरीदेगा। Singer तो famous हो जाता है, उसके लिए क्या है — France से, Dubai से, US से stage performance का call आ जाएगा। लेकिन जो company singer को platform देती है, अगर platform ही नहीं रहेगा तो? कोई CD खरीदने को तैयार नहीं है। बोलते हैं, नया गाना upload करो। Free में सुनना चाहते हैं।”.

11. Personal interview of Ravi Rauthan, 14 September 2014, Dehradun. “यहाँ सबसे बड़ा problem है | market जब audition नही होगी | तब CD खरीदा कोंन | (...) Popularity gain करने के लिए ऐसा भी कोई singer आ रहा है | इसके साथ कोई कमाई नही है | even मेरे पापा ने जब project shot किया था | मैंने उने से कहा था की आप इसे कमाई नहीं कर सकते है | बस अपने शोक कि लिए, इसे बना सकते है | क्योंकि होता क्याँ है की एक गढवाली album बनाने में करीबन डेढ़ से दो लाख का खर्चा आता है | फिर यह लोग T-series के पास जाते है | (...) इनसे 50,000 में खरीद लेता है | (...) फिर वे अपने तरीके से launch करते है | करता भी है कि नहीं करता है | पता नहीं चलता है | क्योंकि कोई देखता नहीं है आजकल |”.

12. “अपनी identity होना चाहिए” (The rest of the interview is in English).

13. Personal interview of Shashwa Jai Pandit, 30 September 2013, Dehradun.

14. “ऐसा कुछ नहीं है”, personal interview of a music director, 2 October 2014, Dehradun.

15. Personal interview of Sunil Jakhmola, 10 May 2013. I met him regularly during fieldwork, and interestingly his positions changed over time: on learning how negatively the Garhwali singers perceived online unauthorized content, he gradually became more careful about copyright. His attitude shows how respectful users are towards the content they upload, and what progress simple prevention and mediation can trigger.

16. Copyright Act, 1957, III–14.

17. Copyright Amendment Act, 2012, p. 10.

18. Several criteria apply: they are issued less than five years after the original’s release, they contain names and images from the original, the lyrics are adapted and translated.

19. Garhwali music posted on any platform — YouTube, label Web sites, amateur Web sites — is also picked up by generalist search engines like Guruji. Saavn ( for example is a very popular platform that gathers links to all available free MP3s and videoclips, and sorts them according to various search criteria (genre, date, artist’s name, thematic playlists ...).

20. Words that are in English in the text within Hindi sentences are put in italics by me.

21. Siddharth Chamoli in February 2013 on video “Taka Chin Ti Tak Takka”, uploaded by Prashann Bisht on 31 December 2011,

“iss song pe galat info kyu de rakhi h
ki ye new song h
ye toh main bachpan me suna krta tha
plz sirf new songs ko hi new likhe ............”

22. Sanjay Pal in 2011 on video “Phul Bhanwaria” uploaded by Sunil Jakhmola on 18 May 2010, “hi dagdya sunil, yaar aap youtube pe video to upload kar dete ho accha hai lekin isse jo CDs market main bikni cahiye wo bik nahin pati aur jo paisa in ko banane main lagta hai wo wasool nahin ho pata jiski wajah se next kam karne ke liye singer De-motivate ho jata hai... aur kum budget lagata hai jisse ki video ki quality improve nahin hoti. agar aap cahte hain ki garhwal ka cinema bhi punjab ya kisi aur state ki tarah acche Vidos/Songs banaye to” [next comment] “----------- to please youtube per poore poore songs with original quality upload na karen ...”

23. We could also link this to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s latest definition of language (Philosophical investigations, Blackwell, 2001, third edition): a game where people construct references by pointing and interacting.

24. Mamgain, 2004, p. 172.

25. User Bs Rawat, April 2013 on video “Ghughuti” uploaded by Sunil Jakhmola on 2 June 2012,

26.“bahi ssanjay mai canada rahta ho bata mai garhwali song kaha se lao .... tum kahta ho you tube mat dalo deko mai kaha se deko mujhe gahwali song acche lagte hai aur yaha garhwali cd bhi nahi milti....................” TheRajanramola in 2011 on video “Phul Bhanwaria” uploaded by Sunil Jakhmola on 18 May 2010,

27. Bs Rawat in April 2013 on video “Ghughuti” uploaded by Sunil Jakhmola on 2 June 2012,

28. ashish joshi Chandra in April 2013 on video “Ghughuti” uploaded by Sunil Jakhmola on 2 June 2012,

29. Harish Rawat in April 2013 on video “new garhwali song nayan kaintura 2012” uploaded by nayan kaintura on 15 September 2012,

30. Tarunathapliyal in 2008 on video “Rukma” uploaded by lovsunil on 19 May 2007,

31. “bhai bainyo, kathik saccai c in geeton ma mera garhwal ki ... dhanyabad jain bhe u geet upload kairee”. Interestingly the user signed with his provenance in the body of the message: “indra rawat tokyo japan.”. User indra rawat in 2012 on video “Mul Mul Keku Hashni Chhey Tu Hey Kuley Ki Dali” uploaded by apnauttarakhand on 3 December 2009,

32. Harish Adhikari in February 2013 on video “Fundri Baand” uploaded by tseriesregional on 28 May 2012,

33. ankit1382 in March 2013 on video “Fundri Baand” uploaded by tseriesregional on 28 May 2012,

34. “what the F**k is this ?? na ye dhun humare garhwal ki hai or nahi ye pehnao ... aisa he kuch sunna hota toh bollywood ya hollwood ki kami nahi hai ... seriously sharam aane lag gayi hai ab apne aap ko garhwali batate hue ... kyun aise cheap kaam karte hain aap log ... honestly this is bloody bullshit”. Priyanka Rawat in November 2012 on video “Purbu Badnaam Hwege” uploaded by tseriesregional on 28 May 2012,

35. The Globamus research project was launched in 2008. It gathered researchers of different geographic areas to study musical creation processes, more specifically the “identities market” of localized (“situé”) musics that get produced and circulated in a global context.

36. Albeit not necessarily socially; it can be argued that the cultural capital and the initial economic capital needed to consume digital music is much higher and discriminative than for analogical formats.

37. “Industry तो हाँ, ख़त्म हो जा रही है. लेकिन संगीत कभी खत्म नहीं होती है. बात यह है कि अब क्या करें?”



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Stéphane Dorin, 2010. “Jazz and race in colonial India: The role of Anglo-Indian musicians in the diffusion of jazz in India,” Jazz Research Journal, volume 4, number 2, pp. 123–140, and at, accessed on 10 September 2014.

Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso (editors), 1996. Senses of place. Santa Fe, N.M.: School of American Research Press.

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Florence Nowak, 2013.“Du toit du monde au World Wide Web: Circulations des clips de musique garhwali,” Master’s thesis for EHESS, unpublished.

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Editorial history

Received 9 September 2014; accepted 10 September 2014.

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“Challenging opportunities: When Indian regional music gets online” by Florence Nowak is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Challenging opportunities: When Indian regional music gets online
by Florence Nowak.
First Monday, Volume 19, Number 10 - 6 October 2014

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