Monday, March 1, 2010

Does reality show enhance the quality of supply of singers in the country?

Currently TV channels are booming with reality shows of singing, dancing and many more. Every time through a cursory glance, I have seen the reality shows dealing with singing, an array of thoughts have sprang up in mind. To reveal some of those series of thoughts dealing with singing reality shows, i thought to select this blog space as a platform for expression. The singing reality shows are a kind of market space flushed with money which is being spent on certain agents (who are the participant singers) based on whose output the business return from the production process is being determined. So every reality show is a kind of production process of an entity (owning the process) where there are financial capital, physical capital and labour inputs that finally produces an output which is the musical product (could be a series of songs, or a song). The quality of the product determines the return from the production process. So better the quality of the output, the larger the TRP rating and more is the business for the people who are investing money in this production process. The entire running operation of a singing reality show could be just viewed as an operation business of an entity that owns the process. There is a demand side catering to the output that comes out of the production process. The demand side is being determined by the people of the country who watches the reality show and raises the TRP rating of the show. Also money could be pumped in to create a brand of a reality show so that people are forced to watch a show. So demand side of a market could be created to run the production process of music reality show in a sustained way.

But does this production process generate better quality inputs (here better musicians, singer for the country) for the country as an outcome. Not necessarily, as high value reality show doesnot mean that it would necessarily improve the quality of the participants. The skills of the participants are often being groomed, developed by the mentors in these reality shows. Often the pressure of running the show (once in a week or some other hectic schedules in terms of show timings) might not give a mentor the time to develop the skill of a participant. Or it might help in building the skill of a participant in a particular genre. Skill development of a participant from a music reality show is very much participant and mentor specific and also depends on the interactive process between them. Ideally skill development of a participant should happen before they join the reality show. Many times, given the background of the participants it doesnot happen. But in the short term the participant could be used as a quality labour input in the production of an output that generates business in the short term. Reality shows therefore at the baseline can have a myopic vision of developing skills for the short term which might not be beneficial for the quality aspects of a singer in the longer term. In the long term therefore these shows might not build up quality singers if the primary focus of a reality show is not to build up long term singing skills and is more towards introducing them to the huge market of reality show singers in India. Even in that introduction mechanism, there is a product differentiation angle that should be kept in mind. This would become more clearer with one illustrative example.

Sometime back in NDTV imagine channel, a show called 'Dhoom Macha De' used to come in which there were three group of teams representating three genres of singing skills of music - Folk, Filmi and Sufi music. 'Sufi Ke Sultan’ team was led by Ustad Rahet Fateh Ali Khan. The team of Folk singers, ‘Maati Ke Lal’ was headed by Ila Arun and the group of Filmi music ‘Bollywood Ke Baadshah’ was led by music director Anand Raj Anand. To me, this show was a production process that was creating different products and assessing what kind of product is being demanded by the market. For assessing that voting lines were opened by which people were asked to vote for particular genre of music, singers.

In some ways using technology, this production process was creating product differentiation and was introducing different genres of output from the production process in the market. The objective of that introduction had a short term business vision. I might be wrong in that assessment, but there is a need to find out how far this process of product differentiated singer introduction in the market of reality show singers is leading to a long term skill building of singers and contributing in the overall cumulative skill building of these singers of reality show market.

Waiting to get some answers in these lines. May be some research on this would open up new answers in these lines of thoughts in future.


  1. I always thought that these programmes are doing more harm to music than doing good. But those who say these are affecting quality of Indian music badly, I beg to differ. Indian music is strong and healthy one and can not be destroyed by such 'maket-driven extravaganza'.

  2. No body expect that. But the fact that we have a process which happens in the public domain itself is a push for others who might be good but idle somewhere to come out and perform.