Tag Archives: Mavrix update

2013 Bollywood Music Review

Another eventful year had come to an end and it’s time to take stock of year that was for Hindi film music. We did a similar review last year, if you’re interested.

2013 saw the release of 154 films with 999 songs between them.

We lost a number of artists in 2013. Some were young and their end was unexpected – Ajay Jhingran, Rituparno Ghosh and Sandeep Acharya. Others left behind a substantial musical legacy – Lakshmi ShankarMadhubala Zaveri, P.B. Sreenivas, Pran, Reshma, Shamshad Begum, VaaliVitthalbhai Patel and the last of the male singers from the classic era of Hindi films – Manna Dey.

But the show went on and a number of new artists made their debuts. While some of them were indie artists making what might just be a brief foray into Bollywood, others are probably going to be Bollywood staple in years to come. Some of the notable debuts of 2013 were:

  1. Composer: Advait Nemlekar,  Akshay Hariharan, Atif Afzal, Bramfatura, Harpreet Singh, Indraneel HariharanKaran Kulkarni, The Lightyears ExplodeMaatibaani, Mangesh DhakdeModern Mafia
  2. Lyricists: Ali Hayat RizviGurpreet SainiPunam HariharanRam Ramesh SharmaSiddharth – GarimaUbaid Azam Azmi
  3. Male Singers: Atif AfzalGeet SagarGopi SunderIndraneel HariharanMunawar MasoomNajim ArshadNitesh KadamOsman MirPadmanabh GaikwadSanam PuriVikas Ambhore
  4. Female Singers: Chaitra AmbadipudiJonita GandhiMili Nair, Nirali KartikSaba AzadZebunnissa Bangash

The most prolific composers in 2013 were:

  1. Pritam – 8 films, 51 songs
  2. Sachin – Jigar – 7 films, 37 songs
  3. Sajid – Wajid – 5 films, 23 songs

While Pritam’s appearance at the top of this list is no surprise, 2013 will be seen as the year Sachin – Jigar established themselves as bankable composers and entrenched themselves in Bollywood. Surprisingly, Sajid – Wajid continue to be on this list despite their lackluster scores.

The most prolific lyricists in 2013 were:

  1. Kumaar – 16 films, 72 songs
  2. Amitabh Bhattacharya – 11 films, 42 songs
  3. Irshad Kamil – 5 films, 37 songs

Kumaar has been perhaps the most low profile of the current lot of lyricists so his name at this top of this list and the margin between him and the Amitabh Bhattacharya comes as a surprise.

The most prolific male singers of 2013 were:

  1. Mika Singh – 49 songs
  2. Sonu Nigam – 31 songs
  3. Arijit Singh – 28 songs

Mika Singh appears to be the industry’s favorite singer right now. It’s pity though that he is stuck in a rut in terms of the kinds of songs he sings. 2013 was Arijit Singh’s breakout year in terms of both the number of songs he sang as well as the mass appeal he was able to generate, thanks primarily to Ashiqui 2.

The most prolific female singers of 2013 were:

  1. Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan – 38 songs each
  2. Monali Thakur, Palak Muchhal – 14 songs each
  3. Mamta Sharma, Shalmali Kholgade – 13 songs each

While the divas – Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan – continue to dominate the scene, there seems to be a lot of competition amongst female singers. It’s good to see a newbie – Shalmali Kholgade (2012 was her debut year) on this list as it is to see Monali Thakur, who as been around for a few years now, finally get her due.

Finally, based on  a combination of ratings and number of well-rated songs in 2013, the most popular artists of 2013 were:

  1. Most popular composers: Pritam, Amit Trivedi, Sachin – Jigar
  2. Most popular lyricists: Irshad Kamil, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Kumaar
  3. Most popular male singers: Arijit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Amit Trivedi
  4. Most popular female singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Palak Muchhal

MySwar.Com – अब हिन्दी में

If you can’t wait to check it out, go right ahead to MySwar.Com in Hindi. If you’re interested in the backstory, carry on.

For some time now, we have felt the need to provide a Hindi version of MySwar. For a website about Hindi films songs, that seems kind of obvious. However, we’ve been guilty of staying in our comfort zone – English – for various reasons (excuses?), the primary being higher priority features we needed to get implemented.

Over time though, we realized that by publishing only in English, we are excluding a large segment of music lovers from our website. Seeing “wrongly” transliterated search keywords in English (through search engines and on the website) gave us an understanding of the difficulties people from this segment face in English-only websites. This interview with Google India’s MD Rajan Anandan, gave us the nudge we needed to kick-start this project. In the interview, Rajan talks about how the dearth of content in regional languages is holding back internet penetration and that he expects the next 300 million users of Google India to use regional languages.

Thejesh’s experience using the Google Transliteration API helped but the extent of changes ensured that we had to put in a lot of effort into the project. A combination of the Google Translate API run on our database helped automate the transliteration effort to an extent but we did have to mark about 50% of the transliterated text for manual verification. The manual verification was required because the same word in English script could be written in different ways in Hindi. For example, “bahar” could be बाहर or बहार; “to” could be either तो or टु. We also had to spend some time translating the static pages, literals and messages but that was a piece of cake compared to the database.

The other significant work was of course the extensive code changes as well as positive and negative tests.

This implementation leaves some English text behind – including artist bios and trivia – but we believe that this version is enough to make the website a lot easier to use for those more comfortable with Hindi. I hope you like this update as much as we do.

Custom Playlists On MySwar

Many of you have asked about being able to create your own playlists and I’m glad to report that we have rolled out custom playlists now on MySwar.

Custom playlists works pretty much as you would expect them to – All across the website, you’ll see a + sign against songs, provided a YouTube video is available. Clicking the plus sign lets you add the song to a queue (temporary) or lets you add it to a playlist (saved). Adding songs to a playlist requires you to be a registered user. The saved playlists are public and available to anyone who has the playlist URL, so you can share your playlists with friends. One advantage of a MySwar Playlist is that even if a YouTube video disappears, the song stays on the list (just doesn’t get played) and when we add another video back for the song, which we do periodically, your playlists remains intact.

Other than custom playlists, we have also put together a massive package of pre-built playlists of well-rated songs based on a number of things. You have a list of all the songs on MySwar with a rating of three and above – All-time Popular Songs. There is a list of well-rated songs that have released recently – Popular New Releases. A list of well-rated songs by year – one list for every year from 1941 to the present. A list of popular songs by decade. We have a whole bunch of playlists by artists – singers, composers and lyricists. And finally, playlists by genres.

Something to remember about the pre-built, popular playlists – these are shuffle playlists of 25 songs. So even if the actual list has a large number of songs, the packaged playlist will consist of 25 randomly picked songs. You can always get a fresh set of 25 songs by clicking the Shuffle button.

And the first custom playlist on MySwar? My own Kishore Favorites.

MySwar Updates

We shipped a few cool updates to MySwar this morning:

  • Flipkart’s digital music service, Flyte, is now available as a purchase option on the MySwar website. At the album level, you will now see iTunes, Flipkart (for audio CD) and Flyte as options and at the song level iTunes and Flyte. This is subject to availability on iTunes and Flipkart. Currently, we have updated these links for the albums released in 2013 and 2012. We will make links available for the rest of the albums over the next few weeks.Purchase Options
  • Song previews are now available for Indian users. The previews are sourced from iTunes.
  • The Advanced Search results page now displays the number of songs.Advanced Search Result Count
  • Ability to Refresh recommendations in the Discover page (logged in users). We also tuned this page to load faster.
  • Also a number of other improvements and bug fixes.

Hope you like these improvements. Also, if you still haven’t downloaded our mobile app yet, please consider yourself gently nudged to do so. You can find the download links here.

Non-film Albums Now On MySwar

We now have non-film albums listed on MySwar! We were always very clear that we wanted to include as much Indian music as we could on MySwar and after almost a year of toil, we’re extremely proud to add non-film music albums on MySwar.

Let me start though with a little summary of what we have accomplished so far. Over 2012, we have built-up what’s probably the most comprehensive database of Hindi film music from 1941 to present day. Since we’re not constrained by licensing deals and label provided meta-data, we have been able to list on MySwar detailed credits of every song from every film we have been able to get information about. Also, because our focus has been on accuracy and detail, we have structured our data in a way that lets us catalog song metadata that is a lot more meaningful than the generic Artist ID3 tag that rules the roost everywhere. This is especially significant for Indian film music which is generally attributed separately to music directors (composers), lyricists and singers.

While we’re proud of our work in cataloguing Bollywood music, we know our work is not done. We still keep finding film album releases we have missed and of course, there’s the steady stream of current releases. Also, while Bollywood was a great starting point because of its wide appeal and because it provided us a finite, manageable scope of work, we believe it’s time to broaden our horizon and go beyond Hindi film music.

From a planning perspective, cataloguing Bollywood music was quite simple – Start with each year, find out every film released in that year, determine the songs in those films and get as much information about those albums/songs as we could. Cataloguing non-film music was a lot more difficult to plan because our country has a bewildering array of labels, genres, artists and languages. Where do we start? How do we impose method on this madness? We solved the problem of defining scope by starting with the artists we already had in our database. We added to that list artists and music releases that were contemporarily significant – like Swarathma, Coke Studio, MTV Unplugged, etc. But even this was a huge list, so we had to categorize them in terms of priority. What we have published on MySwar now is just one set of artists and albums from that list.

The other problem we had to grapple with was how we showed information of film and non-film albums and songs. Do we list them separately or together? There were arguments to be made for both, so we said we would do a combination of both AND also let the users decide if they wanted to see one or the other. So here’ how you can see information organized on MySwar:

  1. The Artist page (like Jagjit Singh’s) will have the discography separated by non-film and film albums.
  2. Other than the artist discography pages, every other page will list both film and non-film albums/songs. However, users can use the Filter function (top-right of the listing, see screen shots below) to see only film, or non-film albums and song.
  3. If users want to see both film and non-film albums/song for a given artist together (which they can’t from the Artist page), they can use the Advanced Search feature.

We really hope you enjoy this update. There are some minor kinks we’re working on. If you have any feedback, please do let us know.

Filter Filter Expanded

A Look Back At 2012

When we put our head down to crank out work, it’s hard to get a sense of what we are actually accomplishing. That happens only when we look back and assess what we delivered. I just did that and am filled with a sense of deep satisfaction and pride at what we delivered on MySwar.in. A quick round-up:

January: We launched MySwar.in after a few weeks of private beta with albums/songs from 1971 to present day.

February: Albums/songs for 1960s, categorized search suggestions, advanced search, ability to browse award-winning films, songs and artists in once place and the trivia of the day feature.

March: Albums/songs for 1950s.

May: YouTube embeds, forgiving searches, listing of popular songs for artists.

June: Listing of popular songs by year and genre.

August: Pre-packaged playlists of all kinds. Artist listings in once place even if they have been credited under different names.

October: Ability to sort in song and album listings.

November: Filters on album and song listings.

December: 1940s albums and songs.

We’re already working on many other amazing updates, so 2013 will be just as exciting if not more. Thanks for your support and encouragement this far and stay tuned!

1940s Hindi Films Albums Now Listed On MySwar

When we launched MySwar.in late last year, we had Hindi film music listings for four decades, from 1971 to the present. Since then we have added three more decades – the 1960s, the 1950s and yesterday, the 1940s. We now have information on seven decades of Hindi film music in one place.

1940s was a significant period in Hindi film music. The legendary singer, K.L. Saigal’s death in 1947 and India’s independence and Partition effected a change of guard of sorts in Hindi film music. With K.L. Saigal’s passing away, the tragic hero persona, that was pervasive in the music of that time, faded away and male singers, on whom Saigal had cast a long shadow, developed their own singing styles. Noor Jehan’s migration to Pakistan, following the Partition, paved the path for Lata Mangeshkar’s meteoric rise as the premier female singer in Hindi films for decades to come. There was an infusion of new talent and the decade saw the debut and rise of singers like Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey; music directors like Khemchand Prakash, Naushad, C. Ramchandra, S.D. Burman and Shankar – Jaikishan; and lyricists like Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Sahir Ludhianvi and Shailendra. Film music became a melting pot of a variety of musical influences. In the 40s, it absorbed folk and classical music influences and started developing the unique, multi-faceted character that defines Bollywood music today.

Back to the update – while the film/song listings for the 1940s are up on MySwar, we haven’t updated the song genres and YouTube embeds. This will take some time. Tracing the actual songs (audio and video) is more and more difficult as we go back in the past. If you have the time and inclination, you can help us by submitting high-quality (relatively speaking) YouTube URLs on MySwar (register, login, go to the song page and click Update in the Video section).

iTunes Quietly Launches Music And Films In India (Links Available On MySwar)

Digital India was abuzz yesterday with news of iTunes launching its music and films stores in India. I particularly liked the following posts covering the launch:

http://nh7.in/indiecision/2012/12/04/rip-and-run-itunes-india-store-is-finally-here

http://www.medianama.com/2012/12/223-apple-finally-extends-itunes-store-to-india/

While the buzz is mostly positive:

 

,there were some who were not very impressed, like in this comment thread on Medianama.

I think the iTunes launch is a great step forward for digital music in India and while it will have no impact on hard-core freeloaders, it will have huge appeal for people who want easy access to digital music.

iTunes links were already available on MySwar.in in US, UK, Canada. Starting yesterday, iTunes links are available in India as well. The shopping cart icons at the song level link to iTunes India and the album level to Flipkart. This is just a quick fix and we are working on improving this feature.

Mavrix Monthly Update November 2012

A quick note on what we shipped last month:

  1. Filters: All pages that have album or song listings, now have filters. For example, if you are browsing the list of albums released in 2012, and you want to see the films for which Pritam composed the music that year, Click on Filter, enter Pritam as Music Director and click Filter to see the filtered list. You can filter album listings using a combination of Label, Music Director and Lyricist and song listings using a combination of Year, Genre, Singer, Music Director and Lyricist. As with any listing page, you can also sort the filtered list.
  2. Associated With: When you are on the page of an artist who’s associated with other artists on MySwar, we show you the information right there. This includes well known associations likeVishal Dadlani’s with Vishal – Shekhar, as well as some that are not so well known, like lyricist Shellee’s association with Agnee.
  3. Keyboard friendly playlists: When you’re on a playlist, you can navigate to the next/previous song using the right/left arrow keys.
  4. The usual bug fixes and minor improvements.